28 Jan 2011

Fears of arson led to Tuvalu public order restrictions - prime minister

9:04 am on 28 January 2011

The prime minister of Tuvalu says his government activated the public order act because of fears that houses belonging to MPs would be burnt down.

Under the act gatherings have been banned for the past two weeks.

Willie Telavi says his government acted because of threats made in a letter sent to finance minister Lotoala Metia by his constituents in Nukufetau.

The prime minister says the constituents had issued Mr Metia an ultimatum he resign immediately and said they'd do everything within their power to remove him if he didn't comply.

Mr Telavi, a former police commissioner in Tuvalu, says there were rumours circulating that the group planned to burn down buildings.

"Rumours that came about that they would burn down the Speaker's house and the MP's [Mr Metia] house."