Saturday, March 1, 2008:
A pro-Serbian group has been granted permission to hold a demonstration in downtown Bern on Saturday, March 1 2008 between the hours of 1500 and 1700. The demonstration will take place on the Bundesplatz and is expected to involve up to 2000 demonstrators. The group has not been given permission to leave the Bundesplatz or to hold a march. The group is protesting the government of Switzerland's recent decision to recognize Kosovo's independence. Several demonstrations have been held by pro-Serbian groups throughout Europe in the last week and some have turned violent resulting in injuries to police officers and protesters. The possibility exists for the group to focus its attention on U.S. interests. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that American citizens avoid the area near the Bundesplatz on Saturday afternoon and early evening. A large police presence is expected and if the situation deteriorates, the police will use rubber bullets and teargas against the demonstrators.
Although the demonstration is not directed at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. interests, pro-Serbian groups view the United States Government as a leading supporter of Kosovo's independence. We wish to remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. If you encounter any problems, the police can be reached at
For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov/ <http://travel.state.gov/> , where the current Worldwide Caution and Consular Information Sheet for Switzerland and Liechtenstein can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays)
The U.S. Embassy in Bern can be reached at 031-357-7011; the after hours emergency number is 031-357-7777; the fax number is 031-357-7320. The Embassy's web site, which includes consular information and the most recent messages to the American community, is at http://bern.usembassy.gov/. <http://bern.usembassy.gov/>
Saturday, March 1, 2008
My first warning from the US embassy
I had heard that the US embassy will send out warnings if needed, but this is the first one I have seen. I'll have to check the web tomorrow (no paper on Sunday-at least the one we subscribe too).