Why not? Because this was sent to me today...
Date: Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 10:54 AM
Subject: Demostration Notice
Spontaneous demonstrations take place in Budapest from time to time in response to world events or local developments. We remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possible escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Upcoming demonstration information follows:
On Saturday, September 6, 2008, there will be demonstrations in Pest for the following reasons:
(1) Natural Gas Rate Hikes: at 1500-1600 hours, groups will gather at Blaha Lujza tér and Nyugati tér and march to Oktogon (Andrássy út and Erzsébet Körút) to protest planned rate hikes.
(2) Anti-Government: the Hungarian Self Defense Movement had coordinated an event for Heroes' Square (Andrassy and Dózsa György) beginning at 1600 hours. Leaders of several anti-government groups were to be present. Organizers had invited the protestors from the gas rate hike demonstration and those attending the soccer game at Puskas Stadium. Internet websites report this morning that this demonstration has been postponed until September 20, 2008. Since some participants may not learn of this change until later in the weekend, there still may be some activity at Heroes Square on September 6. Please use caution
A large police presence can be expected along Andrássy út, at Heroes Square, and around the Városliget (City park). Police will be prepared to handle civil unrest (water canons, tear gas). Due to the potential for civil unrest, it is recommended that you stay away from these large gatherings.
For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution and Consular Information Sheet for Hungary can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a 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)
The U.S. Embassy in Budapest can be reached at 36-1-475-4164; the after hours emergency number is 36-1-475-4924; the fax number is 36-1-475-4113. The Embassy's web site, which includes consular information and the most recent messages to the American community in Hungary, is at www.usembassy.hu.
Audrey and I got a big chuckle out of this, not because it's not a serious matter to know about but because it reminded us so much of our "adventure" this summer while my parents were here and we got caught in a riot that actually turned violent. The water cannons came out while we were there, and of course the tear gas as we experienced that first hand. I emailed my dad to let him know, thinking he might want to fly on over tonight to get another one on film. But alas, he will be at the Iowa football game. We'll miss you, Dad!