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Worldview security report – December 7, 2018


Chile (Security threat level – 2): At 0000 local time (0300 UTC) on 7 December 2018, the National Inter-Company Union of Workers of LATAM Airlines (SINLATAM) began a strike at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCEL/SCL), demanding better pay and improved working conditions. More than 270 union members are observing the labor action at the airport, but no reports indicating flight delays or cancellations have emerged thus far. The airline has urged passengers to arrive at the airport early in order to complete check-in procedures.

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 0900 local time (1700 UTC) on 6 December 2018, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700, with registration N752SW, slid off the runway upon landing at California’s Hollywood Burbank Airport (KBUR/BUR). According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the aircraft overshot Runway 8 and came to rest in the engineering material arresting system, which is built to halt aircraft that go past the end of the runway. The aircraft originated in Oakland and was performing flight 278 at the time of the incident. The runway was temporarily shut down following the incident, which caused moderate damage to the aircraft. However, no injuries were reported among the 127 individuals, including five crew members, on board. Los Angeles County — where the airport is located — was under a flood advisory due to heavy rainfall in the area at the time, but it is unknown whether the inclement weather conditions caused or contributed to the incident.


Malaysia (Security threat level – 3): On 8 December 2018, as many as 500,000 demonstrators are expected to gather in Kuala Lumpur along Jalan Raja street across from Merdaka Square to protest against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and to celebrate the government’s recent decision to not ratify the agreement. Authorities stated that the surrounding roads will be closed to vehicular traffic from 0600 local time (2200 UTC on 7 December), and that the rally is scheduled to be held from 1400 to 1800 local time. Police officers will be present at the rally location beginning on 7 December to monitor movement through the area. Additional information is available in the Government Warnings section below.


Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On 8 December 2018, several “yellow vest” protests are expected to take place in Belgium. In Brussels, organizers have called on social media for a demonstration to begin at 1100 local time (1000 UTC) at the Schuman Roundabout, located near the European Commission. Another protest is planned outside of the European Parliament at the same time. Additional demonstrations are planned in the cities of Charleroi, Mons, Liege, Namur and Tournai. Organizers are calling for numerous changes, including an increase to the minimum wage, an increase in public transportation, the strengthening of public services and investment in the fight against tax fraud. Related protests that occurred on 30 November in Brussels turned violent, and violence and travel disruptions are also possible during the 8 December protests.

France (Security threat level – 3): On 8 December 2018, numerous “yellow vest” protests are planned in locations across France. The largest demonstration will occur in Paris, where protesters will march from the Place de la Bastille to the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Elysées. The U.S. Embassy in Paris warned that gatherings are also expected in areas of the 1st, 4th, 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements. Numerous businesses, historical sites and museums — including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and shops along the Champs-Elysées — will be closed on 8 December. In addition, multiple events scheduled for 8 December — including soccer matches and charity events — have been canceled or rescheduled. Related protests are also planned in cities across France.

Authorities will deploy 89,000 security officers throughout France, including 8,000 in Paris. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also announced that at least 12 armored vehicles will be used to monitor protests in Paris, marking the first time such security measures have been used since 2005. The protests, which began in response to a new tax on fuel prices, now encompass numerous demands, including raising the minimum wage and reducing the retirement age. Significant levels of violence occurred at the 1 December demonstrations in Paris and around France, and more than 260 people were injured and 630 were arrested nationwide. Violence and disruptions remain likely during the 8 December protests.

Greece (Security threat level – 3): Violence associated with the commemorative protests in Athens and Thessaloniki, which were previously reported in Hot Spots, continued into the evening and overnight on 6-7 December 2018. In Athens, reports indicate that demonstrators barricaded themselves inside Athens Polytechnic and attacked riot police officers with Molotov cocktails and rocks; the officers responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. Three people were injured and authorities arrested 13 people. Meanwhile, in Thessaloniki protesters and police officers clashed at the Aristotle University Department of Philosophy, and authorities detained 15 people.

Hungary (Security threat level – 2): Trade union members plan to hold a demonstration on 8 December 2018 in Budapest against a new proposal in parliament to change limits on overtime hours. Demonstrators will gather at Jaszai Mari Square at 1000 local time (0900 UTC) and will march to the parliament building. Three opposition groups have also announced that they will participate in the demonstrations.


Jordan (Security threat level – 3): On 6 December 2018, several hundred people gathered in Amman’s Fourth Circle to call on the government to rescind a new income tax law and to demand that the parliament withdraws a cybercrime law from consideration. Protesters blocked roads and called on Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz to resign, but there were no reports of violence. Several government offices and foreign embassies, including the French Embassy and the Spanish Embassy, are located in the Fourth Circle. There were no reports of disruptions associated with the protests at any foreign embassies.


Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 7 December 2018, a fire broke out at the Forte Oil petrol station, which is located inside Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed Airport (DNMM/LOS). According to the Fire Service of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), firefighters arrived at the scene eight minutes after the fire began and prevented the blaze from spreading to other buildings in the vicinity, but they are continuing to battle the fire as of last report. Information on disruptions to flight operations is not currently available. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.


Eritrea (Security threat level – 3): On 7 December 2018, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice for Eritrea, which reads in part as follows: “The FCO advise against all travel within 25km of Eritrea’s land borders, with the exceptions of: the towns of Senafe and Tessenei; the border crossings at Debay Sima – Burre, Serha – Zalambessa and Kesadika (Adi Kuala) – Rama, plus the main paved roads leading to those crossings.”
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 7 December 2018, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Ethiopia, which reads in part as follows: “The FCO now advise against all but essential travel (rather than all travel) to within 10km of the border with Eritrea; this advice does not apply to the main road through Axum and Adigrat, tourist sites close to the road (eg Debre Damo and Yeha), and 3 border crossings and their main access roads; you should take local advice and not walk away from roads or towns unaccompanied.”

Malaysia (Security threat level – 3): On 7 December 2018, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a Travel Advisory that reads in part as follows: “According to media reports, a large-scale rally will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at Dataran Merdeka on 8 December 2018. Current indications are that turnout at the event may number in the tens of thousands. There are also media reports of another large rally taking place in Petaling Jaya at Padang Timur on the same day.
“As with large congregations or demonstrations, there is a possibility that limited and isolated skirmishes might take place. There may also be traffic disruptions and other disturbances that will impact travellers.

“Singaporeans are advised to defer all non-essential travel to Kuala Lumpur for the time being.”

Sierra Leone (Security threat level – 4): On 7 December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Freetown issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Bureh Beach
  • “Event: December 8 to December 9, 2018, a Sierra Leone political organization is hosting a large beach party. As with any large gathering, there is a risk of increased petty crime, including pickpocketing. If travelling south of Freetown, exercise caution and expect large crowds and heavy traffic.
  • “Actions to Take:
    Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings.”