Taiwanese lawmakers broke out in a brawl for a second time on Friday afternoon, ahead of an expected vote authorising a referendum on whether to go ahead with the construction of a nuclear power plant.
Assembled media looked on from the gallery, as lawmakers were seen pushing, shoving and hurling water bottles at each other.
Friday’s fracas pitted the pro-referendum forces of President Ma Ying-jeou’s ruling Nationalist Party against strongly anti-nuclear forces affiliated with the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The lawmakers had exchanged punches and thrown water at each other earlier in the day ahead of the vote.
The DPP has long opposed nuclear power generation in Taiwan on safety grounds, particularly given the high incidence of earthquakes on the island.
Those concerns became pronounced in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.
The construction of Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant began in 1997, but was halted while the DPP was in power between 2000 and 2008.
With a large Nationalist majority in the 113-seat legislature, the referendum bill is expected to pass.
Anti-nuclear sentiment in Taiwan is high, polls suggest that any public referendum would have a hard time passing.
While lawmakers brawled inside parliament in Taipei, demonstrators held a peaceful protest against the proposal to complete Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant.
The protesters sat in a line and in between the riot police guarding parliament, singing songs in protest.
“The ruling party should stop damaging our land,” said protester, Lin Chi-sheng
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