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Protests & Demonstrations

Protests and Demonstrations

Protests can be the result of a multitude of issues that arise – from elections, to student tuition increases, to public transportation concerns. It is important to understand, while most of these demonstrations remain peaceful, some result in vandalism, assaults and sometimes causalities. It is important to avoid areas where protests and demonstrations are taking place, not only for your personal safety, but the safety of others.

Travel Advice

  • Public protests and demonstrations are common abroad, but they can be very dangerous. Even a peaceful protest or demonstration can become violent without warning. Students should never participate in a public demonstration or protest. If these events occur during your program, avoid the area.
  • Vacate an area immediately at the first sign that demonstrators or security force personnel are beginning to gather. In the event of violence, return to your accommodation or another secure location as soon as it is safe to do so, and stand fast until the situation normalizes.
  • Avoid potential flashpoint locations, including political rallies where localized violence is likely; maintain a network of local contacts and monitor for details on upcoming rallies and associated developments.
  • Avoid the vicinity of government buildings (parliament buildings and known likely protest locations during periods of unrest/tensions).
  • Do not attempt to cross roadblocks and reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out.
  • Do not watch or take photographs of rallies and demonstrations. Maintain a low profile during the election period and quickly but calmly vacate an area at the first sign that demonstrators and/or security force personnel are gathering.
  • Closely monitor any developments, using local sources and International SOS travel security alerts to remain abreast of developments.
Political protests are the most common forms of demonstrations. Travelers should be cognizant of any elections occurring in the destination country. Upcoming elections include Central African Republic, Uganda, Niger, Bolivia, and Jamaica.  Haiti has recently appointed a provisional president resulting in demonstrations.