Paisley Dragged From Assembly : Group Refuses Order to Dissolve Ulster Body
Police dragged the Rev. Ian Paisley and about 20 fellow Protestant politicians out of the Northern Ireland Assembly early today after they refused to obey a British order dissolving the Legislature.
The 10-hour sit-in at Northern Ireland’s seat of limited self-government ended in scuffles and veiled threats of violence by Paisley.
“Don’t come crying to me if your homes are attacked. You will reap what you sow,” Paisley shouted at the policemen.
On Monday night, 200 demonstrators who gathered outside the Assembly were dispersed by riot police when the crowd began throwing rocks and bottles at officers. Several policemen suffered minor injuries and several people were arrested, police said.
The legislative sit-in began after Speaker James Kilfedder read the government order dissolving the Assembly. Lawmakers jumped to their feet and objected to removal of the mace, the symbol of the Assembly’s authority, from the chamber. They then remained in their seats and began a marathon debate protesting the dissolution order.
Dozens of officers carried Paisley and other assemblymen out of the horseshoe-shaped chamber at Stormont Castle on Belfast’s eastern outskirts. Several politicians struggled violently with police and shouted abuse.
The 78-member Assembly was set up in 1982 with the aim of returning responsibility for local government to the province in such a way that Roman Catholics and Protestants both could take part. But the Assembly became a talking shop with virtually no powers, attended by only 49 Protestant lawmakers.