BBC: Security alert closes Birmingham

"Birmingham city centre has been shut down and 20,000 people evacuated amid a security alert.

The Broad Street entertainment district and the city's Chinese quarter were cleared after intelligence warned of a "substantial threat" to the areas."

...."Assistant chief constable Stuart Hyde said police had received an intelligence warning of a "substantial threat".

"I don't believe that the incident that we are dealing with this evening is connected with the events of July 7 in London. I want to make that pretty clear," he said.

"We have evacuated an area of Birmingham city centre and we are asking people who are there at the moment to go home, to have the evening off, this will help us considerably."

This from UK blogger Tom Coates located in Birmingham:

"Birmingham City Centre is being evacuated. It's difficult to tell whether or not this is just over-cautious behaviour or if something specific is happening. It sounds a bit like a couple of packages have been found and some theatres have been evacuated from the centre. According to the guy on TV they're sending in a robot to look at the packages. As before I'm going to recommend people check the news if they're nervous about what's going on. At the moment no news network seems to think it's urgent enough to reschedule their weather or sports bulletins, so that might help keep it in perspective."

Let's hope.

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