Antananarivo (AFP) - Madagascan police smashed open the car windows of an opposition lawmaker late Monday and seized the equivalent of $74,000 in cash, reporters witnessed, two weeks after parliament voted to dismiss the president.
Officers used tear gas to disperse about 20 opposition lawmakers at the scene who tried to halt the search by arguing that female lawmaker Lanto Rakotomanga was protected under parliamentary immunity.
President Hery Rajaonarimampianina has challenged the legality of impeachment vote in a stand-off that threatens to revive political chaos that erupted after a coup in 2009.
The island's constitutional court could deliver its verdict within days on whether the impeachment process can go ahead.
Rakotomanga was stopped by police in the capital Antananarivo outside a meeting held by Andry Rajoelina, who came to power in the 2009 coup and is now a rival to the president.
Police used rifle butts to break Rakotomanga's car windows, and confiscated two boxes of cash from the vehicle's boot. It was not clear why she was carrying the money.
"We are in regular session, so you can not search this car without prior notice to the secretariat of the national assembly," said parliamentary official Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko.
President Rajaonarimampianina, a trained accountant, came to power in 2013 elections, vowing to end turmoil after his predecessor Marc Ravalomanana was ousted in the coup.