Chaos broke out in Taiwan’s legislature Tuesday after opposition lawmakers rushed the podium during an important policy address to protests how the government handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opposition lawmakers — members of the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang — broke by a protective obstacle formed by members of the ruling Democratic Progress Party, as they shouted for the speaker’s resignation.
The chamber’s head, Su Tseng-Chang, was opening his annual address on the government’s performance with a focus on national security and the economy.
In the ensuing melee, which was captured on video, a few lawmakers were shoved to the ground, others poured out bottles of water onto their opponents, and Su was unable to give his speech.
The Nationalist Party has criticized the ruling administration over its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators on Tuesday waved signs which called recently shortened quarantine requirements for pilots a “big breach.”
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Taiwan faced a large coronavirus sudden increase in May and June this year, in which more than 800 people died. Many had suspected the sudden increase had come from pilots returning home who only had to do three-day quarantines. The original source of the May sudden increase hasn’t been officially confirmed.
Last November, another fist-fight broke out inside parliament after Nationalist Party members brought pig guts into the chamber and threw them to protest Taiwan’s removal of a ban on American pork products.
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President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration had lifted a longstanding ban on imports of U.S pork a few months prior, in a move seen as one of the first steps toward possibly negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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