Worldview Security Report – March 4, 2019
4-Mar-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): Emergency crews are conducting rescue operations in southeastern Alabama on 4 March 2019, after two tornadoes struck the area the previous day. The tornadoes swept through the town of Beauregard in Lee County, located approximately 55 mi (90 km) northwest of the city of Montgomery, at approximately 1400 local time (2000 UTC). Reports indicate that the first EF-3 tornado recorded winds of up to 165 mph (266 kph); the strength of the second tornado remains unclear, but it struck the same area less than one hour after the first. The two tornadoes caused severe damage to infrastructure, including highways and buildings. Thousands of residents in the region are experiencing power outages in the aftermath of the tornadoes, which were part of a strong storm system that also affected the neighboring states of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Thus far, there have been at least 23 confirmed fatalities, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): On 3 March 2019, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for his supporters to stage large demonstrations on 4 March to coincide with his planned return to Venezuela. Opposition activists have called on supporters to gather at Caracas’ Alfredo Sadel Plaza, as well as other locations across the country. Guaidó did not state how he planned to return to Venezuela. The opposition leader defied a court-ordered travel ban on 23 February to attend a Lima Group meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, and he had previously stated that Venezuelan authorities could arrest him for violating the ban.

ASIA

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 4 March 2019, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued an updated Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which extends the country’s general airspace closure until 1300 local time (0800 UTC) on 5 March. Authorities gave no reason for the delay. That being said, the country’s airspace appears to be partially open, with domestic and direct international flights to Pakistan taking place across the country; only international flights that transit Pakistan airspace remain disrupted. As of 4 March, operations at Faisalabad International Airport (OPFA/LYP) and Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport (OPLA/LHE) have resumed; meanwhile, operations at Karachi Jinna International Airport (OPKC/KHI), Peshawar’s Bacha Khan International Airport (OPPS/PEW), Quetta International Airport (OPQT/UET) and Islamabad International Airport (OPIS/IBD) resumed on 1 March. Additionally, rail services on the Samjhauta Express, which runs from Lahore, Pakistan, to New Delhi, India, resumed on 4 March.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 2 March 2019, “yellow vest” protests continued across France for the 16th consecutive weekend, with an estimated 39,000 people taking part in the protests nationwide. In Paris, approximately 4,000 people marched from the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees to Place Denfert-Rochereau. Police officers used water cannons to disperse protesters on the Champs-Elysees. One protester claims that a rubber bullet hit him in the face. Authorities are investigating the incident. At least nine people were arrested in the capital.

Outside of Paris, tense protests occurred in Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Strasbourg, where protesters threw objects at police officers. Meanwhile, police officers fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in the cities of Alès, Arles, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Morlaix, Nantes and Toulouse. A protester in Bordeaux — who filed a formal complaint — claims that police officers assaulted him with baton. In Nantes, police officers fired tear gas at demonstrators who were throwing fireworks, glass bottles and bottles of acid; several bus shelters, a bank and a travel agency were damaged in the clashes. It is currently unknown how many people were injured throughout France on 2 March.

France (Security threat level – 3): On 2-4 March 2019, rioters clashed with police officers in the town of Grenoble, located approximately 90 km (55 mi) southeast of Lyon, after two teenagers were killed in a vehicle crash during a police chase late on 2 March. Just hours after the accident, protesters attempted to break into a police station in the Mistral district, but police officers fired tear gas to disperse them. Overnight on 2-3 March, protesters set up barricades on roads, torched at least 15 vehicles, and threw Molotov cocktails at police officers, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Late on 3 March, authorities deployed a large police presence in the city amid continuing high tensions. However, overnight on 3-4 March, protesters set fire to several vehicles, trash cans and outdoor furniture, and a fire destroyed the ground floor of a council department building. There have been no reports of arrests or injuries.

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 4 March 2019, strong winds reaching up to 90 kph (55 mph) have disrupted air, road and train travel across the Netherlands. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the Dutch flag carrier airline, has canceled at least 72 European flights for the day. Meanwhile, the winds have downed trees nationwide, resulting in disruptions on several train lines and roads, including the A27 and A29. Authorities have also canceled certain high-speed train services due to safety concerns. High winds are expected to continue throughout the day on 4 March, and additional disruptions are likely.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Albania (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Tirana issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Announced gathering points include, but are not limited to, the following areas in Tirana, Albania:
  • Parliament Building
  • Prime Minister’s Office
  • Other government buildings
  • “Event: Demonstrations are expected to take place when the Albanian Parliament is in session. Exact dates are unknown, but demonstrations may occur on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The group intends to demonstrate against the Albanian government. The duration of the expected demonstrations is unknown. Security forces have used water cannons and tear gas during recent protests.
  • “U.S. Embassy personnel and family members are directed to avoid all gathering points and locations where demonstrations are imminent or ongoing.”

  • 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.