Dept Advises Against All Travel To Egypt

The Department of Foreign Affairs has today released a statement advising against all travel to the currently politically volatile Egypt.

The statement follows a number of protests in the influential north African country which has seen protestors calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who has maintained his grip on power in the region for nearly 30 years. He is accused of corruption, prolonging democratically stifling emergency laws to remain in power, enforcing strict controls on censorship and creating high unemployment, food price inflation, and low minimum wages.

It is estimated that some 105 protesters have so far been killed during the protests, while 13 individuals have been reported as missing. Those injured number 750 policemen and 1,500 protesters.

A considerable number of journalists have also been arrested by the military in the region.

Today's statement form the foreign office said: "Violent demonstrations have taken place in Egypt in recent days, particularly affecting Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. A nationwide curfew is in place from 1600 until 0800 local time. The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising against all travel to Egypt at this time."

The department advised travellers to exercise extreme caution and to avoid all demonstrations, and for those abroad in the country to consult hotel and tour organisers who should be in a position to advise of any demonstrations in the immediate area.

Cairo airport remains open, but with some disruptions and intending passengers are being asked to contact their airline before travelling to the airport.

The statement added: "Intending travellers should bring food and water with them as these may be in short supply. The Department and the Embassy are consulting with our European colleagues with a view to maintaining an up-to-date assessment of the situation and ensuring the security of Irish citizens."

There have also been disruptions to phone and internet communications and the department revealed they are problems with telephone communications to the landline in the Irish Embassy in Cairo.

This morning, protesters have flocked to Tahrir Square, in Cairo, after opponents to Hosni Mubarak's regime called for a general strike. Some estimates suggest there might be 100,000 people gathered in the capital's central plaza, while a a protest in the Cairo district of Shubra, about 2km from Tahrir Square, is also forming.

According to Middle Eastern news network Al Jazzera, Egyptian protesters have called for a massive demonstration on Tuesday, which could see 1 million people congregate in the capital Cairo in a bid to force out president Mubarak from power.


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