Venezuela’s Brawl Is the Latest Edition of Parliament Fight Club

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LEO RAMIREZ / AFP / Getty Images

Opposition deputy Julio Borges after a fight with the ruling party deputies inside the Venezuelan parliament in Caracas, on April 30, 2013.

The first rule of Parliament Fight Club is try not to be among the opposition. On the evening of April 30, members of Venezuela’s political opposition, including a former presidential candidate, were apparently roughed up by representatives backing President Nicolas Maduro, heir to the legacy of late socialist supremo Hugo Chávez. The disputed fallout of recent elections led to a heated showdown in the nation’s legislature; the event was not broadcast on state television. Cell phone footage of the clash emerged, showing windbreaker-clad security guards wading into the aisles and throwing punches at seemingly defenseless politicians. The incident, though, is hardly unique to Venezuela. Here’s only a recent sampling of incidents when democracy truly gets messy.

Ukraine, March 2013
Members of Ukraine’s Parliament are known to throw down, and this particular fistfight from March 2013 is a fine example. After reportedly calling each other “neo-fascists” and booing a party leader for speaking in Russian, things got a bit, well, take a look.

Ukraine, May 2011
From a scrum to one-on-one combat: the Ukrainian Parliament’s vice speaker Adam Martynyuk began choking Oleg Lyashko, a deputy, after Martynyuk refused to let Lyashko make a speech.

Israel, January 2012
OK, time to cool off. During a televised debate in January 2012, Israeli-Arab MP Raleb Majadele told his counterpart, Anastassia Michaeli, to shut up. After a brief shouting match, she walked over to him, poured a glass of water and tossed it his way before storming off.

Argentina, November 2010
Here’s another parting shot. Lawmaker Graciela Camaño slaps Carlos Kunkel, a colleague of hers, in the face after his comments about her husband’s political career.

Afghanistan, July 2011
Following a discussion of rocket attacks from Pakistan, General Nazifa Zaki, an ex-Army general, threw one of her shoes at another member of Parliament, Hamida Ahmadzai.

Somalia, December 2011
Three lawmakers needed medical assistance after a brawl between Somali lawmakers in January 2012. Judging from this battle a few weeks earlier, when Parliament members were voting on a new speaker, it’s clear why.

South Korea, November 2011
During a vote on a free-trade agreement with the United States, an opposition member of South Korea’s Parliament tossed a large amount teargas powder at the podium.

Italy, October 2011
Two deputies from the Northern League, of the ruling center-right, sparred with opposition members from the FLI Party after its speaker sarcastically alleged on television that one of the deputies’ wives had retired at age 39.

Macedonia, December 2012
After thousands of pro- and anti-government demonstrators fought outside their building, members of Parliament got into a scuffle of their own over the size of the following year’s budget. No matter that it’s Christmas eve. Things get heated at around 1:10 of the video.