Friday, January 3, 2014

Demonstrations in Panama alert

Email from the U.S. Embassy in Panama, this is the 50th anniversary of the flag incident that ultimately resulted in the U.S. giving the Panama Canal Zone back to Panama on Dec 31, 1999.:

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations in Clayton, Panama
United States Embassy Panama 
Security Message for U.S. Citizens:  Demonstrations in Clayton, Panama 
3 January 2014 
The U.S. Embassy in Panama City informs U.S. citizens that FRENADESO (FRENTE NACIONAL POR LA DEFENSA DE LOS DERECHOS ECONOMICOS Y SOCIALES PANAMÁ) is planning a march in Clayton today, January 3, 2014.  The march is scheduled to begin at the traffic circle where Clayton and Albrook intersect at approximately 4:00 p.m. and proceed to the U.S. Embassy where the marchers plan to hold a demonstration. 
The march is not expected to turn violent.  However, it is expected to impede traffic flow both through the area and especially in and out of the Embassy. U.S. Citizens should plan their travel accordingly and avoid all confrontations.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. 
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Panama enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov.  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 
Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, (including the Travel Warning for Panama if appropriate), Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Panama.  For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website. 
Contact the U.S. embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 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).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips. 
The U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Panama is located at 783 Avenida Denetrio B. Lakas, Clayton, Panama and is open Mon-Thu, 08:00 am-12:30 pm, 1:30 pm-3:00 pm and Friday 08:00 am – 10:00 am.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is 317-5000.

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