Thousands of people took to the streets in U.S. cities on Friday to protest the fatal police shootings of two black men earlier this week. USA TODAY
The government of the Bahamas is urging its citizens to be careful when traveling to U.S cities where there have been incidents of police shooting blacks.
In a strongly worded advisory issued Friday, the Caribbean nation wants residents, nearly 91% of whom are black, to be aware of potentially volatile situations if they visit the U.S. during the former British colony’s three-day holiday weekend. The Bahamas are celebrating their Independence Day.
“In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police,” according to the advisory issued Friday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, “Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”
The government recommends citizens contact consular offices if a situation arises, and to not participate in any political or other demonstrations “under any circumstances and avoid crowds.”
The bulletin does not mention any specific cities or particular incidents, such as the fatal shootings of black men by police this past week in Louisiana and Minnesota. A 25-year-old Army veteran who opened fire in Dallas late Thursday killing five police officers said he was “upset about Black Lives Matter” and “he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday.
Usually, it’s the United States government issuing travel advisories to citizens about trouble spots around the globe.
In 2016 alone, the State Department has issued 30 warnings — involving unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks — and five alerts, for more short-term events.
So it might seem odd to be the subject of a similar warning from the Bahamas, a U.S. ally comprised of 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida.
“Pay attention to the public notices and news announcements in the city that you are visiting,” the advisory urges. “Be safe, enjoy the holiday weekend and be sensible.”