Barricades have been put up around Samoa’s Parliament grounds to block the public from entering following a decision set down by the Speaker that the Maota Fono and its grounds, are closed to the public ahead of Tuesday’s Parliament session.
The Samoa Police have issued a public notice to warn the public from entering the Malae o Tiafau, a sacred and spiritual malae that lies infront of Samoa’s Parliament House.
“Any non-compliance will be dealt with accordingly as per offence of trespass and other possible offences” reads the police notice.
Tuesday 14 September 2021 would be the first session of Parliament to be held inside the Maota Fono, since the April 9th general election.
The public prohibition comes following an announcement by the Speaker of the House that all Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) elected members not yet sworn in, are not allowed to attend Parliament.
Papalii Li’o Oloipola Taeu Masipau makes his position clear in a letter that states members of HRPP “who have not yet been sworn in will not be allowed to attend the sitting.”
Papalii says his decision is based on HRPP’s “continual opposition and non-acceptance of the current government led by FAST – Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi, who were sworn in on the 24 May 2021”.
The 24 May 2021 swearing in was conducted by elected MPs of the newly established FAST political party, when HRPP members had refused to attend a court ordered convening of Parliament. To date, the 26 FAST MPs sworn in on that day remain the only members of Parliament sworn in, while the 25 elected members of HRPP are not yet sworn in.
States the Spaker in his letter.. “Your unceasing refusal to accept the swearing in which occurred on the mentioned date also means that you do not accept my position as Speaker”.
“Because of these reasons, a swearing in of the Members of the Human Rights Protection Party will not take place at the Parliament sitting on Tuesday 14 September 2021”, writes the Speaker.
Deputy Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said Police will have a team of between 300-400 officers on duty at Malae o Tiafau.
Auapaau said the notice is to remind all those who are not authorised to enter the premises of Parliament, that they will be facing the law if they intend to do so.
“The police are only there to keep the peace and to enforce the law, and we urge the public to support this notice for a peaceful Parliament session tomorrow,” Auapaau said.
Minister of Police and Prisons Faualo Tauiliili Harry Schuster told Samoa Global News that the police will be performing their normal duties to keep the peace.
The Minister says he does not anticipate any violence as Samoa is a nation founded on God.
“Ou te ofo a au ia pe afai ae iai se vevesi taeao o Samoa ua 200 tausaga o le Talalelei”.
In the meantime the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration have announced that all court proceedings are postponed as the Court will be officially closed on Tuesday.