Video: Taiwanese Legislators Brawl over Quarantine Policy

Taipei, TAIWAN: Legislators from the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) chant slogans at the Parliament in Taipei, 11 May 2007. Taiwan lawmakers review their annual government budget session at Parlaiment which should be approved in December 2006. AFP PHOTO/Sam YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)
SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images

Taiwan’s Chinese Nationalist Party, Kuomintang (KMT), protested the coronavirus policy of the island’s ruling party at a legislative session Tuesday, with several KMT members shoving opposing lawmakers to the floor of the parliamentary building and drenching others with water.

One brazen KMT legislator named Jessica Chen stormed the speaker’s podium in an attempt to prevent Premier Su Tseng-chang from giving a required speech at the meeting.

Video footage of the incident shows a small crowd of KMT supporters lifting Chen up to the lofty podium. She wears what appear to be special grip gloves on her hands as she grabs onto the podium. The gloves suggest Chen arrived intending to cling to the symbolic structure and resist any opposing actions by DPP members. The DPP successfully blocked Chen from completely overtaking the speaker’s podium.

“A number of DPP legislators then surrounded the speaker’s seat, and pushing and shoving between rival lawmakers ensued,” the Taipei Times reported.

Su is a member of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which KMT criticized Tuesday for its allegedly lax coronavirus quarantine policy. DPP reduced the quarantine time for returning cabin crew of national airlines to just three days in mid-April. KMT says this change was responsible for an ensuing spike in Chinese coronavirus cases in northern Taiwan in May, though DPP denies that the events were connected.

KMT disrupted parliamentary proceedings in protest of the quarantine policy last week by boycotting a Legislative Yuan session scheduled for September 24, at which Su was originally slated to give his regular speech.

“Article 3, Section 1 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China stipulates that the nation’s premier has a duty to present a policy report from their administration to the Legislative Yuan and answer lawmakers’ questions,” the Taipei Times noted on September 29 when reporting on KMT’s latest parliamentary protest.

The Legislative Yuan rescheduled last Friday’s session and attempted to hold it on September 28, though the body’s leaders were ultimately forced to suspend the meeting due to KMT’s continued shouting of verbal protests after the initial melee died down. Su was able to deliver a shortened version of his mandatory speech before the session was called off.

“Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang, the convener of the session, decided to suspend the session and hold a cross-party negotiation to decide when it would continue,” the Taipei Times reported.

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