19 Mar 2007

Tongan MP says extended emergency rule might trigger fresh unrest

5:04 pm on 19 March 2007

A Tongan pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, says he is concerned that there could be more unrest in the future if the government continues to hang on to emergency rule.

Mr Pohiva, who faces sedition charges in connection with last November's riots in Nuku'alofa, has expressed concern at the fourth extension of state of emergency.

The government says this is a precaution to prevent any further disturbance.

But Mr Pohiva says things have gone back to normal and the restrictions affect his constitutional right to free speech.

"Our concern is focussed on the fact that we are not allowed to have access to radio and television, and also we are not allowed to have meetings. We can have meetings but not more than four people."

Akilisi Pohiva