United States (Security threat level – 2): On 30 December 2021, a large wildfire broke out on the northern outskirts of the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area and rapidly swept through the towns of Superior and Louisville. The fire consumed approximately 6,000 acres (2,430 hectares) of land, destroying nearly 1,000 homes and other buildings amid wind gusts of up to 110 mph (177 kph) in the area. More than 33,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes due to the blaze. At least two people remain missing. Authorities are investigating to determine the source of the blaze.
Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 2 January 2022, thousands of people rallied near Museum Square in central Amsterdam to denounce coronavirus-related measures imposed to curb the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19. Demonstrators marched along a major highway, holding up signs and obstructing traffic in the area. Riot police officers used batons and shields to disperse the crowd after the city’s mayor issued an emergency ordinance for officers to clear the square. A small group of demonstrators engaged in clashes with police officers in the city center. At least four police officers were injured in the violence, and approximately 30 demonstrators were arrested. A countrywide lockdown imposed on 19 December 2021, prohibits outdoor gatherings of more than two people. The lockdown is scheduled to be in effect until at least 14 January 2022.
Iraq (Security threat level – 5): During the early morning of 3 January 2022, two projectiles were launched toward Baghdad International Airport (ORBI/BGW). C-RAM air defense systems intercepted the two projectiles, which Iraqi security officials believe were targeting the U.S. Victoria base. There were no reports of damage or casualties as a result of the attack, which occurred on the anniversary of the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani — a prominent leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Social media sources indicated that inscriptions referencing Soleimani’s death were written on the downed missiles. Iraqi authorities have launched an investigation into the attack.
South Africa (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 0500 local time (0300 UTC) on 2 January 2022, a large fire occurred at the Parliament building in Cape Town. The blaze collapsed a roof over the Old Assembly building of Parliament before spreading to the New Assembly building after sprinkler systems failed. The Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service deployed dozens of firefighters to battle the blaze, which they contained approximately 12 hours later. Local authorities stated that a suspect was apprehended and will face trial on 4 January. No casualties were reported due to the blaze, as Parliament was not in session and the building was largely unoccupied.
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 2 January 2022, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced his resignation in a nationally televised address amid months of pro-democracy protests. The former United Nations official was appointed prime minister in a power-sharing deal with the military in 2019, with the goal of leading the country to democratic elections. Hamdok was briefly detained by the military in October 2021, prior to a new power-sharing deal with military leadership that reinstated him to his post in November 2021. Despite Hamdok’s reinstatement, tens of thousands of protesters continued to gather in Khartoum and Omdurman calling for the military’s removal from Sudan’s governance structure.
On the same day that Hamdok resigned, security personnel deployed tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters marching on Palace street toward the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum. In the adjacent city of Omdurman, police officers allegedly fired live ammunition in the direction of protesters. Police officers dressed in anti-riot gear blocked roads and bridges in Khartoum and Omdurman. Telecommunication and internet services were suspended. Protesters had rallied to demand the military submit to civilian rule. According to the Sudan Central Doctors Committee, at least two people were killed and dozens of protesters were injured.
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 30 December 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Guatemala announced new entry requirements that will be in effect as of January 10, 2022.
“Passengers who are neither Guatemalan citizens nor Guatemalan residents will be required to present both of the following:
“Note: If someone has a medical contraindication that makes it impossible to vaccinate against COVID-19, s/he should provide a medical certificate of the relevant condition.”
The full text of the alert, which comprises information regarding entry requirements for Guatemalan citizens and residents, is available here.