Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And You Thought Our Politics Was Heated...

Don't know about you, but I think it would be rather amusing to see some eggs and smoke bombs being tossed around on the House floor.
FIGHTING broke out and smoke bombs were thrown as Ukraine's Parliament erupted into chaos as it ratified a bitterly controversial deal with Russia extending the lease of a key naval base.

The scuffles broke out after eggs were thrown at the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymr Lytvyn, who then took cover behind two black umbrellas held by aides.

The first smoke bomb was then thrown from an unknown source and the chamber filled with smoke, making it difficult to watch proceedings. Some deputies covered their noses or put on masks as alarms sounded.

A second smoke bomb was thrown shortly afterwards, creating thicker smoke in the chamber as deputies nonetheless continued their rancorous debate, an AFP correspondent in the chamber reported.

The deputies in the notoriously fractious Parliament were taking part in a session debating a controversial deal last week to extend the lease on Russia's Black Sea Fleet naval base in Crimea until at least 2042.

The deal signed last week by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych had been slammed by the pro-Western Ukrainian opposition as a historic surrender of sovereignty.

Deputies also started fighting over a massive Ukrainian flag in the middle of the chamber, twisting and distorting the yellow and blue banner as smoke continued to billow in the chamber.

Amid the chaos, some deputies tried to push on with their business as if nothing extraordinary was taking place, with speakers taking to the floor.

With some lawmakers shouting "Shame, Shame!", the Parliament ratified the pact with 236 lawmakers voting in favour of ratifying the deal in the 450 seat chamber.

Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of Ukraine's previous pro-Western government protested outside parliament over the decision, shouting "Death to Traitors" and "Crimea is Ours".

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