Tunisian Parliament deputy Sahbi Samara yesterday slapped opposition MP and leader of the Free Destourian Party, Abir Moussi, twice before other MPs intervened and moved him away.
The incident represents the latest episode of violence and chaos that has engulfed Tunisia's tumultuous parliamentary sessions on more than one occasion.
It was not clear why the deputy attacked Moussi. However, widely circulated video footage shows how Samara got up from his seat and moved swiftly to the opposition figure while she was streaming the session directly on her mobile phone, and hit her repeatedly.
Tension prevailed in the parliament because of a sit-in staged by the Free Destourian MPs who protested against the adoption of a deal which would allow an office for the Qatar Fund for Development to be opened in Tunisia.
Moussi and the Free Destourian deputies are fierce oppositionists of Islamic currents, particularly the Ennahda movement and the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) branch in Tunisia.
"This is their true face… violence… insulting women… defaming chaste women… hegemony… violations," Moussi posted on her Facebook page.
Judge and activist Kalthoum Kano, a candidate of the 2019 presidential election, called for Samara's arrest.
Representative Samia Abbou from the Democratic Bloc said: "Parliamentary immunity does not put the MP above the law."
There was no immediate comment from Independent MP Samara.
Ennahda leader: National figures must be respected, including the president