Worldview Security Update – April 30, 2019
30-Apr-19

AMERICAS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 29 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a brief shelter-in-place order for all individuals on its premises following reports of gunfire originating from the rear entrance of the facility. In addition, embassy officials urged people traveling to the mission to “find a safe area to shelter in place.” There were no reports of damage or injuries during the episode, which lasted for approximately two hours. While further details regarding the shooting are not available, a number of criminal gangs actively operate in Port-au-Prince and occasionally carry out such shooting incidents in the city, including along Boulevard du 15 Octubre, where the U.S. Embassy is located.

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 29 April 2019, thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Tegucigalpa to protest against two recently ratified bills that will allegedly privatize the country’s health care and education systems. Protesters set fire to at least four buildings, including the Tegucigalpa mayor’s office, and threw Molotov cocktails and other projectiles at police officers, who responded with tear gas. Dozens of people were injured during the clashes, including one who remains in critical condition. The latest protest occurred amid a strike organized by health care workers and teachers, which has been underway since 26 April.

Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): On 30 April 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaidó gathered outside Caracas’ La Carlota air base with a small contingent of soldiers and previously detained activist Leopoldo Lopez to call on the military and the Venezuelan people to take to the streets to oust President Nicolas Maduro. There have been reports of Venezuelan security forces firing tear gas at Guaidó and his supporters outside the air base. There have also been unconfirmed reports live gunfire in the vicinity of the base. As of this writing, Guaidó and his growing number of supporters have gathered at Plaza Altamira. The Venezuelan government has stated that it is confronting a small group of “military traitors,” but that the situation in Caracas remains calm. It has called on its supporters to gather at the presidential palace in Caracas to defend Maduro. Guaidó’s call for action comes one day before he and the opposition were planning to hold the “largest march in the country’s history” on 1 May.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 30 April 2019, Tropical Cyclone Fani was located approximately 1,135 km (705 mi) south-southwest of Kolkata. At that time, the storm was moving northwest at 20 kph (13 mph) and was generating maximum sustained winds of 167 kph, with gusts up to 204 kph. As it moves toward the east coast of India, Fani is expected to intensify. Current forecasts predict that the storm will make landfall in Odisha state by 3 May and will bring heavy rainfall to Kolkata by 4 May.

EUROPE

France / Germany / Greece / Turkey / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3 / 4 / 3): On 1 May 2019, thousands of people are planning to take to the streets to mark International Workers’ Day. The information below highlights some of the most noteworthy developments expected to take place in Europe.

France

In Paris, France, “yellow vest” protesters, labor union members and climate change activists are planning to take to the streets to mark International Worker’s Day and protest against President Emmanuel Macron. Yellow vest protesters are planning to march from the Panthéon in the Latin Quarter of central Paris to Montparnasse. Labor union supporters are planning to march from Montparnasse station to Place d’Italie in the 13th arrondissement. It remains unclear where the climate change activists plan to rally. Government officials have warned of an increased risk of violence and have stepped up security measures ahead of the planned actions. They have also ordered shops to close, remove their outside furniture and barricade their windows.

Germany

In Germany, approximately 20,000 activists are expected to gather in Berlin’s eastern Friedrichshain district to protest against the spread of gentrification in the city. Government officials have warned that the protests could turn violent and have increased police officer presence throughout the city.

Greece

In Athens, Greece, thousands of people are expected to take to the streets, as urban electric railway, trolley bus and bus workers launch a 24-hour strike to demand better wages and working conditions. Metro and tram services will continue to operate in the city, but will begin operations late at 0900 local time (0600 UTC). Authorities at Athens International Airport (LGAV/ATH) have warned travelers that there will be no public transportation to or from the airport between 0500 to 2400 local time. Visitors in Athens should anticipate disruptions.

Turkey

Meanwhile, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned that “demonstrations may occur throughout Turkey on 1 May” and that these demonstrations “have in previous years become violent in some areas.” The FCO has warned its travelers that “road closures may also be in place, causing possible travel disruption.” Visitors should be aware that the potential for clashes between police officers and protesters is particularly high in Istanbul, where tens of thousands of protesters are planning to gather near Taksim Square, where government officials has banned the May Day demonstrations from taking place.

United Kingdom

Meanwhile, security officers at London’s Luton Airport (EGGW/LTN) are expected to go on strike beginning on 1 May to protest against an increase in workload that would lead to a loss in days off. Significant disruptions are expected at the airport through 5 May due to an increase in travelers over the Early May Bank holiday weekend. Negotiations to prevent the strike are ongoing between union and airport officials.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On 29 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Argentina, which reads in part as follows:

“Widespread Trade Union strikes are planned for Tuesday 30 April across Argentina. Strikes are expected to affect public transport, public services and national and international flights. Some roads may be blocked. Check with your airline if you have flights booked for 30 April. Avoid large gatherings, monitor local media and follow the guidance of local authorities.”

South Sudan (Security threat level – 5) : On 29 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for South Sudan, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Further deterioration in the security situation remains a real possibility, and could be prompted by a number of factors including developments in the fragile economy and the ongoing peace process. Tensions may increase as we approach the scheduled formation of a new government on 12 May 2019. In the event of a serious deterioration, similar to those of July 2016 and December 2013, routes in and out of South Sudan may be blocked, Juba airport may be closed or inaccessible, and flights may be suspended at short notice. Regional developments may also increase the unpredictability of infrastructure and transport, as happened recently when events in Sudan led to the temporary closure of South Sudan’s airspace. The main road connecting Juba to Uganda is extremely dangerous, with regular reports of car crashes and attacks on vehicles by armed groups.”
  • Uganda (Security threat level – 4): On 30 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala issued an alert regarding ongoing demonstrations, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Event: Sporadic politically motivated protests and demonstrations are currently being reported and will likely continue to occur tonight and into tomorrow. Some violent acts (tire burning, blocking of traffic) have been reported and other similar disturbances may occur. Armed police are reportedly responding with tear gas and other crowd control measures. Increased traffic congestion in the Kampala area is also likely.
  • “Locations: While it is unknown where demonstrations may occur, the following areas have been reported and are most likely:
  • “Kampala:
  • Kisekka market area
  • Kololo and adjacent 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.