SYDNEY : A man was dragged from his car by armed Australian riot police who stormed the vehicle after a tense two-hour standoff outside the New South Wales parliament on Friday.

Parliament went into lockdown and surrounding streets were cordoned off after the man drove a white car, believed to contain a container of flammable liquid, onto the footpath in front of the building.

Remaining inside the car, he apparently demanded to see NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell. Reports said he threatened to harm himself and even blow himself up.

After failed negotiations, police in flak jackets stormed the car as the man attempted to light a cigarette lighter, smashing its windows and firing what appeared to be a smoke canister before dragging him out and bundling him to the ground.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch praised the response of his officers.

“When that man attempted to light a cigarette lighter, wind the windows of the car up with what we believe to be a container of flammable liquid (inside), those officers put their lives on the line and they resolved the situation in a peaceful manner,” he said.

Reports said the man, in his fifties, was known to police and wanted O’Farrell to launch an investigation into a dispute with his former employer, a taxi company.