AMERICAS Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 10 May...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 29 April 2021, thousands of people participated in demonstrations throughout Colombia for a second consecutive day to oppose proposed tax reforms outlined by the administration of President Iván Duque. Hundreds of people gathered throughout the capital Bogotá, causing police officers to use tear gas to disperse the crowds. Police officers also used crowd control agents in Medellín, Copacabana and other cities. The demonstrations caused significant traffic disruptions in cities across Colombia, including in Bogotá and Cali. Barricades and ongoing clashes between protesters and the police contributed to delays in the delivery of medical supplies to a hospital in the Cartagenita section of the city of Cartagena. Elsewhere, police officers clashed with demonstrators in the city of Facatativá, located approximately 30 km (20 mi) northwest of Bogotá, after demonstrators blocked Route 50, which connects Facatativá to Bogotá. There were reports of isolated instances of vandalism, primarily affecting Cali. At latest report, five police officers and 31 demonstrators were injured, while authorities arrested at least 30 people for alleged vandalism.
Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 29 April 2021, authorities announced tighter coronavirus-related restrictions for the provinces of Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia and José due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in those areas, effective 3-9 May. All nonessential businesses will be required to close, including bars, beauty salons, department stores, restaurants and gyms. Driving restrictions remain in place nationwide.
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 30 April 2021, Catholic authorities reported that kidnappers released five Catholic priests, two nuns and two French nationals they had abducted on 11 April during a religious ceremony in the city of Croix-des-Bouquet, located approximately 10 km (6 mi) northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince. While the kidnappers demanded a ransom of ransom of 81.5 million Haitian gourdes (1 million U.S. dollars) for the release of the hostages, it remains unknown whether any ransom was paid.
Singapore (Security threat level – 1): On 30 April 2021, Singapore authorities announced that as of 2 May all travelers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – or individuals who have been to those countries within 14 days of a planned arrival to Singapore – will be banned from entering the country. The restrictions apply to all short- and long-term travelers as well as those with previous authorizations. Travelers from the aforementioned countries who are in quarantine by 3 May will be required to extend their isolation period by an additional seven days. Meanwhile, travelers entering Singapore from Thailand after 3 May will be required to quarantine at a government-designated facility rather than at home, which is the current procedure.
Tajikistan / Kyrgyzstan (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 30 April 2021, local media reports indicate that clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajik military units have resumed in the Leilek district of Batken region in Kyrgyzstan, despite reports of a ceasefire agreement brokered by the foreign ministers of both countries. The clashes are linked to a dispute over the Golovnoy water distribution point, which both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan consider to be under their respective control. Kyrgyz media outlets reported that sporadic firefights between Kyrgyz and Tajik military units occurred throughout the day. Casualties among both military personnel and civilians are mounting. At least three Kyrgyz military personnel have been killed and at least 45 injured, while at least three Tajik soldiers have been killed and at least 31 injured during the ongoing fighting. As of latest report, at least 13 Kyrgyz civilians have been killed and at least 134 others injured, and at least one Tajik civilian has been killed and at least 29 others injured. The Kyrgyz Red Crescent stated that the clashes have displaced at least 2,276 people from the Batken region. The heads of both the Tajik and Kyrgyz security services recently met to discuss establishing a new ceasefire.
Israel (Security threat level – 3): On 29 April 2021, a stampede occurred at Mount Meron – located approximately 45 km (30 mi) northeast of the city of Haifa — during a religious festival for the holiday of Lag Ba’omer. The stampede allegedly occurred after some attendees fell to the ground, which caused other attendees to trip and fall, thereby triggering the stampede, according to Israeli police officials. The Israeli Defense Force and police officers assisted rescue personnel with evacuating the injured and clearing the scene. At last report, rescue personnel were still in the process of evacuating several thousand people who were still at the ceremony site, as traffic disruptions have hindered efforts. Reports indicate there were widespread cellular disruptions due to a spike in demand as thousands of people inundated the network. At least 45 people were killed, and over 150 were injured, according to the country’s national emergency service. The Israeli Ministry of Justice has launched an investigation into the cause of the accident.
Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 29 April 2021, Palestinian Authorities President Mahmoud Abbas announced the cancellation of upcoming legislative elections slated for 22 May. Abbas cited Israel’s unwillingness to allow Palestinians living in East Jerusalem to participate in the upcoming elections.
Analyst Comment: It is highly likely that Abbas’ announcement will spark anti-Israeli demonstrations in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. The Israeli military raised its alert level on 28 April in anticipation of the announcement. Travelers should monitor developments closely.
Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 29 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Demonstrations may occur in N’Djamena and other cities on Friday April 30 and Saturday May 1. Government security forces have deployed tear gas to disperse past protests. There has been gunfire at prior demonstrations resulting in injuries and deaths. Protests and demonstrations may continue in the coming weeks.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 29 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice for Lebanon, which reads in part as follows: “Lebanon will enter a total lockdown from 5am on 1 May until 5am on 4 May, over the Orthodox Easter weekend. Restaurants and cafes will be closed and movement is prohibited. Supermarkets will remain open during the lockdown but you should check opening hours in advance. Taxis are running but you must have a permit to travel or a valid flight ticket for airport transportation.”
Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 30 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Manila issued a Demonstration Alert regarding a planned protest, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy has been informed of a demonstration/protest event scheduled to occur Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Bonifacio Square (formally Plaza Lawton). This location is approximately one mile north of the U.S. Embassy.
“Initial reports indicate this event will be associated with Philippine Labor Day activities and last throughout the day. Due to the NCR+ Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, the number of participants is undetermined.
“Traffic disruptions in the area are expected, as are the potential for flash demonstrations in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy. This event is not expected to be violent. However, U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the Bonifacio Square area and exercise caution if in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.”
Slovakia (Security threat level – 2): On 29 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy would like to advise the community of two events scheduled to occur in the coming days. This advisory is for your awareness to ensure your safety.
“Event #1: From April 28 to May 2, the Russian nationalist motorcycle club (MC), the Night Wolves, are conducting what they’re calling a “pilgrimage” across Slovakia. Their ride, “Journey of the Victory 2021,” will begin in Eastern Slovakia and conclude in Stupava on the Czech/Slovak border. They are scheduled to visit the Slavin Memorial near the CMR on May 2the full schedule is below. Night Wolves members will likely be riding motorcycles and wearing leather jackets with the below logo on the back. They may also be joined by unofficial supporters/sympathizers.
“The Night Wolves MC has chapters throughout Eastern Europe and has close ties to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. Past open-source reporting has indicated that the MC receives funding from Russia. In 2014, they were sanctioned by the U.S. Government for providing aide to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, which included attacks on a gas distribution station. In 2018, the BBC reported on the opening of a compound 44 km from Bratislava, complete with old military vehicles, that the Russian government called the Night Wolves’ “European Headquarters.”
“Though we have no information to suggest conflict will occur, the Night Wolves do have a history of violence and their anti-American sentiment presents a potential for protests directed at the U.S. embassy and community.
“Event #2: On May 1 from 1-2 PM at Namestie Slobody in Bratislava, a separate demonstration has been organized by pro-Russian member of Parliament, Peter Marcek. They will be joined by followers of “Slovenske Hnutie Obrody,” organized by Robert Svec. The number of expected attendees is currently unknown.”
Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 30 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bern issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “May Day demonstrations, both organized and spontaneous, are expected to occur throughout Switzerland in recognition of International Workers’ Day today, May 1st.
“Bern authorities have advised a demonstration is planned for 2:00 PM at Zytglogge. While this demonstration is not authorized, authorities are expecting 100+ people to be present.
“Historically, May Day rallies progress into the evening and night, so gatherings and demonstrations are expected around Bern all afternoon and evening.
“Additionally, an anti-COVID demonstration is also planned for 2:00 PM at Bundesplatz. Some left-wing groups have called for a prohibition on any demonstrations not associated with May Day which presents the possibility of conflict between groups around Bern. Affected areas may include Old Town Bern, Bahnhofplatz, Bärenplatz and Bundesplatz.
“Bern Police will be deployed in force this weekend and closely monitoring the situation.”
The full text of the alert is available here.