The Eurozone debt crisis has sparked street riots across the continent, but now such violence has even seeped into the halls of government.
According to reports, two Italian deputies engaged in a brawl in parliament during tense negotiations over a tough budget reform proposal that the European Union (EU) is demanding.
Reportedly, two members of the right-wing Northern League (NL) party, a key component of the ruling coalition, fought with members of the Future and Freedom for Italy (FLI) opposition party. They grabbed each other by the throat before other lawmakers steeped in to separate them.
Apparently, the rough-housing was sparked by sarcastic comments made on TV by FLI leader and parliament speaker Gianfranco Fini about the wife of NL leader Umberto Bossi
The parliament session was suspended for several minutes after the fight.
Bossi and his party have resisted pressure from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to make any significant changes to Italy’s pension programs (as demanded by EU in exchange for supporting Italian government bonds). The only concession NL has agreed to is
Berlusconi will nonetheless present a budget reform plan to Brussels.
Amedeo Ciccanti, a member of the centrist UDC party, commented to Reuters: There is a climate of violence and intolerance. We need to calm down because Italians are more irritated than us about this.