Bomb alert and protest mar royal visit

A HOAX bomb alert and republican protest threatened to overshadow the carnival atmosphere which greeted the Queen's visit to Armagh yesterday.

Controlled explosion

An earlier security alert had been declared a hoax after army technical officers carried out a controlled explosion on two suspect objects which had been found in the Friary Road area of the city.

Police said that items had been taken away for examination.

Protest

And in a separate incident, up to 40 protestors - who identified themselves as members of a group called Eirigi - were reported to have gathered in the English Street area to voice their opposition to her visit.

In a statement, group chairman Brian Leeson said it was "completely unacceptable" that a visit by the "commander-in-chief of Britain's armed forces" should be viewed as a glorious symbol of peace in NOrthern Ireland.

He added: "Britain's understanding of peace in Ireland, Afghanistan or anywhere else they have occupied has always been one of continued occupation without resistance.

"This analysis was at the heart of their infamous 'normalisation strategy', which they now hope is coming to fruition."

Eirigi

Eirigi was formed by a small group of socialist republican activists in Dublin in April 2006 as a political campaigns group.

The party name means: "Let you rise", in reference to a quote from Irish trade union leader, Jim Larkin: "The great appear great to us only because we are on our knees; let us rise!"

The party chairman is currently Brian Leeson.

Security alert for ceremony