Worldview Security Report – May 16, 2019
16-May-19

AMERICAS

Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 15 May 2019, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in more than 200 cities across Brazil to protest against education budget cuts. One of the largest demonstrations was held in the capital Brasilia, where approximately 7,000 people marched to the Congress building. The rally in Rio de Janeiro turned violent toward the end of the event, when assailants shot fireworks at police officers and set fire to a bus; police officers responded by firing tear gas and percussion grenades. There were no reports of injuries. The protests were the first nationwide demonstrations against President Jair Bolsonaro since he took office in January 2019.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 15 May 2019, Mexico City’s education ministry ordered schools to close on 16 May due to potentially harmful levels of pollution. The measure affects both public and private schools in the metropolitan area. Two universities — the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Polytechnic Institute — have also suspended classes for the day. Officials did not specify how long the suspension of classes will last.

Venezuela / United States (Security threat levels – 4 / 2): On 15 May 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered aviation operators to cease all passenger and cargo flights between the U.S. and Venezuela, citing “conditions in Venezuela [that] threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft and crew.” The order also specifically references “reports of civil unrest and violence in and around the airports,” as well as U.S. officials’ “inability to gain access to Venezuelan airports to conduct required security assessments,” other major carrier’s decisions to cancel all services and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued earlier this month, which prohibits U.S. aircraft from flying below 26,000 ft (7,924 m) over Venezuelan territory. A number of Venezuelans have expressed concerns that the measure will affect the delivery of humanitarian aid.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 16 May 2019, armed militants and soldiers exchanged gunfire in the town of Pulwama, located in southern Indian-administered Kashmir. The gunfight took place after militants opened fire on soldiers conducting a search operation. A total of five people — including three militants, one soldier and a civilian — were killed in the attack, while two other soldiers and a civilian were injured. At least one home was damaged in the clash. Following the incident, hundreds of residents attempted to march to Pulwama to show their support for the militants. Protesters threw stones at security forces, who responded by firing shotgun pellets and tear gas. There were no reports of serious injuries resulting from the protest clashes.

EUROPE

Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On 16 May 2019, Belgian air traffic controllers launched an unplanned strike against Skeyes, Belgium’s air navigation and traffic service provider for civil airspace, to demand better pay and working conditions. The strike forced Brussels Airport (EBBR/BRU) and Brussels South Charleroi Airport (EBCI/CRL) to cancel more than 50 flights. While the strike ended at 1300 local time (1100 UTC), delays are expected to persist throughout the day. Airport authorities have advised passengers to check the status of their flight with their respective airline.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 16 May 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued updated travel advice for Benin, which reads as follows:

  • “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 5 km of the border with Burkina Faso.”
  • Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 16 May 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Be alert to the risk of street crime and armed robbery at all times. Foreigners are at particular risk of street robbery in Kinshasa, especially near hotels and supermarkets in the centre of town. Robberies by gangs of street children are increasingly common and can be aggressive. Recent months have seen an increase in such criminal activity in and around the city of Lubumbashi including violent robbery.”
  • South Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 16 May 2019, the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan issued a Security Alert regarding protests in Juba, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Juba
  • “Event: Unconfirmed calls for demonstrations in Juba have been reported for Thursday, May 16 starting in Freedom Square. There has been an increase in security forces throughout Juba. Road closures and impeded traffic flow could occur. U.S. Embassy personnel movements will be restricted from Wednesday evening until Friday morning.”
  • Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 3): On 16 May 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo issued a Security Alert regarding recent violence that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Nationwide, Sri Lanka.
  • “Event: The Sri Lankan government has declared local and island-wide curfews recently due to communal unrest in the northwest region of the country. Additional curfews and checkpoints are possible with little notice over the coming holiday weekend.
  • “The U.S. Embassy reminds American citizens of the current Level 3 Travel Advisory (Reconsider Travel). Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, hospitals, and other public areas.”
  • 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.