Lawmakers wrestle in parliament

An opposition legislator screams after being dragged away by ruling party lawmakers during a scuffle in South Korean parliament in Seoul on Wednesday. AFP

Lawmakers from the ruling Grand National Party occupied the speaker’s podium in a bid to quickly pass the bills aimed at easing restrictions on ownership of television networks. Opposition parties responded by stacking up furniture to block ruling party members from entering the main hall of the National Assembly.

The parliament plunged into chaos, as lawmakers shouted abuse at each other. Women lawmakers from the rival parties joined in the melee, grabbing each other by the neck.
YTN television network reported that some were injured. One woman lawmaker was seen lying on a blue mattress with nurses checking her blood pressure. The lawmaker was later taken to a hospital.

The scenes were not unusual to South Korea’s confrontational and melodramatic politics, where rival parties sometimes resort to violence to get their way. Last year, opposition lawmakers used sledgehammers to pound their way into a parliamentary committee room to block the ruling party from introducing a bill to ratify a free trade pact with the US.

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