Lawmakers fight after more than 20 members from opposition Kuomintang party occupy legislature to protest president's nomination of a close aide to a high-level watchdog.

Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy and fights and protests inside the parliament building are not an uncommon occurrence.
Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy and fights and protests inside the parliament building are not an uncommon occurrence. (Reuters)

A group of more than 20 lawmakers from Taiwan's main opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT) has occupied the legislature to protest government "tyranny" and the president's nomination of a close aide to a high-level watchdog.

The KMT, trounced in January's parliamentary and presidential elections, began their protest in parliament late on Sunday and remained there overnight into Monday, blocking entry to the main chamber with chains and chairs.

Fighting broke out soon after ruling lawmakers pulled down the barricades and forced their way in, surrounding the main podium where their KMT lawmakers had dug in. 

The KMT said it was protesting the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen's forcing through of bills and Tsai's nomination of her senior aide Chen Chu to head the Control Yuan, a government watchdog.

"This year, the Tsai administration has become more tyrannical than before," the KMT said in a statement. 

"Tsai's obstinacy had left the KMT with no alternative but to occupy the Legislative Yuan for a parliamentary boycott."

File Photo: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators scuffle with Kuomintang (KMT) legislators during a budget meeting for the infrastructure development programme, at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 18, 2017.
File Photo: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators scuffle with Kuomintang (KMT) legislators during a budget meeting for the infrastructure development programme, at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 18, 2017. (Reuters)

Rambunctious democracy

The DPP has a large parliamentary majority.

Both the DPP and the presidential office condemned the action, with the DPP saying the KMT was orchestrating a "farce".

"This is simply trampling on the respect of their own members of parliament," the DPP said.

Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy and fights and protests inside the parliament building are not an uncommon occurrence.

In 2014, hundreds of students occupied parliament for weeks in protests nicknamed the Sunflower Movement, demanding more transparency and fearful of China's growing economic and political influence on the Chinese-claimed island.

Close ties with China

The KMT, which traditionally favours close ties with China, is undergoing a policy revamp led by its youthful new leader Johnny Chiang to try and win back popular support.

Earlier this month the KMT mayor of the major southern city of Kaohsiung lost a recall vote by a huge margin, in another setback for the party.

READ MORE: Taiwan's president wins as voters back tough China stance

Source: Reuters