AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Canada (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1600 local time (2300 UTC) on 9 December 2018, authorities responded to reports of a suspicious package at Calgary International Airport (CYYC/YYC). The package was found near the International Arrivals hall, prompting officials to close entrances 13 through 17 and redirect international travelers to check in at domestic counters. While the airport continued to function and was not evacuated, airport officials temporarily halted Customs and Immigration services and kept passengers on board at least 12 arriving aircraft. Authorities successfully removed the package, and normal operations were restored at approximately 1900 local time.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of early on 10 December 2018, Winter Storm Diego has left approximately 310,000 homes without power in the southeastern United States. The storm brought heavy snowfall to the region beginning on 8 December, and lighter snowfall is expected to continue through the morning hours of 10 December. The state of North Carolina is the most heavily affected by the storm, although power outages and hazardous road conditions were also reported in the neighboring states of South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. The storm resulted in the cancellation of at least 1,300 flights to and from North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport (KCLT/CLT) over the weekend of 8-9 December. The governor has issued a state of emergency for North Carolina, which is scheduled to remain in effect until 1200 local time (1700 UTC) on 10 December. At least one storm-related fatality has been reported.
Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On 8 December 2018, police officers clashed with approximately 1,000 ”yellow vest” protesters in Brussels who were attempting to reach the European Union headquarters and nearby Belgian government quarter to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel. The protesters threw paving stones, fireworks and flares, damaging cars and shops as they attempted to reach the government buildings; police officers responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. Police officers detained at least 400 people, many for carrying potential weapons or protective clothing. There were no reports of injuries. The demonstrations also caused transportation disruptions, as protesters blocked roads and authorities temporarily closed the Parc metro station; several trains also did not stop at the Brussels Central Station. In a related protest, a crowd temporarily blocked a motorway between Brussels and Rekkem, a town near the French border.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 8 December 2018, “yellow vest” protests continued in Paris and other major cities throughout France. In Paris, approximately 10,000 people participated in the protests, during which some members set fire to vehicles, vandalized and looted shops, and threw projectiles at police officers in the 1st, 7th, 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements. Security forces repeatedly used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters; they also used armored personnel carriers to dismantle barricades. Media reports indicated that authorities were more proactive in dismantling barricades and arresting participants carrying potential weapons than during the previous 1 December protests.
Outside the capital, clashes took place between protesters and police officers in several cities, including Bordeaux, Puy-en-Velay, Lyon, Vaucluse, Lille, Nantes and Toulouse. Authorities reported that approximately 136,000 people participated in the protests across the country. Police officers arrested nearly 1,400 people nationwide, including 700 in Paris alone. At least 140 people were injured in protests across France, including 20 police officers.
Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 10 December 2018, members of the German Railway and Traffic Workers Union (EVG) employed by Deutsche Bahn went on strike for several hours, disrupting rail traffic across the country. The strike occurred during the morning rush hour from 0500 local time (0400 UTC) to 0900 local time, leading to the cancellation of all long-distance trains during this time period; the strike also resulted in cancellations and delays on some inter-city and regional services, as well as some urban commuter networks. The disruptions affected millions of travelers across Germany and further delays are expected throughout the day on 10 December. EVG stated that the 10 December strike is a warning and that the union will carry out additional strikes ahead of the holidays in December if its demands for a 7.5 percent wage increase and changes to working hours are not met. EVG representatives have not specified when they plan to carry out additional strikes.
Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 9 December 2018, a Palestinian national opened fire on a group of Israelis waiting at a bus stop near the Jewish settlement of Ofra in the West Bank. Authorities stated that the man opened fired from a passing vehicle. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) personnel returned fire, but the assailant escaped. At least seven people were injured, including a pregnant woman. Security forces are still searching for the attacker.
Togo (Security threat level – 4): On 8 December 2018, opposition supporters demonstrated in several cities across Togo in response to the government’s ban on opposition gatherings ahead of the upcoming 20 December parliamentary elections. Protesters clashed with security personnel in several areas of the capital Lomé, including the northern suburb Agoe, where police officers used tear gas to disperse protesters who reportedly burned tires and erected barricades. Two people were killed in Lomé when, according to police officials, unidentified assailants in an unregistered vehicle opened fire on the victims; an opposition spokesperson, however, claims that the victims were killed by police officers firing live ammunition. Security personnel also used tear gas to disperse protesters in the cities of Sokodé and Bafilo, located approximately 340 km (210 mi) and 390 km north of Lomé, respectively. There were no reports of casualties at these demonstrations. The opposition coalition has indicated that it will hold at least 10 protests in the lead-up to the 20 December elections; a heavy-handed security response is likely at such gatherings. The opposition is boycotting the parliamentary elections due to alleged irregularities.
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.