True Nomads Need No Maps / Travel Watch
World Watch Wire
US Dept of State Wire
This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on January 30, 2014, and will expire on May 22, 2014.
Based on an assessment of the security situation in Egypt, the Department of State lifted the ordered departure status for U.S. Embassy personnel on November 6, 2013. The State Department lifted ordered departure status for U.S. Consulate General Alexandria on December 16, 2013. However, Consulate General personnel are based out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo while required facility security upgrades are made.
Political unrest, which intensified after the July 2013 change of government, is likely to continue in the near future. Demonstrations have on numerous occasions resulted in violent clashes between security forces and protesters and between protesters supporting rival factions, some of which have resulted in deaths and injuries to those involved and in property damage. Participants have generally thrown rocks, and Molotov cocktails, with security forces responding with tear gas. However, police on occasion have used live ammunition as a crowd control measure and in response to live ammunition used by demonstrators against police. Most violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including Cairo and its suburbs, Alexandria, and Port Said. Gender-based violence in and around protest areas, where women have been the targets of sexual assault, poses an ongoing concern. There has been a recent and notable increase in the use of explosive devices to target police or other government institutions or individuals, which have resulted in casualties and damage to infrastructure. Additionally, police officers have frequently been the targets of drive-by shootings that endanger bystanders as well.
The security situation in North Sinai, including the major east-west coastal highway and the towns of El Arish, Shaykh Zuwayd, El Gorah and Rafah, has been marked by ongoing violent attacks on Egyptian security personnel and by continuing and frequently intense security operations against the sources of violence. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to North Sinai.
The security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, the Luxor-Aswan Nile cruise routes, and Red Sea/Southern Sinai resorts such as Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh remains calm. However, on February 16, a bomb was detonated on a tourist bus, killing four people in Taba, a Sinai resort near the Israeli border. U.S. citizens should remain alert to local security developments.
The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. On June 28, 2013, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria. U.S. citizens have also been arrested and deported for proximity to demonstrations and for taking pictures of demonstrations, police and military. Foreign journalists, credentialed or not, have also been increasingly targeted by both security forces and Egyptian citizens while attempting to cover demonstrations or gain access to restricted areas. Several have been detained for prolonged periods as a result of their activities, and others have been subjected to verbal or physical assault by citizens suspicious about the reason for their presence.
Because of the proximity of the U.S. Embassy to Tahrir Square and other demonstration locations in Cairo, the U.S. Embassy has sometimes been closed to the public on short notice due to violent protests. The Embassy will notify U.S. citizens as quickly as possible of any closing and the types of emergency consular services that will be available. Should security forces block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, U.S. citizens should contact the American Citizens Services section before attempting to come to the U.S. Embassy during that time. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to carry identification and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Egypt.
The U.S. Embassy restricts its employees and their family members from traveling to specific areas listed in the Country Specific Information Sheet, and advises all U.S. citizens to do the same. Depending on the current security situation, the U.S. Embassy may also restrict the movements of its employees and their families within Cairo itself. We continue to urge U.S. citizens to stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Please check our Country Specific Information Sheet for further security guidance. Remain alert to local security developments and be vigilant regarding your personal security; know the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and the U.S. Embassy.
Unless otherwise indicated in a public announcement, the U.S. Embassy is open for all routine American Citizens Services by appointment. U.S. citizens needing emergency assistance do not need an appointment. Visit the Embassy website to check the latest changes to Embassy hours or services. U.S. citizens with routine phone inquiries may call the Embassy's American Citizens Services section at 2797-2301, Sunday to Thursday from 9:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 2797-3300. The U.S. Embassy is closed on U.S. federal holidays. U.S. citizens in Egypt are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Internet website where the Worldwide Caution, Country Specific Information for Egypt, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Embassy in Egypt is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo. For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 2797-3300.
General voting for national elections took place on February 2, but the electoral process remains incomplete. Demonstrations, primarily in the greater Bangkok area and occasionally elsewhere in Thailand, are continuing, and there have been regular incidents of violence. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings. Some protest sites are located near tourist attractions and popular shopping malls, which at times have closed or shortened business hours unexpectedly. Protests may occur in other areas with little or no prior notice. This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on January 19, 2014, and will expire on May 19, 2014.
Political demonstrations in Thailand have taken place regularly since early November 2013. Most protest activity has occurred in the Bangkok area, but on occasion there have been smaller demonstrations in other areas, including Chiang Mai. Although many protest activities have been peaceful, violent incidents involving guns and explosive devices have occurred at or near protest sites. Some have resulted in injury or death. In Bangkok, protests have been mobile throughout the city, with large numbers of demonstrators at times swelling quickly and closing major roads and intersections. The majority of the demonstrations have occurred in the vicinity of Thai government facilities and at major intersections including Lumpini Park, Sala Daeng, Asoke, Ratchaprasong, Pathumwan, and at the Government Center at Chaengwattana. In January 2014, protestors took control of these intersections, blocking most vehicular traffic, and occasionally redirecting pedestrian traffic. These sites have drawn large crowds, especially in evenings and on weekends. There is often reduced or no police presence at protest sites, where protest “guards” frequently control access.
On January 22, the Royal Thai Government commenced a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and several surrounding provinces. The emergency decree provides the government additional authorities to deal with security challenges, such as the ability to impose curfews, ban certain assemblies, detain suspects without charge, and restrict information. The government has signaled its intention to take legal measures against some non-Thai citizens who have participated in protest activities.
U.S. citizens are cautioned that even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid protest sites, demonstrations, and large gatherings. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports. You should allow extra time when travelling throughout the city or to/from airports. Consider using public transportation.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Thailand are strongly advised to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in case of an emergency.
Unless otherwise indicated in a public announcement, the U.S. Embassy is open for all routine American Citizens Services by appointment. U.S. citizens needing emergency assistance do not need an appointment. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok, and can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Embassy's after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.
The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai, located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai, is also open unless otherwise indicated. The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling 66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at email@example.com. The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-81-881-1878. You can also follow the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok's American Citizen Services Unit on Twitter for further updates.
Current information on safety and security can also be obtained on travel.state.gov or by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Thailand. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and facebook as well.
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