Demonstration in Kosovo
February 17, 2010
February 17, 2010 will mark the second anniversary of Kosovo’s independence. While the associated celebrations are expected to be peaceful, as with many such events in the Balkans, although officially discouraged, “celebratory gunfire” will probably occur. “Celebratory gunfire” is the shooting of a firearm into the air in an act of celebration. In every part of the world where celebratory gunfire is practiced, people have been killed or injured by stray bullets. Some studies have suggested that the mortality rate for being struck by celebratory gunfire is greater than one person in three, attributed to the high incidence of head wounds.
The U.S. Embassy reminds all U.S. citizens to exercise caution when outside during the Independence Day celebrations. The U.S. Embassy also encourages all U.S. citizens to remain indoors to observe the Independence Day fireworks displays, and thereby avoid unnecessary risk of exposure to bullet injuries as a result of celebratory gunfire.
Spontaneous demonstrations take place in Kosovo from time to time in response to world events or local developments. We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy’s website and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found. The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review “A Safe Trip Abroad,” which can be found on the Department’s Consular Affairs website and includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website. U.S. Embassy Pristina is located at 30 Nazim Hikmet St. in the Arberia/Dragodan area of Pristina. The telephone number is (381) 38-5959-3000. You may also contact the consular section of Embassy Pristina via e-mail. U.S. Embassy Skopje is located at Samilova 21, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia. The Embassy can also be reached via telephone (389) (2) 310-2000, and via the consular section’s e-mail.