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More Scuffles In Ukrainian Parliament

7 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Lawmakers scuffled for a second day today as parliament tried to debate legislation needed for entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), forcing the session to end early.

Communists and pro-government lawmakers shoved each other and threw punches, crushing up against Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn. Bodyguards escorted Lytvyn out of the hall through the shoving crowd.

Lytvyn adjourned the session after about two minutes, shouting to make himself heard above wailing sirens sounded by Communists. Lawmakers were scheduled to return in the evening for more debate.

President Viktor Yushchenko's government is determined to push through the 14-bill package, whose passage, foreign investors say, will be a critical test of the government's pro-West ambitions.

But Communists and the Socialist Party have launched aggressive attacks, warning that the legislation would make the economy subservient to foreign demands.