Politicians in Taiwan got into a fist fight and threw pig guts at each other over a soon-to-be enacted policy that would allow imports of US pork and beef.
Premier Su Tseng-chang was due to give a regularly scheduled policy report on Friday morning about the pork policy when politicians from the opposing Kuomintang party (KMT) blocked his attempt to speak by dumping bags of pig organs.
Politicians from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) attempted to stop them, resulting in chaos and an exchange of punches.
A DPP lawmaker wrestled a KMT lawmaker to the floor in the scuffle.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration lifted a longstanding ban on imports of US pork and beef in August, in a move seen as one of the first steps toward possibly negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with the US. The ban is due to be lifted in January.
That decision has met with fierce opposition, both from the KMT and individual citizens. The new policy allows imports of pork with acceptable residues of ractopamine, a drug that some farmers add to animal feed to promote the growth of lean meat.
On Sunday, thousands of people marched in the capital Taipei to protest the imports.
US pork would account for a small percentage of the island’s consumption. But the KMT, a nationalist party, has seized on the issue in an effort to mobilise support following successive failures at the polls.
Lin Wei-chou, a KMT politician who led the protesting group in parliament, said: “When you were in the opposition, you were against US pork.
Now that you’re in power, you’ve become a supporter of US pork.”
DPP lawmakers called for peace.
Hsu Sheng-chieh, a DPP legislative member, said: “You have blocked Premier Su from reposting to the parliament for 12 times.
“Please return to reason.”