At 3.30pm on Thursday, police concluded their investigation about a possible bomb threat that included Manly and the area around Circular Quay as well as the Sydney Opera House.
According to 9news, the police presence and subsequent investigation was sparked by threatening posts made on social media this morning. Both the Manly Wharf area and the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House were cordoned off for hours while officials investigated the threat.
There were patrolling police boats in the area including officers turning pedestrians and cyclists away from the vicinity. Temporary fences were built to further keep pedestrians off the premises. Police later confirmed that the operations were linked; all stemming from the same threat.
“Following information on social media, police conducted an operation in the vicinity of the Opera House and Manly as a precautionary measure,” NSW Police said in a statement.”
Because of the incident, concerts scheduled for Thursday afternoon and evening were all cancelled. Many of the ferry services stopping at Manly or Circular Quay were either cancelled, suspended or rerouted. It was understood that the threat was made against the Manly Ferry service. The usually bustling tourist hub was “eerily quiet,” according to a 9news reporter.
Commerce in the area was also brought to a standstill. One tour guide admitted she was in the middle of showing tourists around the Opera House when police arrived.
“My tour was stopped mid tour… now I can’t get back in,” she told AAP.
The many bars and restaurants surrounding the iconic building were also closed. The staff of Opera Bar were allegedly asked to leave but not given an explanation. Shortly afterwards, all employees were moved outside and away from the building.
A NSW Police spokesman said that police were taking every precaution after an online threat about an object that had been left inside the building was received .
“It’s a search for an object. There was a threat and we have to take it seriously,” the spokesman said.
However, police seemed to relax after their search yielded nothing. The barriers were later removed and the Opera House’s Bennelong Restaurant continued to take bookings for Thursday night. The receptionist was heard saying: “It’s business as usual.”