Political Protests and Personal Security (April 4, 2016)

In the interest of personal safety, U.S. citizens in Peru should avoid protests and large gatherings in the lead-up to the Presidential Elections on April 10, 2016.  Please also remember that it is illegal for foreign citizens to participate in political demonstrations or protests in Peru.

The U.S. Embassy has been informed of numerous public gatherings planned throughout Peru, which have potential to impact personal security.  While protests are often peaceful, a crowd’s mood could change or escalate without prior warning and become violent quickly.  April 5 marks the anniversary of former President Alberto Fujimori’s closing Congress and the courts in Peru. This date has seen protests throughout Peru in the past and, as this year’s anniversary falls within one week of Peru’s national elections, there is potential for public gatherings or demonstrations to become volatile.

Peruvian law generally prohibits the participation of foreigners/non-citizens in public protests or demonstrations. Such participation may be considered illegal even if the government of Peru is not the direct focus of the protest – and especially if the gathering takes an unexpectedly unruly or violent turn.  Penalties for protesting as a foreigner can vary from arrest to expulsion from the country, or even a ban on re-entering Peru.  Remember that you are subject to the laws of the country in which you are present.

You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Lima website or by following the Facebook page for American Citizen Services in Lima. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, by calling the regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Additional up-to-date information on conditions in specific areas within Peru is also available from iPeru at 01-574-8000 or iperu@promperu.gob.pe.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency.  Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.

For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida La Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-618-2000 during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or for after-hours emergencies; website here. The Consular Section is open for emergency services, including registration, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays. Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only.

For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,” please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Emergencies and Crisis link at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies/crisis-support.html.