Govt building in Canberra evacuated, police later say package not suspicious

Police are investigating the package found in the staff canteen area at lunchtime.

By: Press Trust of India | Melbourne | Updated: December 16, 2014 10:52 am
Police stand at the ready close to a cafe under siege in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney. (Source: AP) Police stand at the ready close to a cafe under siege in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney. (Source: AP)

Hundreds of staff were evacuated on Tuesday from Canberra-based Department of Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade after a suspicious package was found in the canteen of the building, which is close to Parliament House.

The local police later declared that the package found at DFAT was “non-suspicious”. “We will always respond in this manner to suspicious packages no matter where they are identified or located,” it said in a tweet.

Police are investigating the package found in the staff canteen area at lunchtime. In a statement, police said it has cordoned off the area as a standard safety precaution. “Evacuations are underway at DFAT and road closures implemented. Members of the AFP (Australian Federal Police) Bomb Response Team are in attendance,” the statement said.

Media reports said that hundreds of public servant were evacuated from the building which is close to Parliament House and police blocked traffic on state circle. A childcare centre is also attached to the building which is also closer to the Parliament building.

Some staff claimed that a backpack had been left unattended in the canteen and the building was evacuated about 10 minutes after it was noticed, reports said.

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