Bomb scare at France elections: French consulate in New York evacuated amid voting

Namrata Tripathi
US police

French consulate on New york was briefly evacuated on Saturday, April 22, following a bomb threat, as thousands of expatriates headed for the building to cast ballots for France's presidential elections.

Consul General Anne-Claire Legendre said a suspicious vehicle outside the institution prompted the police to evacuate the building on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park, according to AFP reports.

"After the Champs Elysees attack, the New York Police Department was told to be especially vigilant," Legendre said.

Reports state that dozens of people who were earlier inside the building to vote at around 5 pm (2100 GMT), had to wait outside on the sidewalk as the authorities inspected the vehicle.

After some time, the consulate press officer Amelie Geoffrey announced that the situation had returned to normal, and the expats could come inside the consulate and vote.

Around 28,500 French citizens living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut registered to vote at the French consulate on Saturday. 

Security was tightened at all polling booths across the US, following the terror attack on Thursday at Paris' famed Champs Elysees avenue, in which one police officer was killed and three others were injured. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

There are a total of 119,773 French voters who are registered in the United States, including 11,242 in Washington.

According to the French embassy in Washington, the number of voters in this elections are 30 percent more than that of the first round of the last presidential elections in 2012. A total of 69 polling booths opened for French expats across the US.

This year's French presidential elections are one of the closest in decades, which would decide if France will also follow the global nationalistic wave, like Britain and the United States.

Many in the French polls are voting to avert France from falling for the anti-immigrant and nationalistic agenda of some of the presidential candidates like the Far-Right leader of the National Front party, Marine Le Pen.


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