AMERICAS Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On the evening...
Australia (Security threat level – 2): On the afternoon of 2 February 2022, police officers engaged in scuffles with demonstrators who had gathered outside the National Library of Australia near the parliament in Canberra, the capital, to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The scuffles broke out when police officers attempted to remove protesters who had set up tents in Patrick White Lawns park, situated adjacent to the library. Two people suffered minor injuries in the event and were treated at the scene. At least three people were arrested.
Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): Public transport unions launched a three-day countrywide strike in Lebanon on 2 February 2022, to demand that the government address the country’s crippling economic crisis. Bus, taxi and truck drivers blocked major highways and intersections in the capital Beirut during the first day of the three-day strike. Due to the strike, schools, universities and many businesses were forced to close. Transport worker unions have stated that the strike will be in effect from 0500-1500 local time (0300-1300 UTC) each day. The first day of the strike concluded without any violent incidents on 2 February.
Guinea-Bissau (Security threat level – 4): On the afternoon of 1 February 2022, heavy gunfire broke out near the Palace of Government in the capital Bissau, where a Cabinet meeting led by President Umaro Cissoko Embalo was underway. Assailants armed with high-powered firearms launched what would turn out to be an approximately five-hour attack on the building. Local media reports indicate that six people were killed in the gunbattle, including four assailants and two security personnel. President Embalo later stated that the gunmen aimed to kill him and members of the Cabinet, but security forces stopped the attackers from entering the meeting venue. Embalo also claimed that the attackers were connected to individuals involved in drug trafficking, without offering further details. Embalo had pledged to combat increasing drug trafficking activity in Guinea-Bissau when he was elected to the presidency in December 2019.
Analyst Comment: The identities of those involved in the attack remain unknown. It does not appear that the assault was a part of the military’s effort to seize power, although the government — as well as the regional blocs African Union and Economic Community of West African States — labeled the event as a coup attempt. President Embalo, a former army general, formed the government in early 2020 with support from the military while the opposition was contesting election results in the Supreme Court. In October 2021, military leaders announced that they had foiled an alleged coup plot by members of the military, although a government spokesperson later denied reports of the plot to overthrow the government.
Mauritius / Madagascar (Security threat levels – 1 / 3): As of 0300 UTC on 2 February 2022, Tropical Cyclone Batsirai was located approximately 250 km (155 mi) north-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, and was moving southwest at 18 kph (12 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Batsirai was generating maximum sustained winds of 222 kph, with gusts of up to 268 kph. On its current path, the storm is expected to pass near Mauritius and the French overseas department of Reunion during the next 24 hours before making landfall along the eastern coast of Madagascar by the afternoon of 5 February.
Mauritius Meteorological Services has issued a cyclone warning class IV — the highest alert level on a four-tier scale — due to recorded strong winds throughout the island. Residents have been advised to remain indoors. Approximately 14,000 homes have lost power, particularly in Port Louis, and several roadways have flooded. However, there have been no reports of injuries.
In Reunion, authorities announced that as of 1500 local time (1100 UTC), operations at Roland Garros Airport (FMEE/RUN) will be suspended until further notice. All incoming and departing flights have been canceled or postponed. Additionally, the Airport Operational Command Post has remained active since 31 January in anticipation of storm-related disruptions.
Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4): On 2 February 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou issued a Security Alert for Burkina Faso, which reads in part as follows: “The Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match will take place [in Yaoundé, Cameroon] Wednesday, February 2, starting at 7:00 p.m. between the Burkina Faso national football team and Senegal.
“The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that public celebrations can quickly become unpredictable. Roads may become overwhelmed due to large gatherings causing major traffic bottlenecks. The consumption of alcoholic beverages may also pose unnecessary risks to drivers and pedestrians.
“The mandatory curfew remains in effect from 12:00 am to 4:00 am.”