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Parts of Manchester city centre evacuated as police investigate two suspicious packages

Parts of Manchester city centre evacuated as police investigate two suspicious packages

A cordon is in place in Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre of Manchester after reports of a suspicious package were made. (Photo: Twitter/Pamela Barnes)

LONDON: Parts of Manchester city centre in northern England were evacuated on Friday (May 3) afternoon after two suspicious packages were found.

The police announced in a tweet that a cordon was in place in Piccadilly Gardens after reports of a suspicious package were made.

One photo on social media showed two police officers examining what appeared to be a backpack.

The police confirmed later that the package "is not believed to be a viable device", but that the cordon would remain in place until the materials were safe to move and enquiries completed.

In a separate update, the police said that it had received reports of another suspicious device at Oldham Library, which was evacuated. This was later also deemed to be "non-viable", police added.

Photos and videos online showed a bomb disposal unit at the library.

"Officers are keeping an open mind and are exploring the possibility the incidents are linked," police said.

A 26-year old man has been arrested and remains in custody, police said, adding that investigations are ongoing. The fire service was also at the scene to assist with enquiries.

The police asked members of the public to follow directions from officers.

"If you are working in the city and have been asked to stay indoors, please do so while officers carry out their enquiries. We will provide updates as soon as we can," it tweeted.

Social media users reported that tram services were suspended and bus stops closed off.

The police confirmed transport links, including the Metrolink, have been affected as a result of the cordon.

Source: Reuters/aa(aj/mi)

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