NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Caribbean state of Bahamas has issued a rare travel alert for US visitors following recent police killings of African American men, warning young male travelers to “exercise extreme caution” around US police officers.
“We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular, young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate,” read the Friday travel advisory, issued by the foreign ministry of the tiny island, which lies off the Florida coast.
The statement further advised citizens traveling to the US to avoid political rallies and other demonstrations during their visits.
“If there is any issue please allow consular offices for the Bahamas to deal with the issues. Do not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and avoid crowds,” it added.
The foreign ministry of the small tourist nation of only 300,000 people also explained that it issued the travel advisory since many Bahamians would be travelling to destinations, including the US, this independence holiday weekend.
The Bahamas, which won independence from Britain on July 10, 1973 but still remains a member of the Commonwealth, has consulates in New York, Washington DC, Miami and Atlanta, as well as honorary consuls in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Houston, according to the travel warning.
The development came as thousands of protesters staged rallies in numerous US cities on Friday to condemn the latest fatal shootings of African American men by police officers in the past week. On Tuesday 37-year-old Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in the southeastern city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot dead Wednesday by a police officer near St. Paul, Minnesota.
Friday’s rallies across the US followed a similar protest on Thursday night in Dallas, Texas, where an armed US army reservist murdered five white police officers and wounded seven others.