Scuffles break out in Venezuela's congress chamber

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 11, 2011 05:05

 
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CARACAS, Venezuela — Scuffles and a fistfight erupted between allies and adversaries of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela's National Assembly on Thursday, forcing security guards to separate two battling lawmakers.

It was the second scuffle among lawmakers since early January, when newly elected opposition lawmakers took their seats in a legislature that had for years been controlled almost exclusively by Chavez allies.

Tensions boiled over when several opposition lawmakers, including Alfonso Marquina, approached the podium during a debate involving top government officials who were taking questions. Marquina complained that boisterous Chavez supporters inside the chamber should be silenced.

Incensed lawmakers in front of the podium began pushing and shoving, then Marquina and pro-Chavez lawmaker Henry Villanueva went to blows.

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