TAIPEI, Taiwan – They've fought with fists. They've thrown paper at each other. And on Tuesday, Taiwan's (search) rowdy lawmakers had an old-fashioned food fight.
Legislators began chucking white cardboard takeout lunch boxes full of rice, meat, hard-boiled eggs and vegetables at each other during a heated debate over whether Taiwan should spend billions on weapons sold by the United States.
It was difficult to figure out who started the battle. Local TV showed the legislators yelling at each other as they sat at long tables in a committee room during a lunch meeting.
Opposition lawmaker Chu Fong-chi stood up and began shouting at ruling party lawmakers when she appeared to duck to avoid being hit by an object. She picked up a lunch box and flung it across the room at legislator Chen Chong-yi of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
Chen grabbed a lunch box and tossed it back at Chu, who had what appeared to be food stains down the back of her blouse. "My whole body smells like a lunch box!" she shrieked to TV cameras covering the melee.
The food fight, which lasted just minutes, left tabletops, chairs and the floor littered with rice and chunks of hard-boiled eggs.
Fisticuffs were common in the legislature during the late 1980s and early '90s in the newly democratic Taiwan. But in recent years, lawmakers have become less violent, although tempers flare almost daily. Yelling, insults and other uncivil behavior is part of the political culture.