Worldview Security Update – August 26, 2019
26-Aug-19

AMERICAS

Caribbean:
As of 1200 UTC on 26 August 2019, Tropical Storm Dorian was located approximately 330 km (205 mi) east-southeast of Barbados and was moving west at about 22 kph (14 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Dorian was generating maximum sustained winds of 95 kph with higher gusts. Dorian is expected to strengthen as it moves across the eastern Caribbean Sea on 27-28 August and could reach near hurricane strength. Current forecasts predict that the storm will make landfall in the Dominican Republic on 29 August.  

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for Dominica, Martinique and Grenada. In addition, Dorian is expected to bring 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) of rain to Barbados, the Windward Islands and Dominica through 27 August, with isolated maximums of up to 6 inches in Barbados and the Windward Islands. The storm is also expected to produce hazardous surfs and riptide conditions in parts of the Lesser Antilles later on 26 August.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): At 1200 local time (0400 UTC) on 26 August 2019, approximately 40 anti-government demonstrators participated in a silent sit-in protest outside Revenue Tower, located in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district. The protesters reiterated the five demands previously called for by the ongoing anti-extradition protest movement: the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, the withdrawal of criminal charges against protesters, an independent investigation into reports of police violence, universal suffrage and a statement retracting the government’s description of the ongoing protests as "riots." There were no reports of violence, arrests or disruptions at the protest.

On the same day, transportation authorities closed the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) headquarters building and increased security outside the facility, located in Kowloon Bay, following reports that protesters planned to stage demonstrations outside the company headquarters. Protesters called for demonstrations against MTR after the operator closed its stations, located near the locations of scheduled protests on 24 and 25 August. As of last report, the protests did not materialize.

Protesters have called for an “Animal Lovers Rally” in Central district at 1930 local time on 27 August. The organizers listed the five core demands of the anti-extradition movement, addressed above, as their motive for staging the demonstration.

The Confederation of Trade Unions has called for protests outside the Cathay Pacific Airlines offices on Lantau Island, located near Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG), from 1300-2100 local time on 28 August. Organizers had previously planned to hold the protest on 26 August; however, authorities delayed approving the The scheduled protest is still pending approval by authorities in Hong Kong.

Also on 28 August, members of the Hong Kong Women’s Coalition on Equal Opportunities plan to gather at Chater Garden in Central district from 2000-2130 local time in support of the anti-extradition movement. Authorities have yet to approve the demonstration.

Animal rights activists plan to gather from 1945 until 2200 local time on 30 August in Chater Garden. The organizers have asked the police to stop bringing police dogs to the ongoing protests, as tear gas has affected those animals as well as pets in the general area of the protests.

On 31 August members of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) plan to march from Chater Garden in Central district to the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government, located in Hong Kong’s Western district, approximately 2.5 km (1.5 mi) to the west. Previous demonstrations by the CHRF have recorded over 1 million attendees, and high turnout is possible for the aforementioned march.

Protesters plan to demonstrate on 1 September in front of the British Consulate General, located in Hong Kong’s Admiralty area, from 1400 until 1600 local time. The protesters plan to call on the United Kingdom to invalidate the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

China (Security threat level – 3): Over the weekend of 24-25 August 2019, anti-government protesters in Hong Kong engaged in a number of clashes with police officers. On the evening of 25 August, police officers fired tear gas, water cannons and a single warning gunshot to disperse protesters during a violent anti-extradition protest in the Tsuen Wan district. The demonstration turned violent in the evening after hundreds of protesters participated in an authorized demonstration that began near Kwai Chung Sports Ground. The march was scheduled to end at Tsuen Wan Park at 1500 local time (0700 UTC); however, protesters began to erect barricades at intersections along Yeung Uk road, which resulted in a standoff with police officers. During the clashes, police officers used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who responded by throwing bricks, Molotov cocktails and other projectiles at the officers. A police officer fired a single shot into the air after demonstrators surrounded a group of police officers. Groups of protesters later mobilized to various areas of Hong Kong to block roads and erect additional barricades. Police officers arrested 36 people over various offenses, including assaulting police officers, possession of offensive weapons and unlawful assembly. There were no reports of injuries.

On the same day, members of Police Relatives Connection — a group formed by relatives of officers of the Hong Kong police force — organized a protest march in Central district. The activists gathered at Edinburgh Square at 1500 local time and marched to the Chief Executive Office and on to the police headquarters, located in Wan Chai district. According to organizers, approximately 400 demonstrators attended the event. The protesters called for an independent investigation into allegations of police brutality, for Chief Executive Carrie Lam to fulfill demands made by protesters in the ongoing protest movement, and increased efforts by police forces to minimize clashes with protesters. There were no reports of violence at this protest march.

Meanwhile, on 24 August, police officers deployed tear gas and conducted a baton charge to disperse protesters who had set up barricades outside a local police station in Kwun Tong district. The protesters threw bottles, stones and other debris at police officers, who detained a number of participants.

In another development on 24 August, Hong Kong’s Mass Transit railway (MTR) suspended services between Choi Hong Station and Tiu Keng Leng Station from 1200 local time onward. The announcement came one day after the rail operator announced that authorities had granted the service an injunction allowing MTR to cease services immediately if “fights, vandalism or other acts of violence occur” at its stations.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 24 August 2019, hundreds of people gathered in the historic city center of Bayonne, located near the southwestern French coast, to protest various economic issues and to demand action on the issue of climate change. The unauthorized protest occurred as world leaders had gathered for the G7 Economic Summit, which was taking place in nearby Biarritz, located 9 km (6 mi) west of Bayonne. Police officers deployed water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who reportedly threw stones and chanted anti-police slogans. There were no reports of significant injuries; however, police officers arrested at least 68 protesters. French authorities had banned demonstrations in Biarritz and Bayonne for the duration of the G7 Summit, which took place from 24-26 August. More than 13,000 law enforcement and military officers were deployed to secure the Hôtel Palais Biarritz — the G7 Summit venue — and the surrounding areas during the event.

Meanwhile, on the morning 24 August, an estimated 9,000 people participated in an approved march to the town of Irun from Hendaye, located approximately 30 km (18 mi) south of Biarritz near the Spanish border. The march — the participants of which included a number of economic, social, political and environmental activists — concluded peacefully.

Previously, on the evening of 23 August, a smaller group of protesters clashed with police officers near Urrugne. The protesters reportedly blocked a portion of the A63 motorway leading toward Biarritz, and threw projectiles and at least one homemade explosive device toward police officers. Police officers responded with tear gas and arrested at least 17 protesters. At least four people were injured during the clashes.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 25 August 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice regarding protests in Bangladesh, which reads in part as follows: “There have been reports of insecurity, protests and some violence in the areas of Ukhia and Teknaf in the southern part of Cox’s Bazar district, and specifically in the camps in the Teknaf area since 23 August 2019; you should exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities.”

China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 August 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for China regarding border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong, which reads in part as follows: “In light of ongoing protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong, there are reports of greater scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong. This includes reports that travellers’ electronic devices have been checked at border crossings. You should be aware that the thresholds for detention and prosecution in China differ from those in Hong Kong.”