19 Jan 2011

Tuvalu magistrate dismisses challenge to public meeting ban

6:30 pm on 19 January 2011

The magistrate court in Tuvalu has dismissed a bid by some village leaders to overturn the public order act which the government invoked to ban public gatherings.

The order was issued after a protest march last week.

An opposition politician, Enele Sopoaga, says it's unfortunate that the court declined to rule or pass the case for consideration to the High Court.

"[For] the people of Tuvalu, there is no process for them whatsoever to seek recourse to their concerns. The dialogue process being gagged by the orders, gathering of traditional leaders and communities have been stopped. Free movement of people around town, the main town of Funafuti, had been stoppped and expressions of any kind had been stopped, the whole public has been gagged by this government."