Reforms disagreement sparks parliament brawl in Taiwan: ‘Lawmakers screamed at and shoved each other’

Videos captured the chaotic scene in Taiwan’s parliament as a melee unfolded with lawmakers physically assaulting one another.

Just before Taiwan’s new President-elect Lai Ching-te takes office, lawmakers in the chamber came to blows over disagreements on reforms. Videos showed punches being thrown, and people climbing over each other and grabbing at each other as some even scaled over furniture.

“Even before votes started to be cast, some lawmakers screamed at and shoved each other outside the legislative chamber, before the action moved onto the floor of parliament itself,” Reuters reported. “In chaotic scenes, lawmakers surged around the speaker’s seat, some leaping over tables and pulling colleagues to the floor. Though calm soon returned, there were more scuffles 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 attempting to move reforms through without the proper processes.

“The opposition wants to give parliament greater scrutiny powers over the government, including a controversial proposal to criminalise officials who are deemed to make false statements in parliament,” Reuters noted.

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

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

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

“Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy and fighting does on occasion take place in parliament. In 2020, KMT lawmakers threw pig guts onto the chamber’s floor in a dispute over easing U.S. pork imports,” Reuters noted.

Frieda Powers


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