Guinea-Bissau: Police block access to Parliament

In Guinea-Bissau, a group of activists, including MPs from the PAI-Terra Ranka coalition, were dispersed with tear gas grenades by the forces of law and order outside Parliament on Wednesday, December 13. The MPs were responding to a call from the President of the Assembly, Domingos Simões Pereira, also the leader of the coalition, who decided to continue the sessions despite the dissolution of the Assembly by presidential decree.
Access to Parliament had been blocked since the early hours of the morning by police armed with batons and tear gas grenades. All adjacent streets were also off-limits.
Despite this impressive presence, the dozen or so opposition MPs, accompanied by activists visibly determined to pass through the doors of the hemicycle, attempted to defy the ban.
The police then swung into action, firing tear gas grenades. A stampede ensued among the militants and deputies, some of whom headed for the PAIGC headquarters a few hundred meters from the Assembly.
The President of Parliament, Domingos Simões Pereira, did not leave his residence, which was under heavy guard.
Domingos Simões Pereira considers President Embalo’s decision to dissolve the Assembly null and void. He called on his party’s deputies not to be intimidated and to continue their resistance.
“We say and continue to say that the President’s decree dissolving Parliament did not respect constitutional principles,” Armando Mango, spokesman for the Pai-Terra Ranka coalition, told the press.
According to him, Article 94 clearly stipulates that Parliament can, under no circumstances, be dissolved within 12 months of the legislative elections. “We’re going to continue with the sessions,” he said outside the coalition’s headquarters, just after coming under tear gas fire.