Albanian Socialist Party Demonstration, notices from US Embassy

January 27, 2011 NOA - The Embassy has learned that the Socialist Party (SP) has applied for a permit from the Albanian State Police to hold a large, public demonstration in the city of Tirana on Friday, January 28, 2011.

The Embassy does not have specific information on the location or staging areas for the proposed demonstrations, but media reports indicate demonstrators may gather in 10 locations across the city and march through the main streets.

Past demonstrations have affected all major incoming arteries to the city and frequently center around the Parliament, the office of the Prime Minister and Tirana’s main Deshmoret e Kombit boulevard. A demonstration on January 21, 2011 was violent and resulted in the death of three persons and injuries to many others, including to Albanian State Police. The Embassy will be closed on Friday, January 28 and is advising personnel to limit all unnecessary travel during protests.

Although large, peaceful demonstrations in Tirana have occurred frequently in the recent past, last week’s demonstration did result in violence. We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn violent and unpredictable. You should avoid them if at all possible. Demonstrations in one city have the potential to lead to additional public rallies or demonstrations in other locations around the country. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what the local news media reports regarding all possible public rallies or demonstrations. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise strong caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.

U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy's website and the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found.

The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review "A Safe Trip Abroad," which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from elsewhere.

We encourage U.S. citizens living or traveling in Albania to enroll with the U.S. Embassy in Tirana through the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) website to obtain updated information on travel and security within Albania. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Tirana is located at Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103, Tel: +355-(0)4-224-7285; Fax: +355-(0)4-237-4957; E-mail:ACSTirana@state.gov.

Alsoo, as of January 26, 2011, the U.S. Embassy Tirana American Citizen Services will improve its warden message information regarding demonstrations taking place in Albania. Information about routine demonstrations will be posted on the U.S. Embassy Tirana’s website, under the heading “Demonstration Notices.” Please monitor our website regularly for information about demonstration activities in Albania. Please note that the embassy will continue to issue warden messages, not relating to routine demonstrations, through the regular method.