Taiwanese lawmakers launch water balloons, brandish chairs in floor brawl

Julia Munslow

A fracas broke out Friday on the floor of the Taiwanese Parliament as lawmakers exchanged blows over an infrastructure project for the second day in a row.

Amid negotiations over a budget review for the infrastructure project, rival politicians pushed one another to the ground, threw water balloons and hoisted padded office chairs over their heads.

In a video of the brawl, a whistle is blown repeatedly — seemingly in an attempt to regain control of the floor — but lawmakers ignored the call for order and continued to fight and yell at one another. One man brandished a chair over his head and appeared to prepare to throw the chair, but stopped short of actually launching it into the air.

A few lone lawmakers attempted to pull their fellow politicians off of one another, but were unable to stop the chaos.

The Friday fight erupted after Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers pressed forward with the reforms despite opposition from a rival party. On Thursday, a water balloon was thrown at Premier Lin Chuan. Opposing politicians successfully relegated him to the side of the chamber once more on Friday as the skirmish flared up on the floor.

The session was suspended Friday morning, AFP reported.

The controversial infrastructure plan was introduced by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP, and would bring light rail lines, flood control measures and green energy facilities across the country, according to AFP. Lawmakers from the opposing Kuomintang Party have criticized the $13.8 billion plan for favoring DPP supporters, claiming that the plan was constructed with the intent to gain support for the party before regional elections next year.

According to AFP, one lawmaker who felt unwell went to the parliament’s clinic after the fight.

The Taiwan president’s popularity has plunged from a 70 percent approval rating when she took office last year to under 40 percent currently, according to AFP.

The Friday clash occurred one day after two female lawmakers started shoving each other during negotiations on the same project.

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