"What a sad day for Samoa": Tuilaepa

A procession of Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) supporters led by the party leader Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and other elected Members were stopped by Police at around 9am Tuesday some 200 metres from Samoa’s Parliament.

A police officer, who was part of the police cordon on the main road not far from the Legislative Assembly, told the former Prime Minister and H.R.P.P. Members as well as their supporters that they were only doing their job to uphold the peace.

Speaking through a megaphone, the police officer told the crowd that the Speaker had already advised them of his position on their swearing-in as elected Members and they must do their part.

Tuilaepa, in response to the police officer, told the crowd that the country’s current political crisis is something that never happened during his Government and the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) Government is acting dictatorial on how it is addressing the issue.

He then made reference to his correspondence with the Speaker on the swearing of his party members and questioned what else did the new Government want as his party and their members have recognised the new administration.

Referring to the first sitting of the XVII Legislative Assembly on Tuesday morning, the H.R.P.P. leader said they needed to get into the Parliament in order for them to be sworn-in and appealed to Police who blocked the road to led them through.

"What a sad day for Samoa," said Tuilaepa who described the move by the Police as akin to “Hitler”. 

A police officer later told the crowd that they take on the grievances expressed by the former Prime Minister and they will relay it to the authorities, before urging the supporters and the elected unsworn Members to return to the party’s Petesa headquarters.

Tuilaepa and his unsworn Members all wore white suits and could be easily distinguished from the crowd of their supporters as they led the march to the Parliament, before they were stopped not far from the House.

The constituencies of Lepa and Sagaga No. 1 led the procession of supporters from town to the party’s headquarters in Petesa. But this went against the notice issued by the Speaker of the House, Papalii Lio Masipau which bans members of the public and uninvited guests from going to Mulinu’u after threats were made, which compelled the Police to lockdown parts of the Mulinu’u peninsula restricting public access to the area. 

The Police also released a statement Monday pointing restrictions to the area following the statement issued by the Speaker’s Office.

The restricted areas include the Tofilau Eti Alesana building, the Parliament House, the lawn in front of parliament and any other buildings, enclosures or open spaces that are considered a compound of the Legislative Assembly.

Amidst the commotion on the main road in Mulinu'u not far from the Parliament, the Legislative Assembly has got its first sitting of the XVII parliamentary term underway. 

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