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You're reading: Ukraine parliament speaker elected amid brawls
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The Party of Regions led by President Viktor Yanukovych secured a slim majority in the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday following an October election condemned as unfair by the West. But three opposition parties made a strong showing and vowed to challenge Yanukovych’s grip on power.

Some took that literally. For the second day of the new parliament’s work, fists flew as opposition lawmakers chanted “Shame! Shame!” and “No to defectors!”

Shortly after parliament began its work Thursday morning, opposition lawmakers swarmed the parliament’s podium and a fight erupted with pro-government legislators. Lawmakers wrestled with each other and some deputies were knocked over in the melee.

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