19 Jan 2011

Hearing delayed in Tuvalu march ban challenge

1:20 pm on 19 January 2011

A senior magistrate court hearing in Tuvalu challenging the legality of the public order act has been adjourned until later this afternoon.

Last week, the government ordered that no large public gatherings can be held on the main island of Funafuti for at least two weeks after a mass protest march was held.

An opposition politician, Enele Sopoaga, says the reason given by Senior Magistrate, Afele Kitiona, for this morning's adjournment was unexpected.

"Basically to, I think, still on the procedural question, on whether his court had any jurisdiction over the matter. I mean this is, of course, very very surprising given that he invited parties to his court, and then he's now asking himself can his court can deal with the matter? Which is rather odd, but we are trying to co-operate."

Enele Sopoaga says he supports the legal challenge, saying there is no justification for the public act being imposed.