ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Jamaica (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1000 local time (1500 UTC) on 12 May 2022, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority suspended all flights to and from the island due to a strike by members of the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA). Operations at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MKJS/MBJ) and Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport (MKJP/KIN) were halted for most of the day as a result. JATCA is demanding higher salaries for workers and a guarantee that improvements will be made to airport radar systems before their members return to work. Air traffic resumed at 1700 local time (2200 UTC) as government officials began talks with JATCA representatives to address their concerns.
Panama (Security threat level – 3): On the morning of 12 May 2022, members of the Suntracs union blocked traffic on Vía Argentina, a main thoroughfare in the El Cangrejo neighborhood of the capital Panama City. The demonstrators, who gathered to protest fuel price increases, stood in the street holding signs and chanting slogans. While no notable violence occurred during the demonstration, local law enforcement authorities stated that one police officer sustained minor injuries in connection to the event. Travelers in Panama City should prepare for transit delays, as additional protests may occur on 13 May.
United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1730 local time (2330 UTC) on 12 May 2022, officials issued a shelter-in-place order for Colorado Springs Airport (KCOS/COS) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, due to a grass fire in the nearby area and advised airport personnel to begin preparations for potentially evacuating the facility. Officials first suspended all inbound flights to the airport, then followed up by canceling all outbound flights. The shelter-in-place order was annulled about two hours later after firefighters contained the blaze. Inbound flights to the airport were allowed shortly afterward, and both incoming and outgoing flights at the facility are gradually resuming as normal as of the latest reports on the morning of 13 May.
China (Security threat level – 3): On 12 May 2022, China’s National Immigration Administration announced that nonessential international travel of Chinese citizens will be strictly limited in an attempt to slow COVID-19 transmission by returning travelers. Government officials have defined essential international travel as travel for educational, business, humanitarian and scientific purposes. There have been several reports of local officials confiscating and invalidating the passports of returning Chinese citizens. The government directive is not expected to restrict international travel for foreign nationals.
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 12 May 2022, state media announced that the military government is reopening Myanmar’s borders to international tourists. Authorities did not provide a date for when tourists would be allowed entry; the country’s borders have been closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals traveling to Myanmar for tourism purposes will be allowed to apply for electronic visas beginning on 15 May. Commercial flights for business travelers resumed the previous month and business travelers have been allowed entry provided they undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival, but they are no longer required to quarantine. Residents of Myanmar continue to protest the February 2021 coup, and the military government continues to engage in clashes with rebel groups throughout the country.
Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): Late on 12 May 2022, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the Saddar commercial area of the southern port city of Karachi. A police spokesperson stated that the IED was attached to a motorcycle and its intended target was likely a vehicle transporting Pakistani maritime security forces. At least one person was killed and 13 others were injured in the blast. The explosion also damaged several vehicles and local businesses in the area. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 4) : On 12 May 2022, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa administered the oath of office to Ranil Wickremesinghe — leader of the opposition United National Party — as the country’s newest prime minister amid countrywide anti-government protests that prompted the resignation of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa — brother to the president. Wickremesinghe previously served in the role of prime minister on five different occasions, and he engaged with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during his most recent stint as prime minister in 2016. Government officials are currently negotiating with the IMF for a loan to help the country out of its economic crisis.
Analyst Comment: Although Wickremesinghe has a reputation as an experienced and knowledgeable government leader, it is unlikely that his ascension to the role of prime minister and the formation of a unity government will be enough to quell the ongoing protests. Demonstrators previously demanded the resignation of all Rajapaksa family members from leading government positions, including President Rajapaksa. Demonstrations — both small and large — are likely to continue in the near term.
United Arab Emirates (Security threat level – 3): United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials announced the death of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on 13 May 2022 at the age of 73. The president, who had served as the country’s leader since 2004, had been ill for the past several years and was only marginally involved in state affairs after suffering a stroke in 2014. The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has declared an official mourning period of 40 days, effective immediately. Public and private sectors will suspend operations for the first three days. Although there was no immediate announcement regarding an heir, his brother — Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan — has been the de facto ruler for some time and is expected to be the successor.
Analyst Comment: While further specific proceedings have not yet been announced, a state funeral and multiple state gatherings are anticipated. The main events will likely take place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; however, gatherings are also likely in other cities throughout the country. These events have the potential to result in significant ground transportation delays; airport operations may also be affected as foreign dignitaries arrive in the UAE for official services.
Austria (Security threat level – 2): On 12 May 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Vienna issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Announced gathering points include, but are not limited to, the following areas of Vienna:
“9th District, Arne-Karlsson Park on Währinger Strasse and move to the intersection of Boltzmanngasse and Strudlhofgasse.
“Events: Saturday, May 14: 3:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Demonstrators protesting attacks by the Turkish Army in southern Kurdish region. Sunday, May 15: 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Demonostration in solidarity with political prisoners in Syria.
“Most demonstrations in Vienna are peaceful, orderly, and well-policed. However, all demonstrations and protests should be avoided as they are often unpredictable in nature. In addition to these registered demonstrations, flash protests are always possible.”
Japan (Security threat level – 1): On 13 May 2022, the U.S. Mission in Japan issued a Demonstration Alert regarding upcoming protests, which reads in part as follows: “Protests are scheduled to occur on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, 2022, beginning at Ginowan City Hall, passing by several U.S. military installations, and ending at Yaejima Park in Okinawa City. There is no indication that these demonstrations will become violent, but the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General Naha remind U.S. citizens that the nature of protests can change quickly and with little warning. Foreign residents in Japan are reminded to carry proof of immigration status and provide identification and immigration documentation to police upon request.”
Papua New Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 13 May 2022, the U.S. Mission in Papua New Guinea issued a Security Alert regarding the election period from May to August, which reads in part as follows: “We advise U.S. citizens in Papua New Guinea to exercise increased caution throughout the 2022 election period and subsequent formation of a new government, which runs from May 12 through the end of August. Historically, the election cycle has led to increased demonstrations which often become violent, typically between rival political parties and their supporters, especially after polling ends, during vote counting, and when results are contested or challenged. Even protests intended to be peaceful can quickly turn confrontational and escalate to violence.
“The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary has identified specific regions and provinces where it expects significant demonstrations which may turn violent, including the Highlands region (Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Southern Highlands, Chimbu, Enga, Hela, and Jiwaka provinces) and the provinces of Milne Bay, Morobe, West New Britain, and the National Capital District.”
Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 4): On 13 May 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo issued a Demonstration Alert regarding ongoing protests and roadblocks in the capital, which reads in part as follows: “Due to ongoing demonstrations, there is an increased police and military presence on the streets, and there are checkpoints at many intersections. Some roads continue to be blocked. The Government of Sri Lanka has instituted a curfew from 2:00 p.m. May 13 until 6:00 a.m. May 14 and additional curfews are possible. Spontaneous demonstrations are possible at any time.
“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and exercise caution when in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”
Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 12 May 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm issued a Demonstration Alert regarding upcoming demonstrations in multiple cities in Sweden, which reads in part as follows: “Swedish authorities have approved permits for rallies/demonstrations for multiple locations over the coming days. These events have the potential to spark counterdemonstrations and protests. With many demonstrations planned and in light of recent events, as a general precaution we remind all citizens to remain vigilant if in the area of protests and demonstrations as these events can be unpredictable and quickly turn violent.”
The full text of the Demonstration Alert can be found here.