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January 17, 2017

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Polish government: protesting lawmakers could face prison

Updated Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 | 2:12 a.m.

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's interior minister says opposition lawmakers blocking the podium in parliament could face fines and possibly even up to 10 years of prison.

Mariusz Blaszczak spoke Thursday as several lawmakers with the centrist opposition party Civic Platform continued a blockade in parliament ahead of a session expected to open later in the day.

Opposition lawmakers have staged the blockade since Dec. 16 to protest a budget that they say was passed illegally.

Blaszczak said the lawmakers are breaking the law by preventing the Speaker of the Sejm, or lower house of parliament, from carrying out his duties.

Lawmakers enjoy parliamentary immunity but it can be stripped from them in some cases.