Germany stadium evacuated, soccer game canceled

HANNOVER, Germany (AP) – The friendly soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands was canceled at short notice after a suspicious object was found at the stadium on Tuesday.

Policeman Joerg Hoffmeister told The Associated Press that everyone inside had to be evacuated after the as-yet unidentified object was found.

Announcements at the stadium in northern Germany advised people to go home in a calm manner, and that there was no danger to fear. Most fans were still waiting outside when the order to evacuate came about an hour and a half before kickoff.

There were no signs of panic, with most fans seemingly accepting the decision with resignation. Police became more forceful with members of the media who attempted to stay beside the stadium.

Members of the German government including Chancellor Angela Merkel were scheduled to attend the match to send a signal that Germany wouldn’t bow to terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Security was very tight, with police armed with machine guns surrounding the stadium and maintaining a very obvious presence in the city. Reporters arriving for the game were searched, while a sniffer dog was deployed to check their bags.

No reason was immediately given for the cancellation, but news agency dpa reported there had been a threat of an “impending attack that had to be taken seriously.”

There had also been a bomb threat about an hour earlier outside the stadium. Streets leading to it had been sealed off before the all-clear was given.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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