Ukraine Parliament Fight Sends Several Members to the Hospital

A fight erupted in the Ukrainian Parliament on Thursday after a heated debate over proposed legislation that would make Russian the second-official language in parts of the country where Russian is the dominate language.

The fight pitted supporters of the pro-Western opposition against current President Viktor Yanukovych's party. The pro-Western opposition wants to see Ukraine rise and become independent of Russian influences, while the pro-Yanukovych group has wide support in the Russian speaking east.

"You're a corpse, you have two days left to live, we will crucify you on a birch tree," said Vadim Kolesnichenko, who stated members of the opposition threatened him, the Unian news service reported.

There was one report of a member of parliament who backed the opposition, Mykola Petruk, who was hit on the head and was taken to a local hospital.

Lawmakers have often fought during sessions of the Ukrainian parliament. In December 2010, a fight broke out which resulted in six legislators being taken to the hospital.

That fight started after members of Yanukovych's party threw chairs and assaulted opposing lawmakers when they grew tired. They felt those members had been stalling legislative work that day.

And earlier that year in April, the speaker of parliament was seen hiding behind an umbrella as opposition lawmakers threw eggs and smoke bombs to protest a proposed military pact with Russia.

The opposition has demanded an investigation into Thursday's melee.

The bills supporting party, the Party of Regions, accused members of the opposing party of trying to garner support from young Ukrainians months before the parliamentary elections.

Members of the Party of Region affirmed their support of the language bill after the dust had settled and cast the blame on opposition members for inciting the violence.

"Nobody forced representatives of the opposition to climb over the barriers and disrupt a meeting," said Kolesnichenko.

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