Tourists in the Red Sea region advised to stay


As Egyptian security forces ready themselves for an increase in protests in cities across the country after Friday prayers today, Poland’s Foreign Ministry says that tourists are not endangered and the government is not advising them to return home. Egyptian State TV said a curfew is imposed from 6:00 pm to 7:00 am local time.

People have died in protests which began on Tuesday as demonstrations spread across parts of North Africa following the so-called Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia earlier this month.

Polish foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki has warned the 6,500 Polish package holiday makers currently in Egypt to stay away from areas where protests may be staged today, as the government cracks down on the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups and blocks text-messaging and web site access.

Bosacki says that the ministry has contacted all Polish travel bureaus in Egypt.

“We are also informing them which places organised tourist groups should avoid in Cairo and in other cities, so as not to be accidentally drawn into any demonstrations or violence,” Bosacki said.

Magdalena Plutecka-Dydoń, a representative of one of the major tour operators organizing trips to Egypt, ensures that her agency is constantly monitoring the situation.

She told Polish Radio that tourists staying on the Red Sea coast have nothing to fear. However protests were also reported in Suez, a port on the Red Sea east of Cairo, and in the Nile Delta cities of Mansoura and Sharqiya, witnesses said.
Plutecka-Dido said that holidaying in Egypt is currently safer than in Tunisia, as the resorts are located in special tourist enclaves monitored by the military.

Tourists are being advised to avoid organized trips to bazaars, and other shopping areas in cities, however.

The current protests in Egypt are the most serious in the entire period of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, who returned to Egypt from exile abroad on Thursday, has called for what is seen as the authoritarian President Mubarak to resign and said he would join the protests on Friday.

The protestors are emboldened by the toppling of the presidential regime in Tunisia in January