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Major police operation underway near Montreal downtown

MONTREAL, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Police cordoned off an area near downtown Montreal on Friday amid media reports of a hostage situation and asked people to stay away.

“There is an ongoing police operation at the corner of Saint-Laurent and St-Viateur. We ask people to avoid the area,” the Montreal police department’s official Twitter account said on Friday afternoon, adding that they are “currently validating information and more details will follow.”

The center of the operation is the Montreal offices of French video game maker Ubisoft.

“We are aware of the situation and we are working closely with Montreal authorities,” Ubisoft spokeswoman Heather Steele said in an email to Reuters.

Aerial footage taken by the Quebec French-news chain LCN showed people gathered on the rooftop terrace of the building, along with heavy objects left at the door to block it.

A Ubisoft employee, Eric Pope, tweeted a screen grab from LCN’s footage of people gathered on a rooftop.

“This is insane. This is my team on the roof,” Pope wrote in the tweet. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a senior community developer at Ubisoft Montreal. He did not respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Allison Lampert and Christinne Muschi Montreal; editing by Jonathan Oatis Writing by Moira Warburton Editing by Denny Thomas Toronto and)