KABUL - President Hamid Karzai denied ordering the use of extra force at the swearing in of eight replacement Parliament members Saturday.
Hundreds of police officers armed with machine guns blocked the Parliament building in Kabul Saturday morning to keep lawmakers who had been ousted from entering the building, the New York Post reported.
The speaker of Parliament swore in new members after the country's election commission ousted nine members last month.
A spokesman for Karzai denied he ordered extra police enforcement at Saturday's proceedings, saying police officials decided on their own to up enforcement.
"This is a coup d' etat by the president against the Parliament," said Abdul Jabbar Qahraman, a lower house member from Helmand province who joined a crowd outside the building in solidarity of the members ousted.
"We're not standing just for the nine people who are to be unseated," he added. "Our position is in the last 10 years, with the help of all these foreign and Afghan troops, we are trying to build a democracy, and the president is trying to step on that." (UPI)