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Panama Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

May 10, 2001

A series of increasingly violent demonstrations and protest marches have taken place in Panama City since May 1. The demonstrations have coalesced around an increase in municipal bus fares, the first since 1973. Demonstrators, including university and high school students, labor unions, and teachers, have staged rallies at Panama City landmarks and public parks. Panamanian riot police appear to have used restraint overall in dispersing the protesters, but police have been involved in several shootings arising from looting and unrest incidental to the protests. Demonstrators have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks, blocked main thoroughfares, damaged vehicles and wounded police and bystanders on several occasions. A major protest march through downtown Panama City on May 9, which ended at the Presidential Palace, erupted into violence, looting, and vandalism at several downtown locations.

While these events have not specifically targeted American citizens, there have been some expressions of anti-American sentiment by protestors, and normal business activities have been disrupted. Due to the unpredictable nature of these demonstrations and the potential for continued violence, American citizens resident in and visiting Panama City should exercise caution, avoid demonstrations and disturbances, and monitor news broadcasts closely.

For further information on travel to Panama, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

This Public Announcement expires on June 30, 2001.

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