Samoa parlt sits but opposition MPs banned

Five months after the April 9th election the FAST party government has finally begun its first parliamentary session today.

But it is without the members of the opposition HRPP party, who were shut out by the Speaker, Papalii Lio Masipau.

Papali'i announced a ban yesterday, saying the HRPP is still failing to acknowledge that the FAST party won the election.

This follows months of legal squabbles between the parties but last month the Court of Appeal declared FAST were the legitimate winners of the election.

This morning the HRPP staged a march near the grounds of parliament until police stepped in and told people to return to the party offices.

Samoa police had erected a barricade to deter people from approaching the parliament building.

The opposition leader, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, called the ban from parliament a 'sad day for Samoa.'

He said FAST was behaving in a dictatorial manner, according to the Samoa Observer.

Tuilaepa added that such an event had never happened when the HRPP was in power.