Tongan Capital Burns

Riots broke out this afternoon in Tongan capital city Nuku'alofa.

Tonga Burning
Image from Tonga Now Portal

Samiuela LV Taufa on, a community site in Tonga posted this email

Today we finally hit the bottom of the bucket. It started with the stoning of the Prime Ministers office at 3:30pm and then quickly led to stoning of the Finance Ministry, a smash and grab raid of Molisi Supermarket (PMs private business), smashing of front of Pacific Royale and burning down of the Shoreline offices. This led to the stripping of Leiola Duty Free shop and then burning of Molisi supermarket, ANZ Bank, Tonghua, Taumoepeau family business, …

Nukualofa, Tonga
A market in Nuku'alofa city centre on a regular day

Ms. Vakaivisavosa in neighbouring Fiji Island says the Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele was targetted by the mob because they felt disappointment at the pace of democratic reforms in Tonga. Pro-Democracy groups in the islands want a lesser role for the royal family in running the country. The blogger remembers the 2000 riots in Fiji where the protests ended up in looting.

I am reminded of the riots that took place in Fiji in 2000 where looting became a crime of opportunity and organised gangs of robbers led the smashing of showglass windows and burnt selected businesses.

Chinese businesses were also the target of the mob and the Chinese families who own the shops had to seek refuge in the Chinese embassy.

Nomoa has another post earlier that tried to figure out the mob's objective

We don't know whether this was a politically motivated attack, or whether it was scare-mongering personal by the detractors to government against the Prime Minister and any other scape goat they can blame to increase their own power-base in Tonga. What we do know is that the most high profile properties of the Prime Minister and a few business leaders were primary targets of attacks, with no direct connection to government propriety or accountability.

Ms. Vakaisavosa asks the Fijian government to take a hint from the situation in Tonga.

This explosion of anger in Tonga where representation in parliament and cabinet is reserved for certain bloodlines is a warning to Fiji where life gets harder everyday while the elite visibly get richer and do not seem to notice the discontent and hunger around them. We see increasingly violent and desperate criminals who lurk and prey on the successful for any opportunity to grab at the material goods denied based on the ability to pay.

Whatever the justification for the riots, Samiuela LV Taufa does not agree with the mob's action

All, in all, whatever the justification from the “Democratic Movement” to incite this level of violence against members of society, they surely walk a fine line between Stalinistic and Hitlarian methodologies that justifies the means by the cause.


  • Iunamei Halahingano

    I think this is very harsh but it’s a best way to but ‘Akilisi back to work again. Why was he been thrown out anyway he was the best man they’ve got. He sound out the voice of most of the people in Tonga. It is so unfair to trow him out like that . well it show how poeple don’t want that they burned down the city.

  • tasia

    Tonga should give the people what it wants. If they want a democracy, then that’s what they should get, perhaps it will help with the economy and the long-standing poverty that goes on.
    Any type of government should be for nothing but the people.
    If the people aren’t happy with what’s happening, then stuff like this happens.
    All you have to do is listen.

  • I think they didn’t know what they do before realize what they have done was wrong they were not suppose to burn down our beautiful city its part of our culture if the government don’t care about their own people then the people must great a government of their own and sue the old government to pay back all their tax money especially with anything that build the old government.

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