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Worldview Security Report – January 8, 2019
8-Jan-19

ASIA

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 8 January 2019, thousands of striking factory workers clashed with police officers in Dhaka as they held protests to demand higher wages. At least 12 textile and garment factories were closed as workers walked off the job. Demonstrations occurred in several of Dhaka’s districts, including Mirpur, Uttara and Gazipur, as well as the suburb of Ashulia. Demonstrators also blocked traffic along Airport Road leading to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (VGHS/DAC) for several hours. Clashes were reported when an estimated 5,000 workers blocked a national highway at Hemayetpur, located outside Dhaka, for several hours. Protesters threw rocks at police officers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them. At least one protester was killed while at least 12 police officers and 50 protesters were also injured.

India (Security threat level – 3): On 8 January 2019, union leaders estimated that approximately 200 million workers participated in the first day of a 48-hour nationwide strike to protest against alleged “anti-worker” government policies. The strike was most strongly adhered to in the states of West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka, where most public services were disrupted. In Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, protesters blocked train tracks, set fire to several vehicles and threw stones at police officers. Authorities arrested at least 100 protesters. Similar protests occurred throughout Kerala and Karnataka states, where demonstrators blocked train tracks and major roads. In Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka, there was one instance of protesters throwing stones at buses in the Basaveshwaranagar neighborhood. There were no reports of arrests. There were also no reports of significant violence or arrests in Kerala.

EUROPE

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 8 January 2019, approximately 300 flights were canceled at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport (EHAM/AMS) due to inclement weather. The majority of the affected flights are those operated by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. In a statement, the airline reported that runway capacity at the airport is highly restricted due to heavy winds and that it expects only one of the airport’s six runways will be in operation all day. The inclement weather is expected to continue through 9 January, and dozens of flights on that day have already been canceled. Passengers should contact their airline before traveling to the airport.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Gabon (Security threat level – 3): As of the morning of 8 January 2019, conditions are calm in Libreville following a foiled coup attempt the previous morning. Traffic flow is normal throughout the city, including along Boulevard Triomphal, which coup plotters had blocked during the episode. Media reports indicate that some schools are open. Moreover, there are no power outages and national television and radio media channels are operational, according to media reports. The status of the country’s internet connectivity is currently unclear; while media reports state that an internet blackout remained in effect in the capital on the morning of 8 January, other reports suggest that internet connectivity throughout Gabon was restored as of 1000 local time (1100 UTC). Security personnel have increased the number of motorized police patrols in the city.

Meanwhile, further details have emerged regarding the attempted coup. While early reports on 7 January indicated that security forces had arrested four coup plotters and were in pursuit of a fifth, subsequent reports stated that two were shot dead and three others were detained. Moreover, a statement by a leader of the opposition Coalition for the New Republic — which has denied any connection to the coup attempt — revealed that security personnel also conducted searches of vehicles on main thoroughfares in Libreville on 7 January.

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 8 January 2019, two trains collided north of Pretoria near Mountain View station. The accident occurred when a commuter train crashed into a stationary train that was traveling on the same line from Mabopane to Pretoria. At least four people were killed in the crash, while at least 300 others were injured. The cause of the crash remains unclear. Trains running between Pretoria, Mabopane and Dewildt are temporarily suspended as emergency personnel respond to the accident; authorities are deploying buses to provide service to stranded commuters.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Austria (Security threat level – 2): On 8 January 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Austria, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Continued heavy snowfall is forecast in the Austrian Alps over several days from Tuesday 8 January. This could cause travel disruption and heightened risk of avalanches in some areas. For the latest travel information, contact your transport provider and/or tour operator.”

  • Gabon (Security threat level – 3): On 7 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Libreville issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Countrywide
  • “Event: In light of recent anti-government activity, the U.S. Embassy has requested that Embassy personnel restrict their movements to the area north of Léon-Mba International Airport from dusk tonight until dawn tomorrow. Embassy personnel and their families are advised to continue to exercise increased caution tomorrow by avoiding the downtown area and limiting unnecessary travel.
  • “Although the Léon-Mba International Airport is open at this time, a number of flights have been cancelled. Those who plan to travel in the next few days should contact the airport or their airline to confirm flight status.
  • “The U.S. Embassy is monitoring the situation and will send updated alerts as additional information becomes available.”

  • Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 8 January 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Germany, which reads in part as follows:

  • “According to local reports, there is heavy snowfall and a high risk of avalanches in southern Germany at present. Due to heavy snowfall in Bavaria and more expected, the infrastructure has been affected. You should check your journey before travelling.”

  • Madagascar (Security threat level – 3): On 8 January 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Madagascar, which reads in part as follows:

  • “The final results of the Presidential election are expected to be announced on 8 January 2019. Due to the possibility of violence, you should avoid large gatherings and political demonstrations, including those taking place in the area around Independence Square (“La Place du 13 mai”) and the Town Hall. You should monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.”

  • 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.

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