Worldview Security Report – April 5, 2019
5-Apr-19

ASIA

South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 5 April 2019, authorities declared a national emergency as forest fires continued to burn along South Korea’s northeastern coast. The initial fire broke out on 4 April near the town of Goseong in Gangwon province, reportedly as a result of a transformer spark. The fire subsequently spread to the cities of Gangneung and Sokcho, destroying at least 135 residences and forcing more than 4,000 people to evacuate. One person was killed and 11 others were injured. As of this writing, the fire in Sokcho has been fully contained, while 50 percent of the fire in Gangneung has been contained. More than 3,250 firefighters, as well as 16,500 soldiers, have been deployed to combat the fire and provide assistance.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): As of 5 April 2019, “yellow vest” protesters are expected to gather in cities across France on 6 April for the 21st consecutive weekend of demonstrations. Authorities will continue to ban demonstrations on Paris’ Champs-Elysées, Place de l’Etoile and near the Élysée Palace and the National Assembly. Officials have also banned protests in other parts of France, including in the city centers of Auxerre, Caen, Charleville, Mézières, Rouen and Toulouse. The Constitutional Court has also approved legislation that bans protesters from covering their faces and allows police officers to search demonstrators; however, it also struck down a law granting officials the authority to pre-emptively ban protesters from demonstrations.

Despite the bans, protests are likely to occur in the aforementioned cities. In Paris, protesters are planning to march from the Place de la République to the La Défense business district, located northwest of the Paris city center. Demonstrations are also scheduled to take place in Bordeaux, Bort-les-Orgues, Boulou, Desvres, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Rouen, Saint-Nazaire, Strasbourg and Toulouse. The potential for violence at all of these gatherings remains a concern.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Algeria (Security threat level – 4): On 5 April 2019, several thousand people gathered outside the Central Post office in downtown Algiers to call for the overthrow of Algeria’s entire governing regime. There were also reports of demonstrations in Tizi Ouzou, located approximately 100 km (62 mi) west of Algiers. While security measures were tight at both demonstrations, there were no reports of violence.

Analyst Comment: These protests are the first to take place since President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on 2 April. The size of these new protests indicates that Bouteflika’s resignation has not satisfied demonstrators, who will likely continue protesting in the absence of further concessions or a major security crackdown.

Libya (Security threat level – 5): On 5 April 2019, supporters of the Libyan National Army (LNA) temporarily took control of a key checkpoint located approximately 30 km (18 mi) from Tripoli before a militia from a nearby town retook the checkpoint following a brief exchange of fire. The militia captured at least 20 LNA supporters. There were no reports of casualties.

The fighting comes after LNA commander Khalifa Hafter ordered his forces to begin an offensive on Tripoli on 4 April. The LNA is the military force of the unrecognized eastern Libyan government, known as the House of Representatives (HoR). The LNA is the largest military faction in the country and it has aircraft and special operations capabilities. Tripoli is currently under the nominal control of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). Hafter referred to the GNA as “corrupt oppressors,” but ordered his troops to only fire in self-defense and to protect foreign nationals in the capital. Reports from Tripoli indicate the GNA is preparing to defend the city using a coalition of military, security forces and local militias, and that these forces are concentrating their defenses in southern areas of the city near the closed Tripoli International Airport (HLLT/TIP).

As of this writing, local media are reporting long lines at local gas stations in Tripoli, as people stock up on fuel. As of last report, Mitiga International Airport (HLLM) was still operating.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 4 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Mali issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “The announced gathering point is the Monument d’Independence in Bamako, Mali.
  • “Several groups are calling for a march on Friday, April 5th at 14:00 to denounce insecurity in Mali. The demonstration has not been approved by local authorities and may attract large crowds. Traffic disruptions are likely, and the Embassy has received reports indicating that violence is possible. Some schools and banks have announced closures due to potential unrest.
  • “U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the area around the Monument d’Independence on April 5, 2019.”
  • Serbia (Security threat level – 3):
    On 4 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Event: There will be a protest on Saturday, April 6, 2019 starting at 6:00PM near the Government of Serbia building (Nemanjina 11) and marching to Pink Circle. This protest is affiliated with the weekly Saturday protests downtown that regularly draw 30,000-40,000 protesters. The weekly protests have to date been without major violence, though the police have sometimes used tear gas. Expect street closures and traffic jams near the protest route.”
  • Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 4 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Metropolitan Khartoum (Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) and other cities and locations across Sudan.
  • “Event: Demonstrations have been called for the following times: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 4-6 to mark the anniversary of former President Gaafar Nimeiry’s removal from power in 1985. Based on historic activity, protests and a large security presence are anticipated in the Burri neighborhood in the vicinity of Al Ma’arad Street. The U.S. Embassy expects a large deployment of Sudanese Armed Forces in addition to uniformed and plain clothes security forces. No specific times or locations have been announced.
  • “U.S. government personnel are required to use armored vehicles for all official and non-official movement throughout the weekend. On Saturday, April 6 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, U.S. government personnel will be limited to official movement only.
  • “Spontaneous night-time demonstrations may continue throughout the country. Based on recent protest activity, multiple, spontaneous protests throughout the city could occur in addition to the planned demonstrations. Demonstrations could escalate in intensity quickly. Protests may occur without warning at any time and may continue in the coming weeks.
  • “Security forces have enhanced authority to detain and arrest anybody they deem to be undermining public order, including protestors or those suspected of supporting the protests. Arbitrary detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country. The Sudanese government does not recognize dual citizenship and is likely to consider U.S.-Sudanese dual citizens as Sudanese citizens only.”
  • Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): On 4 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • Location: Nationwide
  • “Event: Demonstrations are scheduled to take place throughout Venezuela on April 6 and may continue in the following days. Due to continued problems with the national electricity grid, much of Venezuela continues to experience electrical outages. Public water supplies, cell phone networks, and the internet are affected. Additionally, many hospitals are unable to provide emergency services due to current conditions.”

  • Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.