Fist fights disrupt Ukraine parliament

 / 13 Dec '12

Kiev - Violent scuffles broke out Thursday in the Ukrainian parliament as dozens of opposition and pro-government lawmakers brawled for a second day in a chamber notorious for its physical confrontations.

Deputies in suits and shirtsleeves climbed on tables, shouted and grappled with opponents as a protest against the practice of lawmakers voting for absentee colleagues descended into violence.

Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. Ukraine's newly elected parliament has chosen a pro-government speaker amid violent brawls between pro-presidential and opposition lawmakers. On Thursday, opposition lawmakers swarmed the parliament's presidium and a fight erupted with pro-government legislators. The opposition demanded that their opponents stop voting in place of their absent colleagues. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov. Credit: AP

The parliament's opening session on Wednesday also saw fighting erupt between opposition lawmakers and deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp.

The fighting postponed a vote on reinstating as prime minister President Viktor Yanukovych's ally, Mykola Azarov, which was due to take place Thursday. - AFP

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