Colombia (Security threat level – 4): Nationwide demonstrations over income inequality, police brutality and youth unemployment are expected to continue for a 30th consecutive day on 27 May 2021. According to Colombia’s Defense Ministry, there are 73 ongoing roadblocks across the country. The National Strike Committee has organized new nationwide demonstrations for 28 May while the committee’s assembly and government representatives review a preliminary agreement reached on 24 May.
On 26 May protesters clashed with police officers in the capital Bogotá and in other cities throughout Colombia. In Bogotá, protesters set fire to multiple buildings in the vicinity of the Portal de las Americas metro station; at least four people were arrested. Protesters also clashed with police officers in Bogotá’s southern suburb of Usme. Reports indicate at least 80 people were injured in the latter skirmish. In the city of Bucaramanga, the Metrolínea bus station at the Industrial University of Santander and a BBVA branch located at the intersection of Carrera 27 and Calle 19 incurred significant damage after demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at the buildings. Clashes between police officers and protesters also occurred in the town of Jamundi, located approximately 20 km (13 mi) south of the city of Cali. The Colombian Red Cross stated that its personnel treated injuries for at least 218 protesters during the day’s nationwide demonstrations.
In related developments, Ecopetrol — the state-owned oil company — announced that the ongoing unrest and blockades continue to affect its ability to deliver fuel to various areas of the country. The company stated that the five departments most affected are Cauca, Caqueta, Huila, Narino and Valle del Cauca.
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 26 May 2021, President Ivan Duque extended the nationwide health state of emergency for 90 days due to a continuing increase in the rate of new COVID-19 infections; the order was scheduled to expire on 31 May. In his statement, Duque announced that restaurants, bars and entertainment venues may reopen when intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy rates fall below 85%. The lockdown extension allows local authorities to maintain restrictions such as nighttime curfews and limits on gatherings.
Dominican Republic (Security threat level – 3): On 25 May 2021, authorities announced that a stricter nightly curfew for the National District and Santo Domingo province will be in effect from 27 May until 10 June. The curfew will run during 2000-0500 local time (0000 to 0900 UTC), with a three-hour grace period from 2000 to 2300 local time for individuals in transit. Elsewhere in the Dominican Republic, a nightly curfew is in effect from 2200 to 0500 local time Monday through Friday, with a two-hour grace period for transit, and from 2100 to 0500 local time on Saturday and Sunday, with a transit grace period of three hours. Public gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 attendees. Restaurants and public spaces are limited to 50% capacity.
United States (Security threat level – 2): Shortly after 0630 local time (1330 UTC) on 26 May 2021, a gunman opened fire at a light rail yard facility for the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), located adjacent to the Santa Clara County Sherriff’s Department, just north of downtown San Jose in Northern California. The assailant, an employee of VTA, reportedly began firing as a meeting of a union representing VTA workers was underway. The shooting occurred in two separate buildings at the site. Officials believe the gunman committed suicide once police officers arrived at the scene. At least nine people were killed in the shooting, including VTA employees, and several others were wounded. Following the shooting, bomb disposal units deployed to search for possible explosives at the scene; at least one explosive device was reportedly found. All light rail services were suspended at about 1200 local time and are expected to remain suspended for several days. The deceased gunman is suspected to have set fire to his home, located in the southeastern Evergreen neighborhood, before traveling to the VTA facility. An investigation is ongoing to determine a potential motive for the shooting.
Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 27 May 2021, the premier of Victoria state imposed a statewide lockdown until 2359 local time (1359 UTC) on 3 June in response to local spread of the B1.617.1 coronavirus variant. Under the measure, residents may only leave their homes for food and other essential supplies, for work, caring for individuals, outdoor exercise or traveling to vaccination appointments. Face masks are also mandatory in all public areas. More information regarding the lockdown is available here.
In related developments, authorities in Western Australia and New South Wales states imposed restrictions on travelers from Victoria. On 26 May the premier of Western Australia closed the borders to travelers from Victoria state until further notice. Anyone attempting to enter Western Australia who has been in Victoria after 16 May is banned from entry. Residents who return to Western Australia must undergo a 14-day self-quarantine at their residences. Exemptions to the border closure restrictions include cargo transportation providers, individuals involved in emergency situations and anyone approved by government officers to engage in travel. In New South Wales, any traveler arriving from Victoria state must self-isolate at their home for seven days. Travelers under the self-isolation order can only leave their homes for essential items, medical care, essential work or outdoor exercise.
