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Oxford Circus Station in London Reopens After Panicked Evacuation

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An armed police officer running down Oxford Street, a busy shopping street in central London, on Friday. Credit Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

LONDON — A report of gunfire led to the panicked evacuation of one of London’s most crowded subway stations on Friday afternoon, but the scare proved to be short-lived, a testament perhaps to nerves frayed by a year in which London has been targeted by several terrorist attacks.

The station was reopened within 90 minutes, as the police reported that they had “not located any trace of suspects, evidence of shots fired or casualties.”

Earlier, witnesses at Oxford Circus, thronged with shoppers on “Black Friday,” one of the busiest shopping days of the year, described a scene of panic, with people running from the station, some in tears. Shopping bags littered the sidewalk, and one woman was seen running down the street wearing just one shoe.

Mattias Nilsson, 45, said he was in town with friends for a Premier League soccer match and was near the station when he heard people shouting, “Shooting! Terrorists!”

“We just ran. Everyone started running,” he said. “This is making me nervous.”

Caroline Rigby, a 33-year-old journalist, said in an exchange of electronic messages that she was on Carnaby Street, near Oxford Street, “when a wave of hundreds of people started running towards me screaming and panicking.”

Source: NYT > World

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