Heavily armed police have put an end to a two-hour stand-off outside the NSW Parliament building on Sydney’s Macquarie Street.
Police were locked in negotiations with a man in a white car with tinted windows, after the car mounted the footpath at about noon. Media reports and parliamentary sources had said the man claimed to have a bomb.
After he was arrested police found a small container filled with a “flammable liquid”. The man attempted to use a cigarette lighter, and the police made the decision to move in, adding the public were not in danger at any point.
“The man is known to us, he is a 58-year-old man from the Wollongong area,” NSW Police assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch told reporters after the arrest.
“We were very comfortable that we had the measure of the man at all times,” Murdoch said, adding police were still unsure what the liquid in the cannister was.
“He was communicating his demands to us throughout the afternoon,” said Murdoch. “The man we are talking about is a regular visitor the parliamentary precinct.”
At about 2pm, specialists officers from a police tactical operations unit approached the vehicle, smashing out windows with crow bars and pumping the car full of a gas. The officers pulled the man out, forcing him to the ground where he was restrained to the sound of applause from onlookers.
Macquarie Street was closed from Hunter Street to Martin Place throughout the incident, causing traffic delays.
— ABC Sydney (@abcsydney) December 20, 2013
Full on cops with big shot guns now outside NSW parliament pic.twitter.com/z2Tm5kgdzk
— Max Phillips (@maxphillips) December 20, 2013
MPs and staff were initially told to remain in the building. Treasurer Mike Baird said he was leaving the building with NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell under instructions from police at about 12.40pm.
A spokesman for O’Farrell later said he was still “safe and well” in the building as of 1.52pm.
“The man [in the white car] says he has a bomb. Riot police are talking to him,” a source who was in the building told Business Insider.
Plain clothes officers arrived in unmarked cars at about 1.15pm, and took over negotiations, passing a piece of paper back and forth with the suspect, before the tactical operations officers assaulted the vehicle.
Here’s what happened, blow by blow:
12:00pm: NSW Treasurer Mike Baird tweeted the following photo
— Mike Baird (@mikebairdMP) December 20, 2013
12.25pm: Police initially told staff and MPs to remain in the building, but Business Insider understands that Baird and O’Farrell were later asked to leave. People spilling out of surrounding buildings throughout the siege were told to leave the area.
1.00pm: An armoured vehicle arrived on the scene with heavily armed specialists from NSW’s Tactical Operations Unit.
1.20pm: Plain clothes officers arrived in unmarked cars. One plain clothes officer took over negotiations with the man in the white car.
1.40pm: Negotiators are exchanging a piece of paper with the man in the car.
1.52pm: Barry O’Farrell has refuted earlier reports that he was evacuated from Parliament House. A spokesman told Business Insider that he was currently “safe and well” inside the building.
2.00pm A group of about six officers from NSW Police’s tactical operations unit snuck around behind the vehicle, and quickly sprayed tear gas inside. They pulled the man out of the car onto the ground and arrested him to applause from onlookers.
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