ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): On 13 April 2021, authorities in Bermuda implemented an island-wide stay-at-home order through 20 April to control a spreading outbreak of COVID-19. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes from 1100 to 1900 local time (1400 to 2200 UTC) for essential reasons, which include shopping for basic necessities, attending a gas station, being vaccinated or tested for COVID-19, visiting a health care center and banking. Grocery stores and gas stations are allowed to operate at 20% capacity from 0700-1900 local time, with restrictions limiting patrons to visit such establishments on certain days based on the first letter of a person’s last name. Gyms, bars, museums and libraries are closed. All events and gatherings are banned, including meetings of individuals from separate households for any reason. Additional information as outlined by the government of Bermuda can be viewed here.
Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 12 April 2021, Guillermo Lasso declared victory with 52% of the vote in Ecuador’s presidential runoff election held on 11 April after his opponent conceded defeat. Lasso has stated that he intends to eliminate the country’s fiscal deficit within four years, while not raising taxes. Additionally, he has pledged to pursue free market policies, including new contracts with private oil companies to boost production and free trade agreements with a number of countries, including China and the U.S., to attract foreign investment and create jobs.
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): As of 0223 local time (0623 UTC) on 13 April 2021, the La Soufriere volcano continued to spew ash extending approximately 11,175 m (36,660 ft) in altitude, according to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington. Experts expected the volcano to spew ash for at least the next 18 hours. The ash cloud is expected to remain at 11,175 meters and to move toward the east-southeastern to southeastern direction during the forecast period. According to the National Emergency Management Organization for St. Vincent and the Grenadines (NEMO), the volcano is expected to erupt explosively and ashfall is likely for several days.
Volcanic ash has covered most of the island of St. Vincent and has disrupted services across the island. Argyle International Airport (TVSA/SVD), which serves the capital Kingstown, and all other airports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are closed until at least 14 April. At least 20,000 residents from areas near the volcano have been evacuated. The island’s water supply was at 20% of capacity, resulting in water rationing across the island. Food supplies were also declining, with 40% of St. Vincent and the Grenadine’s agriculture reported damaged. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths. The casualty assessment is likely to change as not all residents evacuated their homes, and large portions of St. Vincent remain inaccessible, unsafe or otherwise off-limits.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 12 April 2021, clashes between protesters and police officers occurred in the northwestern Brooklyn Center suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a second consecutive night after a police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop in the suburb. Police officers deployed tear gas canisters and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters who had gathered outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Some of the protesters threw back the gas canisters and other projectiles at the officers. Authorities arrested 40 people during the gathering. Meanwhile, 13 people were arrested in Minneapolis for burglaries and violation of the nighttime curfew that went into effect at 1900 local time (0000 UTC on 13 April) in Hennepin County — which encompasses Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis — as well as in nearby Anoka, Dakota and Ramsey counties, and expired at 0600 local time on 13 April. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are colloquially referred to as the Twin Cities, announced a state of emergency on 12 April, and military officials stated that more than 1,000 National Guard personnel were being deployed across Minnesota.
Analyst Comment: In addition to continuing protests in Brooklyn Center, tensions are high in the Twin Cities area due to the ongoing high-profile court trial of a former police officer in relation to the May 2020 killing of a Black man in Minneapolis.
Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 13 April 2021, thousands of protesters gathered in major cities, such as Karachi, Lahore and the capital Islamabad, to condemn the arrest of the leader of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party. In Islamabad, demonstrators staged sit-ins, blocking parts of Dhokri Chowk, Bhara Kahu, Kashmir Chowk, Rawat T Chowk, Tarnol, Faizabad and IJP Chowk. In Karachi — the country’s largest city — protesters gathered in the Orangi Town and Korangi areas, as well as along parts of Hub River Road. Clashes occurred between police officers and TLP supporters as authorities attempted to disperse the gatherings. At least two demonstrators and a police officer were killed in the violence.
Analyst Comment: Following the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in France in October 2020, protests organized by the TLP and other conservative religious groups occurred across Pakistan to demand a boycott of French goods as well as the expulsion of the French ambassador in Pakistan. A deadline agreed between the government and the TLP to resolve the issue in Parliament will expire on 20 April. The day before the TLP leader’s arrest on 12 April, he warned that the party would hold mass rallies, if the government did not meet the deadline. Demonstrations are likely to continue unless the government reaches an agreement with the TLP to extend the deadline or release the party’s leader.
Austria (Security threat level – 2): On 12 April 2021, authorities announced an extension to the coronavirus-related lockdown in the capital Vienna until 2 May. Measures include a 24-hour stay-at-home order, with exemptions for errands such as visiting health care centers, the closure of nonessential businesses, an FFP2 face mask mandate in public areas and indoor locations where more than one person is present, and twice-a-week testing requirements for those commuting to and from high-risk areas or abroad for work. Additionally, employees are required to either work from home or take a COVID-19 test once a week in order to work from office.
France / Brazil (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 13 April 2021, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that all flights between France and Brazil are suspended until further notice as part of an effort to limit the spread of a COVID-19 variant that was first detected in Brazil. Castex also stated that travel to France from Brazil will only be allowed for “compelling reasons,” without providing specific details. Travelers who are allowed to enter France from Brazil must present a negative COVID-19 test and will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. In addition, travelers are required to take another COVID-19 test during the 10-day period and obtain negative results to leave the isolation.
Benin (Security threat level – 3): Voters in Benin are awaiting provisional results of the first round of the presidential election held on 11 April 2021. Provisional results are expected on 13 April, with early results indicating that incumbent President Patrice Talon is set to win a second five-year term amid accusations of election fraud. During the election, Talon faced two lesser known opposition candidates after several prominent opposition leaders were detained on terrorism-related charges. Talon has denied that his government is targeting his opponents. Western media reported that voter turnout was low compared to previous elections and there were widespread problems in identifying or registering voters, although the government has not released information on turnout or other issues.
Sporadic violence was reported in the lead-up to the election, with protests held in several cities the previous week. An unspecified number of people were killed by gunfire on 8 April in the central town of Bante when security forces fired warning shots at a gathering, according to local government officials. Subsequently, the embassies of France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S., as well as a delegation from the EU, released a joint statement expressing solidarity with the victims of violence observed during the electoral process. These countries have called for an end to violence and for a return to calm as well as for all political actors to promote dialogue and gestures of goodwill.
Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 13 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Northern Chad near the borders of Niger and Libya.
“Event: Media reports indicate movement of armed non-governmental groups into Chad from Libya and possible confrontations with the Chadian Army. The reports describe the area in northern Chad near the borders of Niger and Libya, particularly Wour and Zouarke.
“Actions to Take:
Malaysia (Security threat level – 3): On 13 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding visa overstays, which reads in part as follows: “On 12 April, the Malaysian Immigration Department announced that those who have overstayed on a social visit pass that has expired since 1 January 2020 must now leave the country by 21 April 2021. British nationals should not encounter any problems following the advice issued by the Immigration Department to leave the country by 21 April as there are regular flights.”