AFRICA Eswatini (Security threat level – 3): Anti-government demonstrators have...
Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On 14 March 2021, government officials announced that 24 cities in Paraguay will be placed under a “red alert” to slow the spread of COVID-19. The affected cities — in which nightly curfews from 2000 to 0500 local time (2300 to 0800 UTC) will be in effect during 18 March-4 April — include the capital Asunción and the following cities: Ayolas, Caacupé, Caazapá, Caraguatay, Ciudad del Este, Coronel Bogado, Encarnación, Fernando de la Mora, Fram, Guarambaré, Hohenau, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, Paraguarí, Pilar, San Bernardino, San Juan Bautista, San Ignacio, San Lorenzo, Villa Elisa and Villarrica. A nightly 0000-0500 local time curfew will remain in effect for the rest of the country. In addition, educational institutions in the aforementioned cities will be closed for two weeks beginning on 18 March.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 15 March 2021, nearly 900 flights scheduled to operate through Denver International Airport (KDEN/DEN) in the state of Colorado have been canceled following a major winter storm that brought more than 2 ft (0.6 m) of snow to the Denver metropolitan area. More than 2,000 planned flights at the facility were canceled over the weekend of 13-14 March, 1,300 of those cancellations occurred on 14 March. In addition, the latest reports indicate that more than 24,600 homes and businesses in the state are experiencing weather-related power outages on the morning of 15 March.
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): As of 15 March 2021, the military has imposed martial law in six townships in the city of Yangon amid anti-coup protests in Myanmar. The martial law order was initially declared for the townships of Hliang Thar Yar and nearby Shwepyithar on 14 March and extended to North Dagon, North Okkalapa, South Dagon, and Dagon Seikkan townships the following day in response to arson attacks on garment factories owned by Chinese firms. The Chinese Embassy in Yangon stated that several Chinese nationals were injured in the arson attacks on factories in Hliang Thar Yar. Anti-coup groups have previously indicated that they could target Chinese businesses in response to China’s perceived support for Myanmar’s junta. In related developments, security forces killed three protesters during an anti-coup protest in the town of Myingyan, which is located in central Myanmar. Various reports indicate that telecommunications services, including mobile internet, were suspended in Yangon and several other areas of the country.
During the weekend of 13-14 March, anti-coup protests occurred in multiple cities despite the military’s crackdown on protesters. On 14 March security forces fired live rounds at protesters and burned makeshift barricades during protests in the Hlaing Thar Yar township in western Yangon, located 9 km (6 mi) east of Yangon International Airport (VYYY/RGN). In the town of Taungoo, located in Bago region, security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters. In total, at least 76 people were killed in protest-related violence nationwide. More than 30 of those fatalities reportedly occurred in Hlaing Thar Yar. Additionally, on 13 March security personnel in the city of Mandalay used live rounds to disperse a protest in Sein Pan ward, killing four protesters and injuring several others. Two people were killed, and several others were injured when security forces fired live rounds at demonstrators in the town of Pyay, located in Bago region.
Armenia (Security threat level – 4): On 12 March 2021, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced plans to hold drills from 16-20 March to test military readiness. According to the Defense Ministry, 7,500 soldiers, 200 missile and artillery units, 100 armored vehicles, approximately 90 anti-aircraft units, and an unknown number of aircraft will participate in the exercises. The move follows a 10 March announcement by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry that its military will conduct similar exercises from 15-18 March, involving the participation of 10,000 soldiers, 100 armored vehicles, 200 artillery units and approximately 30 military aircraft, including helicopters.
Analyst Comment: Tensions remain high between Armenia and Azerbaijan after a Russian-backed ceasefire agreement, which was signed on 10 November 2020, ended a six-week war in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On 13 March 2021, police officers used water cannons and tear gas canisters to disperse a group of approximately 200 demonstrators in the eastern city of Liège, located in Wallonia region. The demonstrators had been participating in a peaceful protest, but broke away from the main group and began throwing stones and other projectiles at traffic signs, police officers and nearby buildings. Windows of the city hall building, a police station and multiple police vehicles were vandalized and perpetrators looted nearby businesses. The clashes left 36 police officers injured; nine of the officers were taken to a nearby hospital. Authorities arrested 12 individuals. The protesters had gathered to denounce police brutality following an incident in which police officers arrested an African woman earlier in the week.
Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 12 March 2021, the Italian Ministry of Health announced new lockdown measures to control the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the country. From 15 March to 6 April, 11 regions in the country — Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Trento, Piemonte, Puglia and Vento — will be labeled as the “red zone” and subjected to the highest level of restrictions in the country’s four-tier system. Residents of the regions placed in the red zone will be prohibited from leaving their homes other than for essential reasons, such as work, or for medical or emergency reasons. Additionally, only essential shops — such as pharmacies and grocery stores — will remain open and nonessential travel between the regions will be banned. All other regions will be labeled as “orange zones,” with the exception of Sardinia, during the time period. Meanwhile, during the Easter holiday weekend from 3-5 April, a countrywide lockdown will be in effect. More information regarding the forthcoming restrictions can be found here.
Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 14 March 2021, clashes occurred between police officers and protesters who had gathered in The Hague to protest the ongoing countrywide lockdown enacted to control the spread of COVID-19. Authorities deployed water cannons and riot police officers to break up the gathering in the Malieveld area after hundreds of participants refuse to leave the site. At least three people were injured in the violence and police officers arrested approximately 20 demonstrators. Authorities had set a maximum limit of 200 participants for the demonstration, which drew more than 2,000 people and prompted officials to halt train services at the nearby central station to prevent more people from joining the demonstration.
Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 12 March 2021, authorities in Madrid modified existing regionwide coronavirus-related restrictions, aligning measures to abide by restrictions imposed by the central government during the upcoming Catholic holiday season, including the feast of San José and Holy Week. Officials in Madrid have reversed an initial rejection of the series of nationwide restrictions declared by the central government on 10 March. Subsequently, restrictions will be imposed on 17-21 March and again from 26 March to 9 April, to include a nightly 2300-0600 local time (2200-0500 UTC) curfew as well as a ban on interregional travel. Additionally, businesses deemed nonessential are required to close nightly by 2200 local time.
Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 12 March 2021, authorities announced plans to ease restrictions on 22 March that were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Under the new relaxed restrictions, private gatherings at home of up to 10 people will be allowed, while outside events with audiences of up to 150 people and indoor events with up to 50 people will be allowed. Restaurants will also be permitted to reopen with a maximum of four people per table. Additionally, public leisure and entertainment establishments, such as botanical gardens, museums and zoos, will reopen.
Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 15 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Kenya regarding the coronavirus-related nationwide curfew, which reads in part as follows: “On 12 March 2021, the Government of Kenya extended the nationwide curfew by a further 60 days. The curfew is in effect from 10pm to 4am (local time). During curfew hours, everyone must stay at home or indoors, except for essential service workers.”
Timor-Leste (Security threat level – 3): On 14 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dili issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) has advised that they are actively enforcing the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL)-imposed movement restrictions related to COVID-19 and stopping individuals who are doing outdoor activities to include walking, jogging, cycling, and running. Increasing numbers of PNTL officers have been deployed to enforce this directive in areas with normally heavy foot traffic such as beach-side roads.
“U.S. citizens are advised to limit outdoor movements as much as possible and should be prepared to stop to provide explanation to the PNTL if requested. This advisory remains in effect for Dili until at least March 15, or until additional GOTL guidance is provided.”
“U.S. citizens are cautioned that the GOTL may impose criminal penalties for non-compliance to its announced directives.”