Protests expected at the G20 summit can quickly turn violent, so it’s best to stay away from them — in fact, avoid the Toronto downtown core altogether, the U.S. warned its citizens Thursday.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Americans who live in Toronto or plan to visit the city before or during the June 26-27 summit of world leaders.

“Previous G20 summits have drawn large numbers of protesters and activists, and a number of groups have announced plans to demonstrate throughout downtown Toronto,” the advisory says.

“Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. You should avoid them if at all possible.”

Because of security concerns and significant travel disruptions in and around the security perimeter, the state department is suggesting people avoid the area completely.

“U.S. citizens should avoid travelling in or through downtown Toronto during the summit, if possible.”

Small businesses near the summit site will already be taking a hit, said Toronto New Democrat MP Olivia Chow, and this advisory won’t help matters.

“This is the height of the tourism season and losing these Americans is going to be a big problem,” she said.

“The Conservative government said they would not compensate (for) any property damages.

“They are basically telling the businesses in Toronto to go jump in that fake lake.”

The streets immediately surrounding the summit meetings will be restricted, but outside that Toronto is going to continue being the vibrant city it always is, said Andrew Weir of Tourism Toronto.

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