Plaza Cort in the centre of Palma was cordoned off by Local Police and the National Police bomb squad called in just minutes before the Mayor of Palma was about to lead local politicians and members of the public in five minutes silence in protest over the death of a Barcelona policeman, shot dead by the Basque terrorist group ETA on Wednesday. The alarm was raised just minutes before mid-day, when the city council meeting was due to be halted for the peaceful protest. The mayor, Joan Fageda, was informed and in turn he announced to the council chamber “we have a problem.” Fageda then explained to councillors and journalists inside the town hall that police had sealed off the building and that no one was to leave city hall until a suspect package had been x-rayed and checked. Apparently, moments before, a delivery man had arrived with a package addressed to the Mayor, but no invoice for the parcel. The two-kilo package was scanned and appeared to be containing a clock and cables and the fact that the messenger left in a hurry prompted security to raise the alarm, local Police chief Joan Feliu explained. Eventually, the local council decided to leave the building and hold the protest while police and the bomb squad carried out further checks on the suspect package and evacuate the area. Within minutes streets leading up to the town hall were closed off and bars and shops in the square evacuated. Word quickly spread across the city and one woman was fined for refusing to obey one of the road blocks which also prevented Chief Minister Francesc Antich from reaching Plaza Cort and joining a group of people in five minutes silence down the road from the town hall. Initially the Mayor confirmed that the package was a letter bomb, but minutes later set the record straight and said that the hoax package has been sent by someone intent on causing alarm and interrupting the anti-terrorism protest. 15 minutes after the alarm was raised, it was confirmed that the package contained a watch as a Christmas present for the Mayor from the company which is responsible for the city's parks and gardens.


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