STUDENTS JOIN STRIKING TONGAN TEACHERS

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Aug. 3 ) – As Tonga's national strike went into its thirteenth day on August 3, over 100 Tonga College students marched along Taufa‘ahau Road from Lopaukamea Hall and through the central Nuku‘alofa business area to Pangai Si‘i, singing songs to show support for their striking teachers.

The march, led by the school’s head prefect Mafi To Ki Manamo‘ui and Luseane Sikuea, a teacher, was applauded by striking civil servants who stood up to greet them as they arrived at Pangai Si‘i singing.

Fotu Fisi‘iahi, the spokesperson for the Public Servants Association, welcomed the Tonga College students by saying that what their teachers and parents were doing by going on strike was for their benefit, so that in the future they need not be afraid to speak out loudly against "the injustice and the dictatorship ruling in this country".

The Head Prefect in return stood up and delivered a speech of support for their teachers and said that since the strike began they had felt homeless and neglected because they do not hear their teachers voices anymore.

But they had come to Pangai to tell their Principal, Deputy Principal, Head Tutor and teachers who are all on strike that where ever they are they will be there and whatever decisions they make they have their full support, he said.

Tu‘amelie Faaitu‘a, the Principal of the school, conducted a short assembly and reminded the students that they have an important rugby match this Friday with ‘Api Fo‘ou College for the Inter School Shield.

He told them to always remember the school’s motto "Mate Ma‘a Tonga or To Die for Tonga " and what it means "to always be a man and stand up for the truth, for justice and for peace".

The students then finished off by singing a song for their teachers who were gathered on the center field at Pangai Si‘i to greet their students. Teachers and executives of the PSA shook hands with the marchers.

As the strike continues this week the support given by the local community has been tremendous and it is evident in the number of people who are quickly crowding into Pangai Si‘i to show their support.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Matangi Tonga: www.matangitonga.to/nav.html

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