23 Aug 2010

Tonga emergency regulation expected to stay until November polls

3:10 pm on 23 August 2010

The head of Tonga's women and children's crisis centre says she understands emergency regulations will remain in place until November's election, four years after they were first introduced.

The regulations, which were put in place in Nuku'alofa after riots in November 2006, give the police and military extraordinary powers and apply to a specified zone in the heart of the city.

Ofa ki-levuka Guttenbeil Liki-liki says it had got to the point where people don't even question the regulations any more.

"I don't think there's any need to have it still in place, and I think if there's any time it shouldn't be in place, it's right now, leading up to the elections, because people need to start lobbying, advocating... people may need to protest on their issues, in light of elections around the corner."

Ofa ki-levuka Guttenbeil Liki-liki says she believes the regulations have been deliberately left in place to stop civil society raising awareness about some issues.