US Elections: MFAT issues Safe Travel warning of political violence

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a warning to New Zealanders in the United States to avoid areas where “political rallies or protest may occur” in the run up to next week’s Presidential Election.

The advisory which was updated on Friday morning told New Zealanders to avoid potential flashpoints between Tuesday’s election and the inauguration, which is to be held on 20 January 2021.

In a highly unusual advisory notice MFAT has warned New Zealanders in the states that a “strong police and/or National Guard presence can be expected at any further protests. Police measures have, at times, included the use of rubber bullets and/or pepper spray to disperse crowds.”

“Even protests or political rallies, which are intended to be peaceful, can result in violence,” warns the advisory.”The SafeTravel website to reflect various events, such as national Elections, happening around the world.”

The Ministry says that this advice comes in response to the “widespread protests” which have been happeningthroughout the country since early 2020.

The latest advice is in relation to unrest around the Black Lives Matter protests, said a spokesperson for the Ministry.

“MFAT regularly updates the SafeTravel website to reflect various events, such as national Elections, happening around the world.”

this revised advice for New Zealanders abroad.

This new advisory which was published on MFAT’s safetravel.govt.nz website is in addition to current advice. New Zealanders are currently advised against travel to the US at this time due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

“New Zealanders in the United States are advised to avoid areas where political rallies or protest activity may occur. We recommend monitoring local media to stay up to date with developments and following any instructions issued by the local authorities, including curfews.

“If you find yourself in an area of protest/political activity or civil unrest, you should leave the area if it is safe to do so or remain indoors until the situation improves.”

New Zealanders in the US in need of emergency or consular assistance are advised to contact their closes Consulate or Embassy, in either Washington, Los Angeles or Honolulu.

Citizens currently abroad are advised to register with the SafeTravel website.

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