By Soli Wilson in Apia
Heavy rain early today failed to deter more than 1000 Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) supporters who gathered in front of the Government building in Apia — some travelling hours to get there — to protest against what they claim to be the “disintegration” of Samoa’s constitution.
Despite the sporadic heavy showers, people marched in unison singing traditional songs to rally against the judiciary’s ruling to install the new Fiame Naomi Mata’afa government.
People held up posters with messages proclaiming “Uphold the Constitution” and “Constitutional Government not Judicial Government” as they waved Samoan flags.
The Former Minister of Health, Faimalo Kika Stowers, led the march with other HRPP figures and former MPs mixed among the crowd.
While announcements said the march would start at 10 am, the movement of more than 200 people left the Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinuu II (FMFMII) Building before that time.
Many of the attendees told the Samoa Observer that they were marching in support of former prime minister Tuila’epa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi’s government.
“HRPP have done amazing things for Samoa and we will continue to stand for [it],” an elderly man in his 80s from Moataa said.
Buses full of civilians
Buses full of civilians of all ages, from as far as Samatau, offloaded in front of the Government building from 8 am.
Meanwhile, at the Malae o Tiafau, large tents and hundreds of chairs had been set up to shelter the demonstrators.
The Samoa Observer understands that the Supreme Court had cancelled all matters initally scheduled for Monday as a safety precaution for judges.
A heavy police presence was seen at the ground floor of the building.
The Samoa Observer understands this was to ensure that no disturbances took place for the new government that is now housed in the FMFMII building.
Today’s rally comes after the party’s supporters participated on Friday in a vehicle convoy protest against the judiciary.
Soli Wilson is a writer for the Samoa Observer. This article is republished with permission.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.