By Pia Walter

PETER Newey, chairman of the Conservatives Abroad, who owns a hair dressing salon in Palmanova told the Bulletin his account of what happened when a car bomb went off near his shop yesterday . “One of the girls was sitting next to the window working on a client's nails when we suddenly heard a huge explosion which made the shop rattle and the glass move in and out,” he said.

At first we thought two trucks had collided on the road outside. There was tons of speculation at this point. “A few of us ran out to see what was going on. People were running in all directions, some towards the bomb sight to see what had happened and others were following the Civil Guard's instructions and running the opposite way,” he added. “People came running back shouting it was a bomb! The lady next door also informed us that a carbomb had exploded in front of the Civil Guard offices. “Information was out seconds after the explosion, but there was still an element of chaos, with hoards of people still running both ways. “However after the shock had passed, the Civil Guard began very methodically to clear all the businesses, bars, restaurants, terraces, and also began to cut the roads. They did this very calmly and nobody argued with them, you just moved,” said Peter. “Some restaurant owners were forced to leave on ovens and other appliances because they had to vacate so quickly. “Only after things had calmed down were they allowed to come back and turn these off. Although they were escorted by police officers who actually watched them turn the appliances off,” he continued.

We had to evacuate the salon because it was within the restricted area. They told us that nobody was allowed back in until the sniffer dogs had come and secured the area. However by six we still hadn't seen a single dog. “I could see my shop from the bar I had gone to when we were evacuated, but there was no way police would allow people in unescorted,” he concluded.