US warns citizens to 'remain alert' as tensions rise in Egypt

Ahram Online, Thursday 14 Jun 2012

American embassy issues online security warning Tuesday predicting violence following High Constitutional Court contentious verdict and next week's presidential run-offs

Supreme Constitutional Court
A protester covers his mouth with tape outside the Supreme Constitutional Court, where a decision is expected on the validity of the law passed by the Islamist-led parliament that sought to bar Ahmed Shafik, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, from the vote pitting him against the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsy (Photo: REuters)

The US Embassy on Tuesday urged American citizens in Egypt to "remain alert…review their personal security plans" and avoid protest spaces like Tahrir Square, due to Thursday's High Constitutional Court verdict and the upcoming presidential election run-offs on 16 – 17 June. The security message published on its official website provided contact information and numbers to help US nationals if the situation in Egypt were to turn "violent".

The embassy explained to its citizens that the constitutional court was due to issue a ruling that could dissolve the current Parliament and invalidate the presidential candidacy of former regime figure Ahmed Shafiq and that "any decision may lead to protests."

The message continued that the verdicts may further raise the levels of tension as Egypt heads to the polls for next week's presidential run-offs.

 It advised its citizens to stay away from common assembly areas for political protests, in particular Tahrir Square in Cairo and the Al-Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria, as well as to "pay particular attention to large gatherings and travel routes which may elevate exposure to such occurrences."

The security statement warned that demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn violent and consequently urged Americans to monitor local Egyptian news reports and plan their activities accordingly. It also contained links to the US Department of State, travel alerts, country specific information as well contact numbers and information to aid citizens if clashes erupted. 

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