French consulate in New York evacuated after bomb threat

French Consul General Anne-Claire Legendre (centre) and Deputy Consul General Eric Bayer standing on Madison Avenue after being evacuated from the Consulate General of France in Manhattan, New York, United States, on April 22, 2017.
French Consul General Anne-Claire Legendre (centre) and Deputy Consul General Eric Bayer standing on Madison Avenue after being evacuated from the Consulate General of France in Manhattan, New York, United States, on April 22, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) – The French consulate in New York, where thousands of expatriates were registered to cast ballots in their presidential election on Saturday (April 22), was briefly evacuated following a bomb threat, officials said.

A suspicious vehicle prompted police to clear the building on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park, Consul General Anne-Claire Legendre said.  “After the Champs Elysees attack, the New York police department was told to be especially vigilant," she added.

Dozens of people who were inside the building at about 5pm (2100 GMT) waited on the sidewalk while authorities checked the vehicle.

The situation returned to normal after about 50 minutes, said consulate press officer Amelie Geoffroy. Voting activities, which were scheduled to take place until 7pm, also resumed, she added.

Some 28,500 French citizens living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are registered to vote at the consulate.

Security measures were strengthened at French polling stations across the United States following a jihadist’s killing of a policeman on Paris’ famed Champs Elysees avenue this week.