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“Legislators shouted and pushed each other”

Videos captured the chaotic scene in Taiwan's parliament as a melee unfolded with lawmakers physically assaulting each other.

Just before Taiwan's newly elected president, Lai Ching-te, took office, lawmakers in the chamber clashed over disagreements over reforms. Videos showed punches being thrown and people climbing and grabbing each other while some even climbed on furniture.

“Even before votes began to be cast, some lawmakers shouted and pushed each other out of the legislative chamber, before the action moved to parliament itself,” Reuters. reported. “In chaotic scenes, lawmakers swarmed around the speaker's seat, some jumping over desks and knocking their colleagues to the ground. Although calm soon returned, there was more fighting in the afternoon”.

Lai won the election in January and will be inaugurated on Monday. His Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is in the minority, claims that opposition parties are engaged in an “unconstitutional abuse of power” by trying to push through reforms without proper processes.

“The opposition wants to give parliament more powers of scrutiny over the government, including a controversial proposal to criminalize officials deemed to make false statements to parliament,” Reuters noted.

“Why do we oppose? We want to be able to have discussions, not because there is only one voice in the country,” DPP lawmaker Wang Mei-hui told Reuters.

“The DPP does not want this to be approved as they have always been used to monopolizing power,” Jessica Chen of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party told Reuters while wearing “a helmet of 'military style'.

DPP lawmaker Wang Mei-hui told Reuters: “I am concerned” about civility in the government chamber.

“Taiwan is a turbulent democracy and fights sometimes break out in parliament. In 2020, KMT lawmakers threw pig intestines on the floor of the chamber in a dispute over easing US pork imports,” Reuters noted.


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“Legislators shouted and pushed each other”
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