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Travel Warning: Bahrain

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Bahrain yesterday. It reads as follows:

Bahrain

April 12, 2011

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the potential for ongoing political and civil unrest in Bahrain. We urge U.S. citizens to carefully consider their need to travel to Bahrain given the security and political climate described below. On March 17, 2011, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of its dependents and non-emergency employees from Bahrain; embassy dependents who left will not return to Bahrain until this condition changes. The Embassy is open and operating normally. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated March 22, 2011, to revise our advice to U.S. citizens considering travel to Bahrain and update information on the current situation.

All travelers to Bahrain face increased scrutiny from Bahraini authorities, and the Government of Bahrain has refused to allow some U.S. citizens permission to enter Bahrain. The airport remains open and operational, and is considered safe to transit through.

Although there is a returning semblance of normalcy in day-to-day life, the situation in Bahrain remains fluid, with active security operations continuing in various parts of the country. Spontaneous demonstrations continue to occur in some neighborhoods, and have resulted in violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators. Some of these clashes have resulted in serious injuries or death. There continues to be an armed military presence, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, on the streets of Manama and surrounding areas. Official government checkpoints have been established in some parts of the country, and these are manned by police and/or soldiers with lethal ammunition. There have been confirmed reports of gunfire in Manama and other areas of Bahrain.

With an increased security presence on the streets, many of the shops and businesses have reopened. Even though daily routines are returning to normal, there remains the possibility that spontaneous violence may erupt, or that travel in and around Bahrain could become dangerous with little notice. The U.S. Embassy restricts the travel of its employees during the night, and advises all U.S. citizens to do the same. We continue to urge U.S. citizens to avoid travel in specific parts of Bahrain. Please check our Demonstration Notices for the latest information.

While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. There are no indications that U.S. citizens are being threatened or targeted.

The U.S. Embassy in Manama can be reached at (973) 1724-2700; the after-hours emergency number is (973) 1724-2957; the fax number is (973) 1725-6242. Demonstration Notices can be found on the Embassy’s website. U.S. citizens requiring emergency consular assistance may contact the Department via our website by going to the “Middle East and North Africa Situation” site.

U.S. citizens in Bahrain are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

Updated information on travel and security in Bahrain may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Bahrain, as well as the Worldwide Caution.  You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which also contains other current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on facebook as well.

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Written by OSB

13/04/2011 at 17:39

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