Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Breaking: Eiffel Tower evacuated.

About 2,000 people have been evacuated from the Eiffel Tower in Paris and its surrounding park after a bomb scare.

The alarm was raised after an anonymous call to the company which manages the famous landmark, officials said.

A police cordon has been thrown around the tower and about 1,000 people have been moved to the banks of the nearby River Seine, French media reported.

The 324m (1,063ft) iron lattice tower, built in 1889, is one of the world's most popular tourist attractions.

The evacuation of the tower and the Champ de Mars park took place calmly shortly before 2100 local time (1900 GMT), police said.

Officers with sniffer dogs are carrying out a thorough search of the area.

A police officer earlier said about 25,000 people had been evacuated from the area.

The French government increased security at certain sites between 2 August and 15 September, in part because of threats from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, French TV channel TF1 reported.

Possibly related:

The French senate approved Tuesday a law banning any veils that cover the face -- including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women -- making France the first European country to plan such a measure.

The law passed by a vote of 246 to 1, with about 100 abstentions coming essentially from left-leaning politicians.

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