Fists flew Wednesday as Ukraine’s newly elected parliament devolved into an all-out brawl between government supporters and opposition lawmakers, the Associated Press reports.
A parliamentary session had only just begun Thursday when a group from the opposition swarmed the body’s podium. According to the AP, lawmakers wrestled with each other and some deputies were knocked over as anger over the controversial practice of voting in place of absent peers boiled over.
As the lawmakers attempted to jump onto the podium, an intrepid photographer captured an impressive snapshot that appears to show a government supporter punching a charging opposition lawmaker in the crotch.
The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara tweeted that it was “maybe the most vigorous punch to the groin ever caught on camera.”
The brawl happened two months after a contentious election that has been disputed, according to the Kyiv Post. Supporters of the country’s high-profile opposition leader, imprisoned former-Premier Yulia Tymoshenko, came to the government meeting wearing black jerseys with her portrait on the front and the phrase “Freedom to Political Prisoners” emblazoned on the back.
World heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko — who heads the opposition UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms), or “Punch” party — did not join in the brawl, The Telegraph notes.
He joked to the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper that his punches would be too dangerous, according to USA Today.
“I understand that many people want Klitschko to launch an offensive but I would like to remind (them) that, for example, in the United States a boxer’s fists are considered weapons and the fists of a world champion are considered nuclear weapons,” the fighter said. “We will not use these weapons for now.”
Ukrainian lawmakers are no stranger to scuffles, however. In May, a session of parliament debating a bill that would give became Russian equal-language status in some parts of the country turned into a violent confrontation, the BBC reported.