Police evacuate Paris’ Gare du Nord station because of security alert

Police evacuate Paris' Gare du Nord station because of security alert

Paris, May 9 : Police evacuated Paris’ Gare du Nord train station at night and cordoned off the area because of a security alert, local police authorities said.
A Reuters witness at the scene said there were at least 10 police vans outside the station in central Paris yesterday.

Police gradually began reopening Paris’ Gare du Nord train station early on Tuesday morning after earlier evacuating the platforms and cordoning off the area because of a security alert, local police authorities said.

A Reuters witness at the scene said there were between 20 to 30 police vans outside the station in central Paris with security forces wearing balaclavas and carrying assault weapons.

“End of security checks. Gradual return to normal,” Paris police said in a tweet.

Authorities gave no other details about the nature of the operation.

Security has been stepped up across France because of Sunday’s presidential runoff, which Emmanuel Macron won.

Over the past two years, the country has been hit by a series of Islamist militant attacks in Paris and other cities in which more than 230 people have been killed.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the operation was aimed at “removing doubt” and ended with no arrests, but she would not say what prompted it. A station employee said the operation focused on a train from Valenciennes in northern France.

The busy station is the terminus of a large suburban and national rail network as well as Eurostar trains from London.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the operation was aimed at “removing doubt” and ended with no arrests, but she would not say what prompted it. A station employee said the operation focused on a train from Valenciennes in northern France.

The busy station is the terminus of a large suburban and national rail network as well as Eurostar trains from London.

France is under a state of emergency imposed after a series of Islamic extremist attacks. The operation came the day after a tense and closely watched presidential election that was won by independent Emmanuel Macron, who has said one of his top priorities will be ensuring France’s security.

Police started pouring into the station just after 11 p.m. and asked where the train from Valenciennes was, according to a station employee, who was not authorized to be publicly named. Station staff directed officers to platform 10, where they were quickly joined by more and more police. Within minutes, authorities began evacuating the entire station, the employee said.

Dave James Phillips, a 39-year-old technology consultant from Britain, said he was getting off the last train in from London when he saw officers flooding the station.

“There were police immediately, and a chap with his hand on his gun,” Phillips told AP. “As we were walking down the platform, one came down and said, ‘Rapide, rapide. Out, out.'”

Phillips said police kept pouring into the station as passengers were hustled out and police buses and unmarked cars were “driving quite dramatically up the road.”

Phillips said he had since left the area.

“Hopefully nothing happened,” he said.

By 2 a.m., police were packing up and removing the cordon that had been set up around the station.

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