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Sask. premier accuses NDP of aiding protest that disrupted legislature

Premier Scott Moe is accusing the official opposition of helping orchestrate the recent shutdown at the Saskatchewan legislature, while NDP leader Carla Beck says Moe is drawing attention away from the fact one of his MLAs was criminally charged.

“In light of what occurred yesterday, which was very troubling, the first time to my knowledge in the history of the province that government operations have actually been shut down in this house due to actions of many,” Moe told reporters on Tuesday.

Proceedings were disrupted on Monday when hundreds of pro-Palestinian protestors filled the public galleries of the assembly and began shouting “ceasefire now” in reference to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

After several attempts to regain control – Speaker of the House Randy Weekes eventually paused the session and MLAs left the chamber.

Over the course of an hour, the protestors were ushered out by legislative security.

The atmosphere was described as tense by those present in the rotunda.

During debate on Tuesday, Moe labelled the disruptive action as “extremist.”

In his comments, Moe alleged that members of the opposition aided the protestors.

“At least one member of the NDP caucus that was involved in sharing some of the social media posts and organizing the event yesterday,” Moe explained.

Saskatchewan New Democratic Leader Carla Beck was quick to rebuke the premier’s assertions.

“This is one of very few days that we get to bring forth the concerns of people of this province. Question period is our one opportunity to lead that,” she explained.

“Some of our members met people as they came into the building. But there was no role by any NDP opposition MLAs organizing that event.”

Beck framed Moe's messaging as a convenient way to change the channel after Cut Knife-Turtleford MLA Ryan Domotor was removed from the Saskatchewan Party caucus after he was nabbed in a Regina police sting last week.

"I certainly understand why the premier would be wanting to talk about anything other than the fact that one of one of his members, a sitting MLA, was caught up in a sex trafficking sting," Beck said.

MLA NDP for Saskatoon University Jennifer Bowes believes the government is directing its accusations at her.

She stood at her desk in solidarity with the protesters after the chanting began but before MLAs vacated the chamber.

“There have been a number of unfounded allegations that the government has made against both myself personally and other members of the opposition, which I look forward to seeing the outcome of the process that will unfold,” she said.

In her comments to reporters, Bowes reiterated that Saskatchewan residents have a right to voice their displeasure at their elected assembly.

“I think, as elected officials, we should be encouraging people to come here and to peacefully express their discontent if they do not agree with what the government is doing,” Bowes added.

“The demonstration yesterday was peaceful. To my knowledge, there was nothing that happened here today that was threatening or violent, and I think it is a legitimate expression of people's concern.”

The government has filed a motion which could lead to fact finding. The speaker will soon rule whether there are grounds on which to proceed.

--With files from Josh Lynn Top Stories

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