The area around the government complex in downtown Oslo was cordoned off and evacuated on Wednesday after a mysterious bag was left outside the Finance Ministry. A special bomb-checking robot could determine that the bag only held clothes and the robot destroyed it.
It was the third time in recent months that a terror scare led to evacuations in and near the government complex and Parliament (Stortinget). A man overheard making threats on a bus led to a major evacuation in February and police also evacuated the parliament last month when an electrical short circuit set off an explosion. The threshold is low for such police action following the bombing of the complex on July 22, 2011.
Wednesday’s drama began around 1:30pm when the bag was first discovered. That led to a quick evacuation of the Finance Ministry, which is located adjacent to the other now-empty ministry buildings that were badly damaged in the bombing nearly two years ago.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) saw a security guard leading away a man whose hands had been tied behind his back. There were some reports that the man had left the bag after an angry verbal exchange with a ministry guard.
Police re-opened the area within a few hours and government workers returned to their offices.