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South Korean political meeting descends into fisticuffs

By Paula Hancocks, CNN
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Mon May 14, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A minor left-wing party met to discuss a vote-rigging scandal
  • Dozens of angry party members rushed the stage at the meeting
  • One co-chairman says he suffered injuries from the fighting that ensued

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- A meeting of South Korean political party ended in a fist fight this weekend after tempers ran high over a recent scandal.

The minor left-wing United Progressive Party (UPP) met Saturday to discuss a vote-rigging scandal at the party's primary in March.

The party's four co-chairs had announced their resignation and were discussing whether those elected in April's general election should also step down, the party said in a statement.

About 100 angry UPP members then rushed the stage, claiming a decision to create an emergency committee was illegal.

Tempers flared, and violence followed.

Cho Joon-ho, co-chairman of the party, said on his Twitter account that he suffered injuries to his neck and back after being repeatedly hit by disgruntled members. He left the venue with torn clothes, he said.

Political brawls are nothing new for South Korea. A number of fist fights have broken out in the National Assembly.

One opposition lawmaker even set off a teargas canister in parliament in November in a failed attempt to derail the passing of a free trade agreement with the United States.

CNN's K.J. Kwon contributed to this report.

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