Evacuation, cancellations: Safety takes precedence | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 15.05.2015
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Evacuation, cancellations: Safety takes precedence

Police have launched an investigation after an anonymous bomb threat prompted the cancellation of the season finale of "Germany's Next Topmodel." No dangerous items were found in a sweep of the evacuated Mannheim arena.

German police said on Friday that they had opened an investigation into an unidentified female who called in a bomb threat during the live finale of the Germany's Next Topmodel (GNT) competition.

Broadcaster ProSieben stopped the reality TV show based on Tyra Banks' "America's Next Top Model." Thousands of people were evacuated from the SAP Arena in the southwestern German city of Mannheim, where German model Heidi Klum was presenting the show live on Thursday.

More than 100 police officers searched the premises, along with a sniffer dog, for signs of explosives. They found a suspect suitcase near a changing room, but it turned out to contain nothing dangerous. No other suspicious objects were found and the all-clear was given in the early morning hours.

Dieter Klumpp, a police spokesman in Mannheim, told DW that the evaluation of threats and calls is always difficult, but said police always take them seriously. Phoned-in threats are relatively rare, he said.

He acknowledged that no public event could carry a cast-iron guarantee of safety: "When you're at a huge event, there's always some risk involved."

Heidi Klum, who has hosted GNT since 2006, tweeted: "Dear GNT fans, unfortunately the evening didn't end the way I wanted! Safety comes first!"

Germany's Bild daily reported on its website that Klum and the show's jury had been quickly whisked to an undisclosed location outside the arena.

Germany's Next Topmodel is under fire from groups saying it conveys unrealistic ideals of beauty to teenage viewers. German regional media regulator mabb plans to initiate an investigation of the show's effect on teenagers following a complaint from activist group PinkStinks.

Precautionary measures

It's not the first time a live event has been canceled in Germany due to security considerations.

In fact, German police have already canceled popular public events at short notice over fears of terrorist attacks three times this year.

In January, Dresden's police called off an anti-Islamist PEGIDA demonstration because of a "concrete threat against a member" of the organizing body. The police chief on Sunday issued a blanket ban on all demonstrations in the city that day, citing the threat of an attack.

In February, police in the northern German city of Braunschweig canceled the annual carnival procession at the very last minute over fears of a terrorist attack.

Police car, bike riders

Some athletes were not to be deterred by the cancellation, and hit the streets

Police said they had received the information from "reliable state security sources" and that "a concrete danger existed from an attack with an Islamist background."

Fear of Boston Marathon-style attack

On May 1, a major bicycle race through Frankfurt was canceled just hours before it was scheduled to start, again on safety grounds. The traditional 200-kilometer (124-mile) race typically attracts large crowds. The decision came as cyclists were preparing for the event, and followed the arrest of two suspects - police had found an array of weaponry in their apartment.

Earlier, police had seized a homemade pipe bomb during a raid in a town north of the country's financial hub. Officials said they had thwarted a terrorist attack.

The cancellation brought memories of the 2013 bomb attack on the Boston Marathon, where three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two pressure cooker bombs packed with shrapnel exploded near the crowded finish line.

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