The arrest of a political party activist yesterday on Tongatapu sparked protests in the party’s online community.
‘Asiata Māsima was arrested by Police at what appeared to be his home in Ha’ateiho, according to a streamed video shared by Māsima while he was being arrested.
A police officer was overheard as warning Māsima to stop streaming the arrest and asked him to cooperate.
Māsima had initially rejected police telling him they were going to shackle him but he had finally agreed.
The police handcuffed and led him out of his house before placing him in a police vehicle, according to the video which was widely shared among his supporters on Facebook.
A young girl who appeared to be Māsima’s daughter was seen livestreaming his father’s arrest with a sigh.
“They arrest him for nothing”, she said in Tongan, in the video.
The police could not be reached for comment.
We could not be able to establish the real reasons why Māsima was arrested.
However, supporters of the PTOA (Democratic) Party and movement in Tonga alleged the arrest was made after a political rival group complaint to the police. The supporters have accused the Tū group’s leader of inciting violence against Māsima.
It appears the complaint was part of an ongoing contentions between the two groups on social media.
The two rival supporters have armed themselves with social media groups and accounts especially on Facebook and YouTube to incite dares, trade insults or make threats.