Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Martyr’s Day – Update

UPDATED January 8, 2013 @ 5:30 PM

As an update to the previously released message regarding a Martyrs’ Day march, the U.S. Embassy has learned that the march has been rescheduled for Wednesday, January 9, at 1600 hours from Ancon Hill to the memorial at the old Balboa High School. A ceremony will also reportedly take place at 0900 at the memorial. Though there are no indications that the events will be anything but peaceful, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas.

This is a update from the earlier Security Message sent concerning the Martyrs’ Day March that will take place on Monday, January 7, 2013 in Panama City. We have learned that the march will conclude at the old Balboa High School near the Panama Canal Administration Building rather than the Balboa Academy location in Ciudad Saber. We have also been advised that FRENADESCO, SUNTRACS, and university students are scheduled to participate, but no credible information that the event will continue to be other than peaceful has been received. However, we continue to advise U.S. citizens in the area of the march and ceremony to use due caution, and to consider avoiding the affected areas.

Martyrs’ Day is a Panamanian holiday which commemorates the January 9, 1964 riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone. The incident is considered to be a significant factor in the U.S. decision to transfer control of the Canal Zone to Panama through the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

The U.S. Embassy in Panama City advises all U.S. citizens in Panama that Martyrs’ Day (Mourning Day) will be observed this year on Monday, January 7, 2013. There is a planned march scheduled for 10:00 am that will begin at the Instituto Nacional and conclude at the Balboa Academy in Ciudad del Saber. The ceremony will include speeches by some Panamanian survivors of the incident and the mother of one of the Panamanians who was killed. The Embassy has received no credible information of possible demonstrations, marches or related activities and has no information that the planned march will be violent or otherwise disruptive. However, even events planned as peaceful may evolve into demonstrations, including violence. We advise U.S. citizens in the area of the march and ceremony to use due caution, and to consider avoiding the affected areas.
For updated information on the security situation in Panama, please contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at (011)-507-317-5030. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located in Clayton, Building 783, in the Clayton section of Panama. The Embassy web site is http://panama.usembassy.gov/ and e-mails should be addressed to Panama-ACS@state.gov. The after-hours and emergency phone number is (011)-507-317-5000.

For up-to-date information on security, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. Further information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Panama are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of an emergency.

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