At least five Turkish lawmakers have been injured in a brawl that erupted in the parliament ahead of a debate on a controversial security bill.
The fighting took place early on Wednesday during a closed-door session as opposition political parties proposed various motions to delay the beginning of the debate, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Of those injured, two were taken to hospital for treatment and the other three were treated at the parliament’s infirmary.
Lawmaker Mahmut Tanal, who was among those hit, described the fighting as unprecedented.
According to lawmaker Ertugrul Kurkcu, the fighting legislators threw chairs and used the assembly’s gavel and bell to hit others.
The brawl comes amid high tensions between the opposition and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over the security bill that the government is pushing for an approval.
Under the bill, which was presented to the parliament last month, the prime minister of the country and other cabinet ministers would be able to shut down websites for reasons including “national security” without a court order.
The legislation would also expand certain powers of the police, which would allow officers to conduct searches during protests and to detain people for up to 48 hours without a prosecutor’s authorization. In addition, the police would be permitted to use firearms to prevent an attack in public against people using Molotov cocktails or other similar weapons.
The proposed bill has sparked anger among some lawyers and opposition parties. On February 16, some 3,000 attorneys marched to the parliament in protest against the legislation.
Levent Gok, of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has said if the legislation is approved, it would lead to an increase in police violence. Gok instead called on Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to cancel the bill, which he described as an “atomic bomb.”
The controversial bill was introduced following violent protests in Istanbul and southeastern Turkey last October, which left dozens of people dead.