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Man surrenders to Polish police after incident that closed Warsaw square

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Police officers work near a suspected bomb threat site on Pilsudski Square, in Warsaw, Poland October 14, 2023. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

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WARSAW (Reuters) -Polish police negotiators persuaded a man to come down from a monument in a central Warsaw square, a spokesperson said, putting an end to an incident that had seen part of the capital cordoned off amid reports of a bomb threat.

Private broadcaster Polsat News reported that at around 1130 GMT the man surrendered to police. Its footage showed him climbing down from the monument, taking off his jacket and walking away with his hands in the air.

Police spokesperson Sylwester Marczak told reporters officers had seen the man climbing onto the Smolensk monument at around 0800 GMT.

“They approached him but then there was a very worrying statement which indicated that there was a very real danger for people on the square,” he said, adding that police were now examining his backpack using an x-ray to make sure it was safe.

The incident came a day before Poland holds a high-stakes parliamentary election.

A police officer at the scene had told a Reuters reporter: “No entrance, there is a bomb,” but Marczak. quoted by the state-run PAP news agency, did not confirm the reports that the man was threatening to blow himself up.

Footage posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, had showed a man standing on top of the Smolensk monument, which commemorates the victims of a 2010 air disaster that killed 96 people including President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria.

PAP said several hundred officers were involved in an operation around the square. A Reuters video journalist saw armed officers arriving nearby.

A guest at the Sofitel hotel, which faces the square, said they had been told to only leave the building by the back exit.

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