Five opposition lawmakers and their aides have been indicted for brandishing a hammer and other implements at the National Assembly and assaulting or insulting governing party lawmakers.
The indictment comes about six months after they clashed with lawmakers from the governing Grand National Party (GNP) over the attempted ratification of a free trade agreement with the United States on Dec. 18. To block GNP lawmakers from tabling the FTA deal at a subcommittee of the Assembly, opposition lawmakers used a hammer and other tools to destroy a door to the panel room, which had been occupied and barricaded by GNP lawmakers.
During the clash, there was scuffling, individuals were grabbed by the collar and insulting words were traded.
The indictment is unprecedented, even though there have been numerous cases of violence in the Assembly over the last 60 years. The opposition parties denounced the prosecution for what they call politically motivated legal action. The violent scenes were featured in major daily newspapers worldwide.
Among the indicted ― without physical detention ― are Rep. Moon Hak-jin of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) and Rep. Lee Jung-hee of the minor opposition Democratic Labor Party (DLP) on charges of damaging public property. DP lawmaker Kang Gi-jung was indicted for obstructing the execution of duty, and GNP lawmaker Cho Won-jin for violence.
Some footage of the event: