Security Notice

January 30, 2017

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.  U.S. citizens should be aware of the following:

Episodic protest activity is anticipated to continue to take place – possibly with periodic spikes in intensity – throughout the next few weeks, predominantly in the restricted areas. (Map Link)

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 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.

Anniversary dates of significant events in Bahrain– including February14th –typically experience a higher volume of violent protest activity; protests can erupt at any time without warning.  (Note:  February 14 is the anniversary of the beginning of Bahrain’s 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests.  End Note.)  It is strongly recommended that you maintain constant awareness of your surroundings.  Violent protests pose a risk to anyone 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.

Motorists should plan for additional time to arrive at their destinations and be aware of alternate routes prior to commencing their travel.

For further information:

See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Worldwide Travel Alert, Travel  Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Bahrain Country Specific Information.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Contact the U.S. Embassy in Manama, located at Bldg 979, Road 3119, Block 331, Zinj, at (973) 1724-2700.  The afterhours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (973) 1724-2957, and the fax number is (973) 1725-6242.

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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