Tensions rise in Venezuela as MPs fight in parliament - video
Punch-up in the National Assembly over disputed election results after death of Hugo Chavez
HOPES THAT Venezuelan politics could move on smoothly after the death of president Hugo Chavez earlier this year have been dealt another blow after a mass brawl erupted in parliament during an angry row over disputed election results.
Fighting broke out as opposition MPs protested against a ruling than prevents them from speaking in the National Assembly unless they recognise the government of Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's successor, who narrowly won the election on 14 April.
However, he won the vote by less than 1.5 per cent, around 200,000 votes. and the opposition, led by Henrique Capriles, has refused to accept the result after calls for a recount were rejected.
Several politicians were injured during the punch-up as both sides blamed each other for the violence. "Laptops and tables were hurled and one legislator was hit over the head with a chair," reported The Guardian.
After the fight one opposition MP, Julio Borges, appeared on local TV with facial injuries. "They can beat us, jail us, kill us, but we will not sell out our principles," Borges said. "These blows give us more strength."
But pro-government politician Odalis Monzon claimed that she and her colleagues had come under attack.
"Venezuela has been on edge since the 14 April presidential election. At least eight people died in violent protests the day after the vote. There have been scores of arrests in what the opposition is calling a wave of repression," says the Guardian.