On Saturday, July 8, an anti-government protest is scheduled to take place in capital city of Bissau, which will begin at Retunda di Aeroporto and then proceed along Avenida dos Combatentes da Liberdade da Patria towards the city center.
Protesters are calling for President José Mario Vaz and his government to step down after being unable to end a political gridlock that has been on-going for two years. Traffic disruptions in Bissau are likely and violence is possible.
Approximately 2000 protesters marched through the streets of Bissau on Saturday, May 27, also demanding that President Vaz step down. The protest was organized by a civil society organization, which has been requesting an end to the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau for several months. President Vaz has responded to the protests by stating that he will not step down. Violent clashes were reported between security forces and protesters.
Protesters have also called for general elections in 2018 and the appointment of a new president to prepare the country for the vote. President Vaz has stated that he is open to suggestions from the opposition about how to solve the political crisis, which is driven by a gridlock of political parties in Parliament.
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, is notoriously unstable and has experienced nine coups or attempted coups since 1980. Political instability has allowed it to become a major transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to Europe. The country has been going through political turmoil since President Vaz dismissed Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, leader of the ruling African Party for the independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and the president's own party, in August 2015.
Individuals are advised to avoid all protests due to the possibility of violence and account for potential traffic disruptions.
In general, Guinea-Bissau is considered relatively safe, however travelers should be vigilant in Bissau, where high crime rates are reported, and along the border with Senegal (north), due to the presence of mines and occasional clashes that occur across the border in Senegalese Casamance. Given recent political turmoil, travelers are also advised to avoid all demonstrations and protests.