A brawl has broken out in Venezuela’s parliament, amid disputes over the recent presidential election results.
The physical altercation took place on Tuesday after the assembly passed a measure denying opposition members the right to speak in the chamber until they recognized President Nicolas Maduro’s April 14 victory.
“Until they recognize the authorities, the institutions of the republic, the sovereign will of our people, the opposition deputies will have to go and speak (to the private media) but not here in this National Assembly,” said head of parliament Diosdado Cabello.
The government legislators also blamed the opposition for initiating the fighting.
“We knew the opposition came to provoke violence,” said Maduro after the incident, adding, “This must not be repeated.”
One assembly worker said the incident began when opposition legislators shouted “fascist” and the National Assembly leader raised a protest banner reading “parliamentary coup.”
Several were attacked and injured during the fighting, including Odalis Monzon, who is a government parliamentarian.
“Today again I had to defend the commander’s (late President Hugo Chavez’s) legacy,” said Monzon.
The opposition, on the other hand, blames Maduro’s supporters for the incident, as one parliamentarian later appeared on a local TV station showing his wounds.
Maduro defeated opposition leader Henrique Capriles by receiving 50.7 percent of the vote against 49.1 percent, with a difference of 235,000 ballots.
Capriles refused to recognize his defeat alleging that irregularities had taken place.
However, on April 28, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council said Capriles has failed to present any compelling proof that there were irregularities during the presidential election.
On May 1, both the government and opposition are to hold rival marches in the capital, Caracas, to commemorate May Day.