Cyprus (Security threat level – 2): On 26 May 2021, authorities announced changes to the existing nationwide nightly curfew. The curfew, which is currently effective from 0000 to 0400 local time (2100 to 0100 UTC), will run from 0100 to 0400 local time beginning on 29 May and will be completely revoked on 10 June. Beginning on 1 June, indoor gatherings in residences can have a maximum of 20 attendees, and bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen their indoor seating.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo / Rwanda (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): On 27 May 2021, the government ordered residents of several neighborhoods located on the eastern side of the city of Goma to evacuate to Sake due to the threat of a second eruption of Mount Nyiragongo. The evacuation order affects thousands of people in the neighborhoods of Quartiers Majengo, Bujovu, Kayembe, le Volcan, Mabanga Nord, Mabanga Sud, Mapendo, Mikeno, Murara and Virunga. The land border crossing between the DRC and Rwanda at Grande Barrier remains open, and ferries are operational between Goma and Bukavu. However, civil aviation authorities in the DRC have closed both the Goma Airport (FZNA/GOM) and the Kavumu Airport (FZMA/BKY) in Bukavu until further notice.
Powerful aftershocks continue to occur in the area surrounding Mount Nyiragongo volcano, which erupted on 22 May. The most recent reports state that a total of 32 people have been killed as a result of the disaster, including fatalities caused by lava flows, gas asphyxiation and general chaos during the evacuation; dozens remain missing. Authorities report that hundreds of residences across 17 villages have been destroyed and that thousands of people remain displaced.
Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 27 May 2021, the military released President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane — transitional government leaders whom the military arrested on 24 May — and Vice President Col. Assimi Goita assumed the presidency. The two officials tendered their resignations on 26 May, although the U.N. Security Council and other international arbitrators who were present at the time stated that the resignations were coerced and demanded the military return power to the civilian-led transitional government. Goita and other members of the military junta that ousted the transitional government, and also ousted the previous government during the August 2020 military coup, accused N’Daw and Ouane of appointing new government officials without consulting Goita.
Analyst Comment: While the current state of political affairs remains uncertain and tenuous, the security situation remains relatively stable. Modibo Keita International Airport (GABS/BKO) remains open and operational, and land and air borders remain open.
Belarus (Security threat level – 3): On 26 May 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued updated travel advice regarding Belarus, which reads in part as follows: “Do not Travel to Belarus due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws and risk of detention, and COVID-19.
“Belarusian authorities have detained tens of thousands of individuals, including U.S. citizens, for alleged affiliations with opposition parties and alleged participation in political demonstrations. U.S. citizens in the vicinity of the demonstrations have been arrested. Some have been victims of harassment and/or mistreatment by Belarusian officials. The Belarusian authorities have targeted individuals associated with independent and foreign media. On May 23, 2021, the Belarusian authorities forced the landing of a commercial aircraft transiting Belarusian airspace in order to arrest an opposition journalist who was a passenger.”
The full text of the advisory is available here.
Norway (Security threat level – 2): On 26 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Oslo issued a Demonstration Alert regarding a scheduled demonstration, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy has been advised of a planned demonstration by the Ethiopian Association in Norway on Saturday, May 29, from 1:30-2:30 PM, at the U.S. Embassy. The anticipated number of demonstrators is unknown at this time, but Oslo Police expects turnout to be low. Oslo Police will direct the demonstrators to a designated area away from the Embassy grounds. This designated area is a grassy field located approximately 100 meters northeast of the Embassy.
“Although most demonstrations in Oslo are coordinated with local police and remain peaceful, the Embassy advises that even demonstrations that are expected to be non-violent can sometimes escalate into violence. Therefore, the Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid the demonstrators.”
Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 26 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bern issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Events: Zurich Police have notified the Embassy that a demonstration by Kurdish groups will occur on Thursday, May 27. The demonstration will begin midday in downtown Zurich and culminate in a march to the U.S. Consular Agency in Zurich for a rally to be held from 3:30 PM to 4:00 PM. Local authorities are expecting up to 100 demonstrators. Zurich Police will be present and closely monitoring the demonstration. At present, there are no indications of similar protests in Bern.”