AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On 10 January 2019, tens of thousands of people marched in central Buenos Aires to protest against the government’s austerity policies. Organizers estimated that more than 20,000 people participated in the demonstration against rising public service and utility prices, which some local media sources estimated have increased by 2,000 percent since President Mauricio Macri took office. The protest is expected to be the first of a series of weekly demonstrations that organizers plan to hold through February 2019. There were no reports of arrests or violence at the march.
Cuba (Security threat level – 2): On 10 January 2019, a bus carrying 40 tourists — including 22 foreign nationals — crashed on a highway between the towns of Baracoa and Guantanamo in eastern Cuba. At least seven people were killed and five others were critically injured in the crash. According to Cuban state media, visitors from Canada, France, Mexico, the Netherlands and the U.K. were on board; however, the nationalities of those killed or injured remain unknown. The bus crashed after the operator lost control of the vehicle on the winding and wet roadway.
France (Security threat level – 3): As of 11 January 2019, “yellow vest” protests are expected to take place across France for a ninth consecutive Saturday on 12 January. The U.S. Embassy in Paris has warned that protests are possible in Paris, Amiens, Avignon, Bordeaux, Bourges, Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Nice, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg and Toulouse. The embassy stated that Paris protests are likely in the 1st, 4th, 6th 7th, 8th, 15th, 16th and 17th arrondissements and that potential gathering points include along the Champs-Elysees, Boulevard Saint-Germain, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Madeleine, Place de la Bastille, Place de la République, Place Saint-Michel, the National Assembly, the Champs de Mars, the Eiffel Tower, Porte de Versailles and Porte Maillot, affecting traffic on the Périphérique ring road. In addition, approximately 15,000 people have expressed interest on social media in a protest in the La Défense area of Paris.
In Toulouse, protesters will gather at the Minimes Metro station at 1000 local time (0900 UTC) and then demonstrate at the Place du Capitole at 1230 local time; protesters will then march to the Jean Jaurès metro station at 1400 local time. In Bourges, located approximately 200 km (120 mi) south of Paris, approximately 13,000 people have expressed interest on social media in an event in the city center. Bourges authorities have banned demonstrations from taking place in the city center on 12 January and have taken several precautionary measures, including closing several public sites, such as the town hall, museums and city gardens; they are also removing parking meters.
According to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, at least 80,000 security personnel will be deployed nationwide on 12 January, with at least 5,000 in Paris, to monitor the protests. Yellow vest protests in France have resulted in significant violence, material damage and traffic disruptions since they began on 17 November, and further disruptions and instances of violence are likely on 12 January.
Italy (Security threat level – 3): Beginning at 1300 local time (1200 UTC) on 11 January 2019, Italian air traffic controllers went on strike, disrupting flights across the country. Workers at the area control centers (ACC) in Rome, Milan and Brindisi are participating in the strike, affecting domestic and international flights to and from Italy. In addition, staff members at Turin’s Caselle International Airport (LIMF/TRN), Perugia’s Umbria International Airport (LIRZ/PEG), Pescara’s Abruzzo Airport (LIBP/PSR), Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (LICC/CTA) and Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport (LIMJ/GOA) are participating in the labor action. The strike is scheduled to end at 1700 local time.
While Italian law stipulates that a minimum level of service must be met during labor actions, and certain flights — including inbound intercontinental flights — are not subject to the strike action, significant delays, rescheduling and cancellations have been reported. Additionally, Italian airline Alitalia has canceled more than 100 flights. Those traveling to or from Italy on 11 January are advised to contact their airline before traveling to the airport.
Serbia / Montenegro / Bosnia and Herzegovina (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 3): As of 11 January 2019, heavy snowfall in the Balkan region has resulted in severe traffic and power supply disruptions, and officials in several countries have introduced emergency measures to deal with the snowstorm. In Serbia, four southwestern municipalities introduced emergency measures after snow began to accumulate on roads and cut off remote villages. In Montenegro, several towns were left without electricity after particularly heavy snowfall on 10 January. In Bosnia, snowfall has also disrupted power supplies and communications.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): As of 11 January 2019, demonstrations have continued across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following the announcement that opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi had won the country’s presidential election. While some rallies have been peaceful, some have turned violent. For example, on 11 January, security forces clashed with thousands of supporters of Martin Fayulu demonstrating against Felix Tshisekedi’s victory in Mbandaka (Equateur province). Police officers fired tear gas and live rounds, and engaged in running battles with protesters, who burned tires and erected barricades; several people were injured and an unspecified number of others were arrested. Meanwhile in the capital Kinshasa, police officers used tear gas and engaged in running battles with Fayulu supporters who were attempting to hold a rally.
On 10 January, violence occurred at several demonstrations to protest against the election outcome. Violence was reported at protests in Kinshasa, Kisangani (Tshopo province) and Kikwit (Kwilu province). In Kinshasa, Tshisekedi supporters clashed with pro-Fayulu demonstrators in the Kimbanseke, Ngaba and Lemba municipalities; at least two people were killed, while 22 people were injured and 13 others were arrested in the violence in the capital.
Security incidents were also reported at celebratory events on 10 January. In Mbuyi-Mayi (Kasaï-Oriental province), security personnel reportedly used live gunfire to disperse demonstrators celebrating Tshisekedi’s victory; several people were injured. Meanwhile in Kananga (Kasaï-Occidental province), security personnel also used live gunfire to disperse a crowd of celebrants, injuring three people. Police officers also used live ammunition to disperse celebrants in Tshikapa (Kasaï province), killing three people.
Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On the morning of 10 January 2019, a passenger train derailed in the Agege area of Lagos state due to faulty tracks at the level crossing. The train had been traveling with full capacity from Iju to Ebute-Metta via Oshodi and derailed along the Mangoro-Agege axis; at least one person was killed and several others were injured. Emergency and security personnel arrived on the scene to care for the injured and manage the incident. The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) repaired the tracks and normal operations have since resumed.
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 11 January 2019, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association called for a major rally to be held in Khartoum on 13 January and for nationwide protests to be held across Sudan the following week. The group’s calls to protest were issued as its members gathered in the eastern town of Atbara — where the demonstrations began — after midday prayers on 11 January. Reports indicate the 11 January protests also involved several hundred people gathering in Khartoum and Omdurman, and that police officers used tear gas and live fire to disperse the demonstrators, killing at least three people. The Sudanese Professionals’ Association has been spearheading the demonstrations to demand President Omar al-Bashir’s resignation over rising bread prices since December 2018. Officials reported that 22 people have died in clashes between police officers and protesters since the protests began, while non-governmental organizations estimate that at least 40 people have been killed.
Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 11 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bern issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
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.