LIBYA: U.S. issues travel warning, begins evacuating personnel

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The State Department issued a travel warning Monday advising all non-emergency U.S. personnel to leave Libya, where anti-government protesters have been gathering for days amid turmoil throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

‘The Department of State has ordered all embassy family members and non-emergency personnel to depart Libya,’ the State Department said in the travel warning, which said demonstrations, violence and looting were possible during the next several days.


‘U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution, avoid areas where demonstrations are likely to occur, such as government offices and public squares, and leave an area immediately if a demonstration begins. Demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between security forces and protesters, resulting in injuries and deaths,’ the travel warning said.

‘The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment, or worse. While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security.’ Some reports have already surfaced of U.S. citizens detained during protests in Libya.

Rahma, an activist in Tripoli, told the Al Jazeera satellite network Monday that her father, a U.S. citizen who joined protests at the Libyan capital’s main courthouse Sunday, had been detained and that she had not been able to make contact with him.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske