20 Mar 2012

Tonga moves into mourning for late King

7:44 am on 20 March 2012

Tonga's civil servants have been ordered to wear black from today as Tonga moves into official mourning for King George Tupou the V.

A journalist with Tonga's state broadcaster Salote Sisifa says state radio and television are broadcasting gospel music in respect for the late king who died on Sunday.

She says people in Tonga remember well the one hundred day mourning period for his father King Taufa'ahau Tupou the IV who died in 2006.

"In all the villages, there are the taboos of any entertainment and anything like that has to be put on hold. The villagers put up their signs of respect and this is putting up colours of black and purple. There is a certain age where they must wear black in regards to paying respects."

Salote Sisifa says people in Tonga still hold the royal family in high regard despite moving towards democracy.