(NZ) – Tongan MP and Cabinet Minister Hon. Jenny Lātū Salesa has appealed for calm after four supporters of Mate Ma’a Tonga team have been arrested following a street brawl in South Auckland ahead of Saturday’s match against Samoa
Footage uploaded to social media showed two groups of apparently Samoan and Tongan rugby league team supporters brawling in the middle of the road as cars driving past honking their horns.
Police confirmed the incident on Tuesday night and said the four-people arrested were Tongan supporters, Fairfax Media has reported.
It appeared the tension erupted after a photo of a Tongan supporter burning a Samoan flag was circulated online.
The father of the Tongan supporter has publicly apologised for what his young son has done.
“My family are of Samoan/ Tongan descent. Please find it in your hearts to forgive my son for his stupidity.”
Hon. Salesa has emotionally pleaded in Tongan on Facebook asking Tongan kāinga to keep the peace.
She said it’s important that supporters out in public behave responsibly and with consideration for others.
She urged parents to make sure their children were in good hands and safe when they were out there in the public.
Hon. Salesa’s comment on Facebook was welcomed by commentators who thanked the honourable minister for her “good advice”.
Inspector Naila Hassan, Area Commander for Counties Manukau West said Police have been monitoring an increase in vehicle and crowd activity around the Otahuhu Town Centre this week from Tongan and Samoan rugby league supporters.
“We want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves, but most importantly we want everyone to be safe.
“We urge supporters to be respectful of the community, local businesses and residents at all times when out in public,” says Inspector Hassan.
Inspector Hassan says the main concern for Police is people acting recklessly when travelling in vehicles.
“We’ve had a few reports of people leaning out of cars or sitting on car bonnets.
This risky behaviour is not only illegal but very dangerous.”
Inspector Hassan says police are actively patrolling the area to ensure that everyone is behaving responsibly.
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