Ukrainian lawmakers bring down fence with chainsaws
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 01:20
Dec. 12 - Newly-elected far-right nationalist Ukrainian MPs come with chainsaws to bring down a fence around the parliament building on the lawmakers' first working day. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT-NO REPORTER NARRATION
STORY: Deputies from Ukraine's nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party brought down part of the fence surrounding parliament on its first session on Wednesday (December 12), while inside scuffles between opposing party members erupted.
Wednesday's session of the parliament was marred by protest from the start, with a major vote on the nomination of Mykola Azarov for prime minister expected to be the first test of the cohesion of political forces underpinning Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.
Deputies from Svoboda arrived at the fence surrounding the complex, built after protesters breached the compound last year, brandishing power tools and began tearing down the structure in a gesture meant to end isolation of power from the nation.
Inside the building, just before the first session began, pro-government deputies attempted to walk into a part of the chamber where reserved for the opposition, which resulted in a scuffle.
One deputy was filmed with a wounded ear, while parliament guards attempted to diffuse the situation.
Yanukovich's pro-business Party of the Regions enjoyed a strong majority with allies in the last parliament which allowed it to ram through key legislation such as changes to electoral law, successive budgets and a law on the use of the Russian language which triggered street protests.
But though it is still the biggest single party, it lost seats in the October 28 election. And though most analysts think horse-trading will bring it enough support from independents and others for a majority of 226 or more seats in key votes, it nonetheless faces a revitalized opposition whose leaders have ruled out any coalition with the Regions.
New opposition faces taking the oath on Wednesday will include world heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, who heads the UDAR (Punch) party, and Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the Svoboda far-right nationalists who made a surprisingly strong showing in the October poll.
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