US riots: New Zealanders in the United States told to 'avoid areas of protest activity' as Australia changes travel advice

Trump supporters at the US Capitol building.
Trump supporters at the US Capitol building. Photo credit: Getty

Kiwis in the US are urged to be cautious after chaotic scenes unfolded when President Donald Trump's supporters burst into the halls of Congress causing violence in Washington and throughout the United States.

Since Thursday morning (NZ time), there has been widespread unrest after calls from Trump to protest his loss in November's elections. Multiple injuries were reported and one woman was killed in the melee at the Capitol.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on Thursday sent safe travel advice to all New Zealanders currently in the US, a spokesperson told Newshub.

"We advise all New Zealanders to avoid areas of protest activity, to avoid any unnecessary movement around [Washington] DC, and to adhere to curfew provisions.

"New Zealand currently advises that all New Zealanders do not travel overseas at this time."

'Do not travel' advice is already in place for both New Zealand and Australia due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

MFAT had earlier issued a message to Kiwis ahead of November's US election.

"We recommend monitoring local media to stay up to date with developments and following any instructions issued by the local authorities, including curfews," MFAT said.

"If you find yourself in an area of protest/political activity or civil unrest, you should leave the area if it is safe to do so or remain indoors until the situation improves."

There are New Zealand Consulate-General offices in Honolulu and LA, and Washington DC has an NZ Embassy.

Earlier on Thursday, Scott Morrison announced Australia had changed its travel advice in the wake of the riots.

An update issued on Australia's Smart Travel website on Thursday also urged its US-based citizens to avoid areas of protest.

"Scenes in Washington DC have been terribly distressing - very concerning," said Morrison, Australia's Prime Minister.

"You should avoid areas where protests are occurring due to the potential for violence," he told reporters.