Monday September 22, 2008 From the BBC website:

Stormont bomb was art, says Stone

Loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone has denied trying to kill the Sinn Fein leadership.

He said the day he tried to force his way into Stormont was simply “an act of performance art”.

Each item he was carrying had symbolic significance, he said, including a bird-shaped pair of scissors as a “begrudging” symbol of Irish republicanism rising from the flames, and a poppy badge on his jacket as a mark of respect for “fallen comrades”.

He said a sponge inside the butt of the fake gun was to symbolise the “sponging unionists”, the wire he had with him was for the “precarious path to peace and reconciliation,” harking back to a painting he gave to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Stone told the court he tried to keep everything in a “monochrome pallet” – black, white or grey.

“The symbolism of that was as in life, not everything is black and white – my perceived attack is a grey area, that it was an attack of art, an artistic protest,” he said.

Even his clothing had its own symbolism, he said, including a pair of sunglasses, in that he had worn the same outfit in 1974 to a mass protest against the Sunningdale Agreement.

He said he wore a fisherman’s hat because Martin McGuinness’s alleged codename in the security forces was “the fisherman”.

*William Blake: “I must create my own system, or be enslav’d by another man’s.”


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