/ 24 November 2006

Northern Ireland’s Stormont evacuated

Northern Ireland’s Stormont Parliament buildings were evacuated on Friday after a man threw a package at security staff at the entrance to the building where politicians were meeting to discuss self-rule.

The man, identified in media reports as notorious former Loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone, was wrestled to the ground by security staff and the building evacuated.

The incident began when Stone, in view of journalists waiting to interview politicians meeting in another room, pushed through revolving doors at the entrance to Stormont and threw a bag into the security search area shouting it was a bomb.

There was smoke coming out of the bag and the sounds of sparks.

Outside the words ”Sinn Fein IRA” has been sprayed in red paint on the front of the building.

Police said later the man, whom they did not identify, had been arrested.

Stone, a pro-British paramilitary, is known for an attack on the funeral of three Irish Republican Army members in 1988 at the predominantly catholic Milltown Cemetery in Belfast. An IRA member and two civilians were killed.

Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was released under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. – Reuters