Taiwan lawmakers throw pig guts in protest over meat imports

Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers throw pig offal on the podium in Taiwan's parliament in Taipei, on November 27, 2020.

(CNN)Lawmakers in Taiwan threw pig intestines and punches at each other as a brawl broke out in parliament over a proposal to ease restrictions on pork imports from the United States.

The fight broke out Friday when opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party members threw pig skin and intestines at their fellow lawmakers to stop Premier Su Tseng-chang of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from taking questions, according to the self-ruled island's state broadcaster, Central News Agency. Some members then briefly exchanged blows.
Footage from the Legislative Yuan showed offal lying on the parliament's red floor, and on some lawmakers' clothes.
    The controversy was over Tawianese President Tsai Ing-wen's decision to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, an animal feed additive that is banned in a number of countries including China, and the European Union.
    DPP leader Tsai announced in August that the imports would be allowed from January 1, 2021.
    Ahead of the premier's speech on Friday, Tsai posted on her Facebook page, emphasizing that Taiwan is a free market.
    "I know that there are different opinions in our country, but this is a problem that any political party must face," she wrote. "The import of American pork and beef is to have more choice on the market, people are not forced to eat it."
      Parliamentary brawls are not uncommon in democratic Taiwan. In 2017, for instance, politicians threw chairs and water at each other after arguing for days over an infrastructure project.
      This story has been updated to clarify the proposal to parliament.
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