U.S. Department of State upgrades travel alert to travel warning
U.S. citizen, Andrew Pochter, was killed in knife attack June 28
UK urges avoiding demonstrations and large gatherings
The U.S. State Department and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have urged citizens to cancel travel plans to or within Egypt, amid ongoing protests and renewed violence in the country.
Demonstrators have clashed with police and rival demonstrators in Bani Suef, south of Cairo, Asuit and Alexandria following the first anniversary of President Mohamed Morsy’s assumption of office.
Protests have taken place in those cities as well as Cairo, Suez, Sharqia, El Monofia and Gharbiya, the state-run Ahram news agency said.
The demonstrations are “likely to continue in the near future,” the U.S. travel warning said.
At least 16 people have been killed and 780 injured during clashes on Sunday and Monday, according to officials.
There have also been reports of numerous sexual assaults during the protests.
Protestors are demanding the resignation of President Mohamed Morsy from office. He came into power one year ago as the country’s first democratically elected leader.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai and against all but essential travel to the Governorate of South Sinai, excepting some resort and tourism areas.
The United States has also evacuated various “non-emergency employees and family members” from the country.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has urged a “high degree of caution in Egypt due to the risk of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack.”
It advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, including the Taba-Suez Road, and suggests reconsideration of travel plans to the Governorate of South Sinai (except for Sharm el Sheikh).
Similar warnings have followed from Canada. The Netherlands has been advising its citizens to “consider taking the initiative to leave the country” since February while other governments such as France, Germany and New Zealand continue to urge travelers to Egypt to avoid large crowds and maintain vigilance.
While the protests are directed at internal politics, foreigners have occasionally been caught up in the violence.
U.S citizen Andrew Pochter, 21, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was fatally stabbed while filming protests in Alexandria on June 28.
Another U.S. citizen was attacked with a knife outside the U.S. Embassy on May 9.
Governments advise avoiding all demonstrations and large gatherings.
The World Economic Forum has declared Egypt one of the most dangerous places on earth after its recent troubles, riskier than countries such as Yemen and Pakistan.