Worldview Security Update – August 16, 2019
16-Aug-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): The right-wing Proud Boys group plans to hold a rally at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Oregon, beginning at 1100 local time (1800 UTC) on 17 August 2019. As many as 1,000 supporters of various right-wing groups are reportedly expected to attend the “End Domestic Terrorism” rally. Meanwhile, the left-wing Rose City Antifa activist group has called on its supporters to stage counterprotests near the park. Authorities will deploy a significant number of riot police officers to the city center in anticipation of clashes between the opposing groups. Individuals in Portland should avoid the vicinity of Tom McCall Waterfront Park due to a high likelihood of violence during the gatherings.

ASIA

Japan (Security threat level – 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Tropical Storm Krosa was located approximately 550 km (340 mi) west of the city of Misawa, Aomori prefecture as of 0900 UTC on 16 August 2019, and was moving north-northeast at 33 kph (21 mph). At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 65 kph with gusts of up to 83 kph. Krosa is forecast to dissipate as it continues to move northeast across the Sea of Japan. A red warning for heavy rainfall is currently in effect in Nagano prefecture, which is located along the western coast of the main island of Honshu. Additionally, the storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall across Hokkaido Island by 17 August. Thus far, there have been at least two storm-related fatalities and 49 people have been injured.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Zimbabwe (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1100 local time (0900 UTC) on 16 August 2019, riot police officers clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters near Africa Unity Square, located in central Harare. Police officers deployed tear gas and water cannons, and used batons and whips to disperse the demonstrators. The protesters gathered despite the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party’s cancellation of the protests planned for later that day after a court upheld a police ban against the protests. Several people were injured in the unrest and police officers arrested a number of protesters.

Security measures in Harare were heightened in anticipation of the demonstrations. Armed riot police officers were deployed across the city and security personnel blocked access to both Africa Unity Square and the MDC’s offices. In addition, security personnel searched buses, private vehicles and taxis at checkpoints and requested identification documents. The majority of businesses in the city were closed ahead of the demonstrations.

Analyst Comment: Increased security measures are likely to remain in effect in several Zimbabwean cities during the week of 19-23 August in anticipation of planned anti-government protests. Protesters plan to stage demonstrations in Bulawayo on 19 August, Gweru on 20 August, Mutare on 21 August and Masvingo on 22 August. As evinced by the events in Harare, security personnel are very prone to use violence. In addition, protesters may proceed with demonstrations, despite calls by the MDC to refrain from protesting in the event that the MDC cancels the protests.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 15 August 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Guatemala, countrywide

"Event: Increase in cases of dengue fever and hemorrhagic fever.

"This message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Guatemala to an increase in reported cases of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) by the Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare to our local office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Due to ideal environmental conditions for the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, Guatemala is currently seeing a sharp increase in cases of dengue fever. Cases of dengue have been reported in the Departments of Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Escuintla, San Marcos, Suchitepéquez, Santa Rosa, Chiquimula, Retalhuleu and Guatemala. Over 300 cases have been reported in the Guatemala City metropolitan area and more than 12,300 cases countrywide.

"Aedes mosquitoes typically live indoors and are often found in dark, cool places such as in closets, under beds, behind curtains, in bathrooms, and on porches.  The risk for dengue is present in both urban and rural areas."

The full text of the Health Alert is available here

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 16 August 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows:

“Location: Moscow, Russia – Academician Sakharov Prospect, near the Garden Ring Road, starting at 11:00, and possible other single-person pickets at various locations along the Boulevard Ring Road around 14:00.

“Event: On Saturday, August 17, protesters plan to gather for an authorized political demonstration at Sakharov Prospect, near the Garden Ring Road, beginning at 11:00. Single-person pickets are also possible around 14:00 at various locations along the Boulevard Ring Road. Demonstrations over the past weeks resulted in mass arrests, and there were eyewitness accounts of excessive use of force against protesters. There were also reports that authorities detained innocent bystanders, and that cellular voice and data services were suppressed near protest areas.

“There is the potential for both authorized and unauthorized demonstrations leading up to Russia’s national election day on September 8. Given the potential for substantial police presence and accounts of excessive use of force by law enforcement, U.S. citizens should avoid these demonstrations and any demonstration-related activities.”