Newly-elected far-right nationalist Ukrainian MPs brought chainsaws on their first day of work, and set to work tearing down the snow-covered perimeter fence around the parliament building.

Ukrainian parliamentary business is often dogged by violent, passionate outbursts, punch-ups and protests. On Wednesday opposition leaders blocked members of parliament from voting to endorse Mykola Azarov for a new term as prime minister - leading to torn suits, punches and a mass brawl.

ukraine fence

Members of the opposition party break a fence in front of the parliament building

According to a Reuters report, deputies from the three main opposition parties encircled the speaker's podium, and blocked activation of the electronic system which would allow deputies to vote on Azarov's nomination. A prolonged and bitter stand-off ensued between parties.

Reuters reported that jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's party, the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), wore black sweaters bearing her portrait and stickers calling for political prisoners to be freed.

ukraine

Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev

'Svoboda', the far-right nationalists, used chainsaws to cut down the fence outside the parliament, and broke down doors, in protest at the government's alienation and distance from the Ukrainian people.

Tymoshenko was jailed for alleged abuse of office while prime minister, she has been in prison for more than a year, but claims she is innocent and a political prisoner.

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  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. Activists from Ukraine's feminist group Femen staged a topless anti-corruption protest on December 12 outside the ex-Soviet country's newly-elected parliament as a fight erupted between lawmakers inside. Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. In the meantime, a fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. Activists from Ukraine's feminist group Femen staged a topless anti-corruption protest on December 12 outside the ex-Soviet country's newly-elected parliament as a fight erupted between lawmakers inside. Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. Activists from Ukraine's feminist group Femen staged a topless anti-corruption protest on December 12 outside the ex-Soviet country's newly-elected parliament as a fight erupted between lawmakers inside. Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. Activists from Ukraine's feminist group Femen staged a topless anti-corruption protest on December 12 outside the ex-Soviet country's newly-elected parliament as a fight erupted between lawmakers inside. Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. In the meantime, a fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. In the meantime, a fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. In the meantime, a fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. In the meantime, a fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. In the meantime, a fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. In the meantime, a fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. A fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. A fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT

    Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days, during the second session of the newly elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on December 13, 2012. The opening session of the Verkhkovna Rada began in a typically raucous fashion, after the October 28 parliamentary elections which were condemned by the West as a setback for democracy. A fight erupted in the chamber between opposition MPs and two deputies whom they accused of defecting to the pro-government camp. Several lawmakers from the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased two men they called 'turncoats' -- a father and a son -- to prevent them from taking the oath. AFP PHOTO//SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Opposition lawmakers chase away two colleagues from the parliament hall whom they suspect of preparing to defect to the party loyal to President Viktor Yanukovych during the first session of Ukraine's newly elected parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Ukraine's newly elected parliament has convened after a disputed vote, but its first session was already marred by a protest and a skirmish. President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions secured a slim majority in parliament after an election criticized by the West as unfair over the jailing of ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko.(AP Photo/Aleksander Kosarev, Pool)

  • Ukrainian lawmakers fight in the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Ukraine’s newly elected parliament has convened after a disputed vote, but its first session was already marred by a protest and a fight. President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions secured a slim majority in parliament after an election criticized by the West as unfair over the jailing of ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko. Written on the shirt "Freedom to Political Prisoners" (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)