Fistfight breaks out in Venezuelan parliament
A fistfight broke out in Venezuelan parliament that injured a number of legislators during an angry session linked to the nation’s bitter election dispute in Caracas, yesterday.
The trouble began after the government-controlled assembly passed a measure denying members of the opposition the right to speak in the chamber until they recognised Nicolás Maduro as the country’s president.
The fracas started when a member of the assembly shouted “fascist” at the National Assembly leader and unfolded a protest banner that read “parliamentary coup”.
Witnesses say laptops and tables were hurled and one legislator hit over the head with a chair. A number of assembly members later showed their phones with photos or videos of the incident they captured.
Both sides have accused each other of starting the incident. The opposition has said seven of its parliamentarians were attacked and hurt when they protested against the National Assembly over their refusal to accept Maduro as president.
Fifty-year-old Maduro was chosen as Hugo Chávez’s successor after he won the 14th April elections, defeating his opposition candidate Henrique Capriles by 1.5 percentage points.
However, Capriles, 40, and his party have since refused to recognise Maduro’s victory, alleging that thousands of irregularities occurred during elections and the vote was “stolen”.
The country has been in turmoil since the elections. There have been scores of arrests and at least eight people have died in violent protests since the poll.
The government and opposition have also been planning rival marches in Caracas to commemorate May Day on Wednesday.