Government

When Lawmakers Battle Each Other, Instead of Fighting For You

We receive countless suggestions from faithful readers, asking us to do articles about any number of topics. A few of these get filed away for further research and consideration. Some get scrapped out of hand. Others trigger referrals to helpful mental health professionals.

It is a rare gem of a suggestion that sends us off on a lengthy rabbit trail of watching “just one more” video. Such was the case, however, when we were clued to the internet masterpiece “parliamentfights.”

“If we are all in agreement on the decision – then I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.”Alfred P. Sloan

This brilliant blog is devoted to “watching parliaments fight worldwide.” It chronicles incidents from over 50 countries, and it appears to have been diligently reporting these melees since January 2007.

It perhaps gives you an idea of the stress level of our day job that we find it restful and fun to spend the lunch hour watching legislators throw furniture, fists, and pig guts at one another. We suspect that even for those who have relatively stress-free jobs, there may be at least one or two videos worthy of your attention.

Chairs, Chili Powder, and Fisticuffs in Sri Lanka.

Take, for example, this priceless moment when Sri Lanka’s parliament erupted in fisticuffs, the throwing of chairs, and, curiously, the flinging of chili powder at each other. Personally, we have never had the foresight to bring chili powder with us to any public gathering, but that might simply be the reason why we never get to live through something like this scene.

Then there is this scene of members of the opposition party in Kosovo’s Assembly releasing tear gas for the purpose of stopping discussion of a peace deal with Serbia. The image is made even more surreal by the reporter’s narration: “It’s become business as usual…”

Ukraine’s Parliament in the midst of egg throwing and smoke bombs.

From there, it is just a few delightful clicks of a mouse before you find yourself watching the Ukrainian Parliament, where the Speaker is shielded by a couple of umbrellas to protect him from the eggs that are being hurled in his direction. He seems unfazed by all of this and continues to conduct business, even after proceedings are further disrupted by the eruption of several smoke bombs.

In terms of creative disruption, one has to hand it to Taiwan’s opposition party. When the discussion came up concerning the easing of pork import restrictions from the United States, party members came to the session prepared to debate. In addition to well-reasoned arguments, they came armed with buckets of pig intestines and threw them at Premier Su Tseng-chang. Decorum went downhill from there, as legislators fought it out with fists, air horns, and protest signs.

Kenyan MP’s battle it out in church.

Scenes of legislators locking horns with one another are not limited to the halls of government. As shown in this incident, Kenyan members of parliament took their disagreements to a church service, where no one seemed willing to turn the other cheek.

No matter where you look on parliamentfights, you’re going to see some pretty interesting things. We leave you with our favorite, thus far. It comes from a session of Nigeria’s Parliament when its members had a slight difference of opinion concerning the appointment of local council chairmen by Governor Tanko Al-Makura:

Chaos in Kenya over minor disagreement.

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