Story and pictures by Mary Fonua, Linny Folau and Pesi Fonua
Overturned vehicles near Pangai Si'i
Shoreline Offices burn as staff run for their lives
A RIOTING CROWD has trashed property in central Nuku'alofa leaving the central supermarket Molisi Tonga in a tangled mess of broken glass and the streets smelling of spilled beer as looters joined rioters in a spree of destruction shortly after 3.30 pm today.
Shocked staff at Molisi Tonga opposite the central Talamahu Market were left surveying the wreckage as police are now taking control of the area.
Shaking and shocked Molisi Tonga general manager, Maliana Sevele, the daughter of Tonga's Prime Minister, said she and staff members had only seconds warning of the approaching rioters and they feared for their lives, as they ran to take cover in offices at the rear of the supermarket. "I was confronted by one man and I was nearly hurt," she said, but she was not aware of any injuries to her staff other than cuts from fragments of glass from the smashed front windows. "I was trying to find the boys to pull down the security rails when the crowd arrived and they came in so fast, we ran to the back," she said.
Her staff surveyed the damage trembling with tears in their eyes, the stock thrown from the shelves and the cash registers buried under overturned cabinets and shelves.
Molisi Tonga supermarket trashed by rioters this afternoon.
The sound of breaking glass also came from the Prime Minister's Office and the area around Pangai Si'i where a political rally has been ongoing this week.
Windows were smashed in the Prime Minister's Office Parliament House, the Magistrates Court,the Public Service Commission Office, the Ministry of Finance and three vehicles overturned and government cars smashed in government parking lots.
Meanwhile, at Pangai Si'i rioters are still jumping and dancing to loud music and the park opposite parliament is full of people. "It's scary," said Linny Folau who has just returned from the area around the PM's Office.
Shocked, Malina Sevele and staff emerged from the back offices and struggle to walk through the supermarket isle.
Broken windows at Parliament House
Overturned vehicle outside from Prime Minister's Office
Shoreline Offices gutted
Molisi Tonga's sole security guard Viliami Tevita Mafile'o
Looted beer wets the road outside Talamahu Market after a crowd rampaged through this afternoon.
Meanwhile, shortly after 4p.m. reports were coming in of fires set in the Shoreline Building and also at the Pacific Royale Hotel. It has been confirmed that Shoreline offices are now gutted but the situation at the Pacific Royale has yet to be confirmed.