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FISTIBUSTER

Watch: Sri Lanka’s parliamentary meltdown and other lawmakers going wild

Tripti Lahiri
By Tripti Lahiri

Asia bureau chief

Sri Lanka is in political turmoil, lurching from a surfeit of prime ministers in October to apparently none at the moment.

On Oct. 26, president Maithripala Sirisena fired prime minister Ranil Weckremesinghe and appointed hawkish pro-China former president Mahinda Rajapaksa—Sirisena’s rival in the 2015 national elections. Weckremesinghe didn’t go quietly; he demanded a vote in parliament to see who was really prime minister. Sirisena responded by suspending the legislative body and calling for snap elections.

But on Nov. 13, the Supreme Court stepped in to block the president’s actions. Back in session the following day, the majority of MPs passed a no-confidence vote on Rajapaksa as prime minister—leading to mayhem in the chamber on Thursday.

The Sri Lankan constitution and a garbage can were among the things lawmakers lobbed at one another, according to the New York Times. The Guardian says one lawmaker was hospitalized, while another brought a knife to the fight.

The chaos that broke out this week was something to behold, but it’s hardly the first time lawmakers have lost their cool. From South Korea to the Ukraine to sedate Japan, there seems to be something about the hallowed halls of power that makes its occupants want to throw something—or grab someone’s crotch, as happened in Ukraine.

Here’s a look at other legislative fist fights around the world.

Blows in Nigeria

In Aug. 2017, fighting broke out during the impeachment of the speaker of the House of Assembly in Edo state.

Taiwanese chair fight

In July 2017, lawmakers in Taiwan fought over a $14 billion infrastructure project by blowing horns and hurling chairs.

Crotch-grabbing in Ukraine

In Dec. 2015, an opposition lawmaker grabbed then-prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk by the crotch to remove him from the podium.

No peace in Japan

The same year, Japanese lawmakers came to blows over pacifism.

South Korean war zone

In 2010, South Korean opposition lawmakers tried to barricade other lawmakers out of a national budget vote with furniture.

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