Senegal Elections - Travel Alert
The US Department of State has issued an alert to its citizens warning of the potential for civil unrest and violence in Senegal prior to and directly following the upcoming Presidential elections scheduled for February 26, 2012.
State Department Alert
The alert says:
"Political demonstrations in June of 2011 were particularly violent, and as certain dates in the election cycle (listed below) come to pass, the potential for similar confrontations exists. Please note the U.S. Embassy in Dakar has requested that all non-essential travel to Senegal by U.S. officials be deferred from January 16 through March 2, 2012. This Travel Alert expires March 2, 2012.
U.S. citizens should be aware of certain dates in the election cycle as these may be focal points for demonstrations. From December 26 through January 26, candidates may file their papers to run in the election. January 27 is the date by which Senegal's Constitutional Council must rule on a candidates' eligibility and publish a final candidates list. February 6 is the official start of the campaign period, and February 26 is the scheduled date for the first round of voting. If a candidate does not win more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, a second round of voting will occur on March 18.
U.S. citizens planning to travel to Senegal during and immediately following the elections should monitor local news, assess local conditions and travel routes, and consult Embassy Dakar's website for Emergency Messages to U.S. Citizens.
For U.S. citizens residing in Senegal, the U.S. Embassy recommends that you take this opportunity to ensure that passports for all family members are up to date. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a photocopy of their passports with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and citizenship is readily available. If detained or arrested, U.S. citizens should ask to be allowed to contact the U.S. Embassy.
The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid demonstrations, political rallies, and spontaneous gatherings in Senegal. While most demonstrations in Senegal are non-violent, the potential for violence exists, particularly from now until the first round of the scheduled Presidential elections. We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence without much advance warning. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
You can stay in touch and receive Embassy updates by checking the U.S. Embassy Dakar website. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained 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). You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the currentWorldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler i-Phone App to have travel information at your fingertips.
If you are going to live in or travel to Senegal, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date. It is important during enrollment or updating of information to include your current phone number and current email address where you can be reached in case of an emergency.
The U.S. Embassy in Dakar is located on at Avenue Jean XXIII, Dakar; the mailing address is B.P. 49, Dakar, Senegal. If you have questions or concerns about safety or related issues, you are encouraged to contact the consular section at the Embassy by sending an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Embassy telephone number is (221) 33-829-2100. For After Hours Emergency, please call Tel: (221) 33-829-2209 and ask to speak to the duty officer."
Author: Phil Sylvester
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