Parliament punch-up in Taiwan

ITN News

by ITN News

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A violent brawl has broken out in the middle of Taiwan's parliament after opposition parties clashed during a debate.

Taiwan legislators threw objects, splashed water and kicked one another, leaving two politicians in hospital and reportedly injuring several others.

Arguments boiled over between the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) and opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as they disagreed on how fast to ratify a trade pact with China.

Just minutes after the session opened, anti-China opposition lawmakers intent on blocking speedy approval of the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed last week, fought against ruling Nationalists.

An MP from each side, one of whom fell from the podium, went to the hospital after the fight as the parliament speaker called for a recess until Friday.

The brawl confirms the ECFA, the strongest tie-up ever between China and Taiwan, as a focus for tense November 27 local elections.

It is not the first time scuffles have broken out, Taiwan's parliament often descends into physical violence.

Brawls are often staged so politicians appear strong via local television on issues of broad public concern.