Worldview Security Report – February 18, 2019
18-Feb-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1330 local time (1930 UTC) on 15 February 2019, a 45-year-old gunman opened fire inside a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, located approximately 40 mi (65 km) west of Chicago. The gunman killed five people before he was shot and killed by police officers in a shootout; five police officers were also wounded before the assailant was neutralized. The immediate area surrounding the site was on lockdown during the incident. The assailant had worked at the firm for the past 15 years and carried out the attack after he was informed that he was being terminated.

AUSTRALASIA

New Caledonia / South Pacific Islands (Security threat levels – 1 / 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 18 February 2019, Tropical Cyclone Oma was located approximately 520 km (280 mi) northwest of Nomea, New Caledonia, and was moving southwest at a speed of 20 kph (13 mph). At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 83 kph with gusts up to 101 kph. Authorities in New Caledonia have issued a cyclone alert for the country’s North province and warned that rough seas, flooding and damaging winds should be expected throughout the day.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 16 February 2019, thousands of people took to the streets across France for the 14th consecutive weekend of “yellow vest” protests. In Paris, several thousand protesters marched from the Champs-Elysees to the Park Esplanade des Invalides, where protesters threw projectiles at police officers, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. During the march, police officers also intervened when a group of protesters reportedly harassed and made anti-Semitic remarks toward a prominent philosopher, who had criticized the yellow vest movement. President Emmanuel Macron later called the philosopher to express his support and issued a statement condemning anti-Semitism. At least 15 people were detained during the protests in Paris.

Outside of the capital, there were reports of clashes in Lyon and Bordeaux where protesters vandalized local businesses, set fire to trash and threw objects at police officers, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. In Toulouse, a group of protesters attempted to block a local depot belonging to Amazon, the American retail company. In Rouen, a motorist drove his vehicle through a crowd of protesters, injuring four people.

Authorities stated that approximately 41,500 people participated in the protests nationwide, while 5,000 people took part in the protests in Paris. There were no reports regarding the overall number of people injured or detained in France.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On 15 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Announced gathering points include, but are not limited to, the following neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
    Palermo
  • “Events: A demonstration is expected to take place Monday, February 18, beginning at 5 p.m. at Plaza Italia. The demonstration is then expected to move in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires. Police sources estimate upwards of 500 protestors could participate in the march, organized by a group known to incite disorder. The group intends to protest U.S. policy and recent actions towards Venezuela. You should expect traffic disruptions in the area.
  • “The U.S. Embassy reminds that even peaceful demonstrations have the potential to become confrontational and violent without

  • warning.”

  • Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 16 February 2019, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued updated travel advice for Haiti, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Since 7 February, there have been violent protests and road blocks in Port-au-Prince and other cities in Haiti. There are reports of fuel and food shortages. Remain vigilant, avoid crowds and protests as they may quickly turn violent, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities. Limit your movements as much as possible, stock up on essential supplies when safe to do so and regularly review your departure options. Commercial flights remain available. We have increased the level of advice for Haiti to ‘reconsider your need to travel’.”

  • Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 15 February 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Tijuana, Baja California
  • “Event: Since August 2018 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed multiple cases of antibiotic-resistant infections in U.S. patients following surgery at the Grand View Hospital in Tijuana. The most recent cases relate to surgeries performed in mid-January 2019. The U.S. Mission to Mexico has advised U.S. government employees to avoid seeking medical treatment at the Grand View Hospital until further notice. Refer to CDC’s Travelers’ Health Alert on Drug-Resistant Infections in Mexico for additional information and future updates.”

  • Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 18 February 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Nigeria regarding elections, which reads in part as follows:

  • “The Presidential and National Assembly elections will now take place on 23 February and the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections on 9 March. In the run up to the elections, protests in Abuja and other Nigerian states including Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Rivers are of particular concern. Public gatherings and demonstrations may take place at short notice and have the potential to turn violent. You should continue to avoid rallies, public gatherings and demonstrations and monitor local media.”

  • 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.