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Security Alert: Manama (Bahrain), Anniversary Date Security

Near East > Bahrain

Spontaneous demonstrations, and at times violent anti-government activity, continue to take place in Bahrain, particularly at night and in restricted areas. This unrest can be in response to local developments, calls for protests, or regional events. American citizens should be aware of the following:

Anniversary dates of significant events in Bahrain – including February 14th – typically experience a higher volume of violent protest activity; protests could erupt at any time without warning throughout the month of February. It is strongly recommended that you maintain constant awareness of your surroundings. Violent protests pose a risk to American citizens who may inadvertently find themselves in the vicinity of an active protest. If you encounter a large public gathering or demonstration, depart the area immediately and notify police.

Episodic protest activity will likely continue to take place – possibly with periodic spikes in intensity – throughout the next few weeks, predominantly in the previously identified “red zones.” These activities may include increased protests, attempts to disrupt traffic, protests near economic centers, tire fires, throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails, and the isolated use of improvised explosive devices and homemade weapons. Typically these clashes take place between police forces and the protesters. These activities, though usually centralized in the restricted areas, may also take place outside of the restricted areas.   In addition to protest activity, some violent extremists have directly targeted the Bahraini police; two police officers have been killed in the past eight weeks.

There have been no direct attacks on U.S. citizens to date, nor have Americans been targeted. Nonetheless, we recommend that you continually exercise the appropriate level of security awareness regarding this unrest. As noted above, much of this activity is spontaneous, develops quickly, and can deteriorate rapidly from throwing stones to throwing Molotov cocktails or using burning debris to block roads. Such actions are likely to spark forceful responses by government security forces, including crowd control measures, such as use of tear gas, stun grenades, and, in some instances, shotguns. Violent clashes between security forces and protesters can make travel in and around Bahrain dangerous without advance warning. The Ministry of Interior maintains official checkpoints in certain areas.

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