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Friday, July 2, 1999 Published at 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK


Parliament six due in court

The protesters held up placards at the side of the carriage

Six people arrested after two incidents during proceedings at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh are due to appear in court.

An anonymous phone call to BBC Scotland said that the protests were linked to groups associated with Irish republicanism.

The six are expected to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

In one incident, four men aged 34, 31, 29 and 28, were arrested after allegedly climbing over barriers in the Canongate on the Royal Mile

Two other men, aged 28 and 24, were detained after a Union flag was burned outside the parliament as the Queen left following the formal opening.

Phone call

The caller to the BBC in Edinburgh claimed reponsibility for the Canongate protest.

The person said it had involved members of the James Connolly Society and the Edinburgh Friends of Garvaghy Road, which are both associated with Irish republicanism, calling for the disbandment of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Demonstrators were seen by onlookers dashing towards the Queen's carriage, but they were deflected by troopers from the Household cavalry escorting her.

Sandwich shop owner Clare Thompson, 19, said: "There was a group of about 10 men aged in their 20s and 30s.

"As the Queen's carriage approached, they took off jumpers to show T-shirts with the name of their group and tried to jump into the carriage.

'Queen startled'

"The Queen looked startled. They were touching the carriage at one point.

"They were shouting: 'Disband the RUC'."

She picked up placards the men had dropped, bearing the words: "Disband the RUC" and a picture of a policeman with an assault rifle and an orange sash."

The men tried to escape into the crowds, said Miss Thompson, but people were angry and tried to point them out to the police.

A police spokesman rejected suggestions that security arrangements had collapsed.

He said that contingency measures had worked, because none of the protesters had gained access to the Royal vehicle.





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