4 Feb 2011

Tonga Government removes emergency regulations

2:06 pm on 4 February 2011

The Tonga Government has removed state of emergency regulations that have been in place for more than four years.

The regulations were put in place just after riots wrecked much of the central business district of Nuku'alofa in November of 2006, and had been rolled over every month since.

The previous government had always maintained it had ongoing concerns about elements within the pro-democracy movement which it blamed for the riots.

Our correspondent in Tonga, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the regulations didn't impinge much on people but the knowledge the army could be quickly summoned gave them a psychological impact.

He says the new government sees no need to maintain the regulations.

"All the old ministers are out, you also have promoters of democracy, once seen as the opposition of the state, mingling in the Cabinet and therefore this could be the result of them having to open up dialogue and openly sit down in the Cabinet room and talk about the reality in Tonga."