Politics prompt travel advisories

Politics of all stripes are once again affecting travel plans around the world, according to the latest warnings from the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Those familiar with the celebrations of the ancient Battle of the Boyne in Northern Ireland will know that “Marching Season” is now in full swing through the month of July.

The Marching Season is an annual series of marches in celebration of William III’s victory in 1695 at the Battle of the Boyne. It is therefore an important event for the Unionists in Northern Ireland, who wish to remain part of the United Kingdom. The U.K. has established a Parades Commission to rule on each march, and some have been banned because of the potential for violence.

The U.K government has deployed extra troops to guard against violence this year. While foreign visitors are rarely the victims of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, DFAIT warns that anyone who goes near a riot could get hurt by accident. During July, Canadians touring Northern Ireland should use caution in areas where marches may take place.

Other hot spots include Ecuador, where a strike against taxis, buses, and transportompanies is delaying travellers with road blockades, and there is no public transportation. Visitors should avoid demonstrations. The Department also warns that petty crime has increased recently in Guadeloupe, where Canadians should exercise caution and avoid unpatrolled beaches and unpopulated areas.

Guatemala was hit by an earthquake last Sunday, with damage to houses, bridges and roads. And although there aren’t likely to be too many Canadian tourists in Iran these days, the country is once again being rocked by demonstrations that have turned violent. This time, it is students demonstrating against the hard-line policies of the government, which for those of us who remember the Iran of 20 years ago, shows that while the politics may change, the terrible effects on visitors and natives alike remain the same