The U.S. Embassy is monitoring recent social media reports of planned protests and demonstrations in the Oromia region this coming weekend of August 6-7, 2016. The disseminated messages call for protests at all district and zonal level capitals across Oromia.
The U.S. Embassy is restricting all personal travel by U.S. Chief of Mission employees in Oromia through August 7, 2016. The U.S. Embassy anticipates that communications such as cellphone and internet could be disabled. Travelers should anticipate traffic restrictions on main roads outside of major cities in Oromia due to road closures and gatherings, and an increased presence of federal police.
The U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. Citizens traveling within the region to review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; avoid large gatherings and demonstrations and monitor local news stations for updates. We also advise everyone to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.
In the Oromia region, numerous protests have materialized with little to no prior knowledge. Regardless of where U.S. Citizens are traveling to, everyone should increase their level of situational awareness, continuously assess their surroundings, and evaluate their personal level of safety and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings. Even demonstrations that begin as peaceful have the potential to turn violent. Individuals that encounter a demonstration while traveling should do the following:
- Immediately remove yourself from the situation
- Do not photograph the demonstration
- If your hotel is at a safe distance from the protest, proceed to your hotel and shelter-in-place
- Stay in your room or in a safe place
- Contact and provide updates to your family and friends
- While in your hotel do not blog about the protest
- If you encounter a protest while driving, turn around and do not enter the protest
U.S. Citizens with specific security related questions or concerns should contact the American Citizen Service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.