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February 9, 2022


Canada / United States (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): On 8 February 2022, demonstrators blockaded the Ambassador Bridge — which connects the Canadian city of Windsor, Ontario, to the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan — for a second consecutive day in a show of solidarity with truckers participating in the “Freedom Convoy” who are currently gathered in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, to demand repeal of mandatory vaccinations for cross-border truck operators and other coronavirus-related restrictions. The bridge was temporarily closed in both directions during the afternoon of 8 February, although a limited number of U.S.-bound vehicles have been largely allowed to cross the bridge since the blockade began the previous day. Police officials in Windsor advised motorists to avoid the area and utilize the nearby Detroit-Windsor tunnel, while commercial trucks were rerouted through the Blue Water Bridge — which connects Sarnia, Ontario, to Port Huron, Michigan — located approximately 100 km (60 mi) away from the Ambassador Bridge.

Elsewhere in Canada, protesters shut down the Coutts border crossing, which links the western province of Alberta with the U.S. state of Montana. Meanwhile in Ottawa, where a state of emergency has been in effect since 6 January, more than 400 trucks remain parked in the city center. Police officers have arrested 23 people and issued more than 1,300 citations in relation to the protest since the convoy initially arrived in the city on 28 January.


India (Security threat level – 3): On 8 February 2022, hundreds of protesters gathered at a public high school in the district of Udupi, located in Karnataka state, after school administrators banned students from wearing hijabs in several schools. Authorities have ordered the closure of all schools in Karnataka until 14 February in response to the protests. Local reports indicate that police officers fired tear gas at student protesters demonstrating at a school in the state. In related developments, authorities in Bengaluru (Bangalore) — the capital of Karnataka — imposed a ban on gatherings within 200 m (656 ft) of educational institutions until at least 22 February. Meanwhile, the High Court of Karnataka has opened a case in response to petitions filed to overturn the hijab ban.


United Arab Emirates (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0010 local time on 9 February 2022 (2010 UTC on 8 February), an explosion sparked a small fire on the roof of a building located on Hamdan Street in central Abu Dhabi. Emergency crews responding to the incident immediately extinguished the fire and briefly evacuated the building as a precautionary measure. Authorities stated that the explosion originated from a defective gas cylinder. There were no reports of significant injuries or damage to the building.

Analyst Comment: The event caused alarm following initial reports that the source of the explosion may have been a possible missile strike on the building. Local authorities subsequently stated that it was a gas cylinder explosion. However, concerns exist regarding likely future missile and armed drone attacks targeting Abu Dhabi in view of such projectiles having been launched toward the city in recent weeks. Travelers in Abu Dhabi should be aware that even minor incidents can cause panic due to the currently heightened tensions.