UPDATED: A government ministry and several blocks around it in downtown Oslo were evacuated and cordoned off at midday on Monday, after security guards found a suspicious suitcase sitting on a bus stop bench. A police bomb unit was called in to investigate, and found the suitcase empty.
Thee suitcase had been left just outside the building housing Norway’s ministry for environmental protection (Miljøverndepartementet) in the area of downtown called Kvadraturen, an historic part of Oslo located behind the Akershus Fortress and Castle.
The evacuation and street closures halted all traffic on two of the capital’s main bus and tram lines that run along Prinsensgate, snarling traffic and distrupting public transport.
Police couldn’t immediately say how many workers were evacuated. Even Jørstad of the Oslo Police District told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that streets were being reopened by 1:30pm and public transit could resume as soon as possible.
Passengers using tram lines 12, 13 and 19 and bus lines 30, 31 and 32 were told to expect delays, but officials hoped to be back on schedule before the afternoon rush.