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Tonga: Protests in Nuku’alofa

By Larry Habegger | Permalink | 1 comment | August 23rd, 2005 | Trackback

An island nation known for its tranquility and perhaps the world’s friendliest people, Tonga would appear to be an unusual place for violent demonstrations, but a civil servants’ strike that has been going on for almost a month led to riots in the capital city, Nuku’alofa, Aug. 18. Some 200 students had been arrested the day before, enraging protesters who burned four government vehicles. The civil servants have been striking for higher wages, and the walkout appears to be growing into a campaign for democratic reform, with large crowds gathering daily in a park to support the strikers. Some 10,000 people protested in May to demand democracy when the country’s power company raised prices, and unless the government makes concessions to the striking workers, the call for reforms could widen.




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