Taiwan lawmakers break out into brawl during policy speech

Taiwan Parliament (EBC)
Taiwan Parliament (EBC)

Taiwan's legislature on Tuesday descended into a rowdy brawl after opposition lawmakers interrupted an important policy address and rushed the podium.

Opposition lawmakers pushed their way to the speaker's podium as 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, a few lawmakers were shoved to the ground and others poured out bottles of water onto their opponents. Su was unable to give his speech.

The opposition lawmakers — members of the Nationalist party, or Kuomingtang — broke through the protective barrier formed by members of Su's own party, the ruling Democratic Progress Party, as they shouted for the speaker's resignation over his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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”.

Taiwan faced a large coronavirus outbreak in May and June this year, in which more than 800 people died. Many had suspected the outbreak had come from pilots returning home who only had to do three-day quarantines. The original source of the May outbreak hasn't been officially confirmed.

Last year, members of the Nationalist Party brought pig guts into the chamber and threw them around in a melee to protest Taiwan's removal of a ban on American pork products.

On YouTube where videos of the fight were shared, many comments were supportive of the brawl. Some praised the Kuomingtang for “becoming stronger.”