Ukraine, parliament, fight
Ukraine's nationalist and communist parties have a disagreement. Photo credit: © Maxim Nikitin/ITAR-TASS/ZUMA Wire

Hilarious and tragic videos of brawling parliaments from around the world. Is this what’s next for US Congress?

Parliaments around the world communicate dissent in various ways. In some cases, yelling is enough. Elsewhere, ministers express themselves with fistfights, kicking, elbowing, gouging eyes, spraying tear gas, and throwing things (including eggs, chairs, microphones…). 

In Jordan, after a heated debate, one MP wanted to shoot another but was not allowed to bring his AK-47 into the parliamentary chambers. (And he, or perhaps someone else, seems to be wielding a knife.) He was ordered out into the hall, where he fired a shot, the noise of which interrupted a speech. 

Well, there are limits to what will be tolerated. As shown in the video below, an emergency meeting was held, after which one member announced, “Some are suggesting to sack the member of parliament who did that.”

Violence in the US Congress was once fairly common, as a recent book documents. If the political culture grows any more polarized, could it return? 

What kinds of things might Americans throw at each other?

Below is a small selection of videos showing parliaments in action around the world. But the last one is from America, featuring not a parliamentary brawl, but a heated conversation among politicians. No one brought an AK-47 to the meeting, but the power of rudeness was on display.  

Congressional pugilists

Cartoon by unknown artist: Congress Hall, in Philadelphia, published February 15, 1798. A crude portrayal of a fight on the floor of Congress between Vermont Representative Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold of Connecticut. Photo credit: Library of Congress


MP tried to shoot another with an AK-47 — may be sacked.
09/11/2013 (1:12)



What a squirming mass!
12/13/2012 (1:30)

Close ups of angry faces reminiscent of Daumier’s caricatures.
03/19/2013 (1:44)

Watch out for the woman in the upper left!
04/08/2014 (0:58)  

Narrated in English, so you know whose finger is in whose eye, and why.
07/23/2014 (1:15) 

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is groin-grabbed.
12/11/2015  (1:07) 

Politician accused of sucking up to Moscow gets his accuser in a headlock.
11/14/2016 (0:58) English subtitles. 



Get an ambulance!
09/28/2017 (2:58)



Boys will be boys!
12/26/2014 (1:30)



They start throwing things at about 1:15 on the tape.
07/2150 (2:32)



Vice President Mike Pence is booed in the Knesset.
01/22/2018 (1:04)

Splat! One MP throws water at another.
01/09/2012 (0:30)



MPs quickly explode into action that includes women.
09/17/2015 (1:52)



Tear gas this time!
11/19/2015 (1:52)

Prime minister gets egged!
09/22/2015 (2:25)



Just water balloons?



Watch out for angry Turks coming from above!
05/03/2016 (1:41)



Shouting match between Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer.
(10:30) 12/11/2018

The Lyon-Griswold brawl.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from LOC.


  • Milicent Cranor

    Milicent Cranor is a senior editor at WhoWhatWhy. She has worked as a creative editor at E.P. Dutton, a comedy ghostwriter, and editor of consequential legal and scientific documents. She has also co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles for medical journals.

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