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19 Mar, 2013 16:22

Rada riot: Ukrainian MPs exchange 'fascist' insults, start brawl (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Dozens of Ukrainian MPs from the two major parties got into a fist fight in the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. The brawl began with yelling over the language used in the chamber and 'fascist' accusations from both sides.

The session was opened by the head of the ruling Party of Regions, Aleksandr Efremov, speaking in Russian, a language his opponents manifest that they strongly dislike. Ukrainian Liberty Party members made sure nobody could hear the speech by chanting “Speak Ukrainian!” out loud and drumming with their hands against the desks.

The chanting took place for all six minutes of Efremov's speech, during which he called the speech-spoilers “the chanting neo-fascists.”

Ukrainian opposition and majority deputies fight on March 19, 2013 on whether to speak Ukrainian or Russian in the parliament in Kiev. (AFP Photo)

When the speaker finished his talk, the head of the chanting Liberty group, Oleg Tyagnibok, came to the front and declared

“Glory to Ukraine.” However, he was met by a massive whistling from Efremov's supporters, who were craving revenge. Now it was the Party of Regions’ turn to call names, labeling Tyagnibok “a fascist” as he spoke.

The Liberty group then became serious as they could not let their speaker be drowned out. The rival parties ended up scuffling in the middle of the Verkhovna Rada chamber, bringing the lawmaking process to a complete standstill. One Liberty MP's lip was split in the scuffles.

The brawl lasted for no longer than a minute, but paralyzed the work of the parliament yet again, and the Rada chairman announced a recess. 

Brawling is a usual ‘way of things’ in the Ukrainian parliament and a split lip is not the worst injury seen. One opposition MP was hospitalized and another had his ribs broken as a result of Russian language status discussions last summer.

Ukrainian deputies scuffle during a session in the national Parliament in Kiev March 19, 2013. (Reuters)

Ukrainian deputies scuffle during a session in the national Parliament in Kiev March 19, 2013. (Reuters)