Berne : Police in Switzerland's capital, Berne on Tuesday (local time) said that they have evacuated Parliament and related offices after a man in a bulletproof vest was arrested near one of its entrances with explosives.
"The man who was stopped, who, according to current knowledge, drove to the Bundesplatz by car and went from there to the Bundeshaus, is being provisionally arrested. Medical investigations into his physical and mental condition are in progress," read the Berne Police statement. Early on Tuesday afternoon, February 14, 2023, employees of the Federal Security Service found a man at the southern entrance to the Federal Palace who appeared suspicious because of his appearance - he was wearing, among other things, a protective vest and a gun holster.
"During a subsequent personal check, a rapid test turned out positive for explosives. In addition, initial investigations revealed that a car that was on Bundesplatz was assigned to the man. Based on these findings, the Bern canton police were informed at around 2:05 pm and called out. The man was handed over to the deployed emergency services and subsequently taken to a station, added the statement.
Based on the knowledge already available at that time, it could not be ruled out that there were explosives in the car on the Bundesplatz and that the vehicle posed a specific risk.
As a result, extensive security measures were implemented immediately. The Bundesplatz and numerous surrounding streets were completely cordoned off.
Various buildings, including the parliament building and other parts of the Federal Palace, were evacuated.
"Several services of the Bern canton police, including specialists from the fire and explosion department, were called in - especially to examine the car. Drones and a service dog were also used as part of the police work. The investigations finally revealed that the car posed no danger. All measures were lifted around 7:00 p.m," read the statement.
The Federal Prosecutor's Office (BA), which is responsible for explosives-related offences, is continuing the criminal investigation together with fedpol, the Bern cantonal police and the Valais cantonal police.