June 30, 2023

US, UK warn citizens to avoid French cities over protests

US, UK warn citizens to avoid French cities over protests

The United States and the United Kingdom have warned their respective citizens to avoid certain cities in France over a series of protests plaguing the country.

Civil unrest broke out in some parts of France following the shooting of a French teenager by a police officer on Tuesday.

This has forced the authorities in the US and the UK to issue alerts regarding travel to France, according to The Local newspaper.

Both governments have issued alerts warning travellers about ongoing protests across much of France, after the death of a 17-year-old French boy at the hands of police.

On Friday, the United Kingdom’s foreign ministry warned that “since June 27th, riots have taken place across France. Locations and timing of riots are unpredictable. You should monitor the media, avoid areas where riots are taking place”.

The day earlier, the United States’ Embassy in France put out a similar alert, cautioning travellers about “potentially violent protests”.

Neither country advised against travel to France, but the US Embassy warned, “US citizens should avoid mass gatherings and areas of significant police activity as they can turn violent and result in clashes”.

Despite the embassy’s alert, the US government has not changed the official travel advisory, which has stood at “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution” since October 2022 due to “terrorism and civil unrest”.

On Thursday evening, in a third night of riots across the French territory, around 40,000 security forces were deployed and 875 people were arrested overnight, according to France’s interior ministry.

Some areas, such as Clamart, a suburb southwest of Paris, have declared nightly curfews. Meanwhile, public bus and tram services in the capital region will stop at 9 pm “until further notice”.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Friday that the government was considering “all options” to restore order, including declaring a state of emergency.