US asks citizens to avoid traveling to Egypt
The US on Sunday asked its citizens to avoid travelling to Egypt and authorised voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees of its mission in the country as anti-government protests entered their sixth day.
A travel alert issued by the State Department, amidst growing protest by pro-democracy forces in the country, asked its nationals to leave Egypt as soon as possible.
"US citizens currently in Egypt should consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so," it said.
"Demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in injuries and extensive property damage," the travel alert said.
"While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, US citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security," it said.
It strongly urged its citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment.
"If caught unexpectedly near a demonstration, US citizens should obey instructions from police and leave the area as quickly as possible," it said.
US citizens resident in Egypt should monitor local news broadcasts and American visitors should ask tour guides and hotel officials about any planned demonstrations in the locations they plan to visit.
"US citizens should carry identification and a cell phone which works in Egypt," said the travel alert.
Mass protests against Hosni Mubarak entered a sixth day today, and continued unabated even after the President sacked his cabinet and appointed a Vice President.
The unrest has so far claimed 150 lives in major Egyptian cities, and looting and arson has been witnessed in some places.
Earlier in the day, the South Korean Embassy in Egypt also asked its citizens to leave the country because of the ongoing protests.