Worldview Security Update – August 6, 2019
6-Aug-19

AMERICAS

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): The Platform for the Defense of Health and Education, a trade group for public workers, has called on its supporters to engage in nationwide demonstrations beginning at 0900 local time (1500 UTC) on 6 August 2019. In the capital Tegucigalpa, protesting teachers and health care workers plan to march along Suyapa Boulevard at 0900 local time and associated disruptions are likely to occur. Protesters are demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernández due to his alleged ties with drug trafficking groups. Related, peaceful protests also took place in the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro on 5 August.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): As of 6 August 2019, protests in Hong Kong have significantly escalated in scale since they began in June. The demands of the protesters have escalated as well. Protests were initially localized to the vicinity of government offices on Hong Kong Island in areas such as Central and Admiralty, but have since expanded to affect areas in Kowloon, New Territories and Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG) on Lantau Island. Moreover, protesters have begun to target symbols of the Chinese government, such as the Hong Kong Liaison Office, as well as police stations where arrested protesters have been held. Road blockades — which were primarily localized to the vicinity of the protest sites in the beginning of the movement — have become a preferred protesting tactic. Protest actions have since expanded to include coordinated campaigns to disrupt public transportation, particularly at Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations, the Cross-Harbor Tunnel and Eastern Harbor Tunnel — which connect Kowloon to Hong Kong Island — and the Lion Rock Tunnel that connects New Territories to Kowloon. Additionally, a general strike on 5 August caused significant transportation disruptions, including at the airport. Although another strike is not currently planned, organizers of the 5 August strike have announced that an additional strike is possible if the government does not accede to the protesters’ demands.

Analyst Comment: Protests are likely to continue in the short to medium term, as neither the protesters nor the Hong Kong government has demonstrated a willingness to back down, and continually escalating violence is also a possibility. Unsubstantiated reports have claimed that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is amassing in the city of Shenzhen, located across the border from Hong Kong, to prepare to crackdown on the protesters. However, at present, it remains unlikely that the PLA will intervene, as that could result in irreparable damage to Hong Kong’s business-friendly environment, and could negatively affect China’s economy, which is currently experiencing reduced growth as a result of the trade dispute with the U.S. As a general precaution, travelers to Hong Kong should avoid all gatherings, and should review trip plans to determine if their hotels or meeting points are located in areas where protests have occurred frequently. Although protests have expanded, such actions are likely to continue taking place more frequently in areas such as Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.

North Korea (Security threat level – 3): On 6 August 2019, the North Korean military launched two missiles from its South Hwanghae province toward the Sea of Japan. South Korean military officials stated that the missiles appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles, which traveled a distance of approximately 450 km (280 mi) east across the peninsula and crashed into the sea. Following the launch, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry accused South Korea and the U.S. of violating previous agreements by holding joint military exercises. North Korea most recently conducted short-range missile tests on 2 August.

South Korea / Japan (Security threat levels – 2 / 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 1800 local time (0900 UTC) on 6 August 2019, Tropical Storm Francisco was located nearly 90 km (55 mi) southeast of Busan, South Korea, and was moving northwest at 33 kph (21 mph). At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 93 kph with gusts of up to 120 kph. Francisco came ashore as a typhoon near Miyazaki, Japan, located in Kyushu prefecture, early on the morning of 6 August and has since weakened into a tropical storm. At least one person was killed, while a number of others were injured due to the storm. Francisco is expected to cross the Korea Strait and pass over the eastern portion of South Korea before entering the Sea of Japan.

Taiwan (Security threat level – 2): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 6 August 2019, Tropical Storm Lekima was located approximately 830 km (515 mi) south of Okinawa, Japan, and was moving north-northwest toward Taiwan at 6 kph (3 mph). At that time, Lekima was generating maximum sustained winds of 58 kph with gusts of up to 75 kph. The storm is currently forecast to make landfall in northeastern Taiwan by 9 August, and could strengthen to become a typhoon by then.

EUROPE

Denmark (Security threat level – 2): Early on 6 August 2019, a Cessna 560XL aircraft with 10 people on board crashed upon landing at Aarhus Airport (EKAH/AAR), located in the city of Tirstrup. The aircraft then caught fire, but firefighters at the scene immediately extinguished the blaze. All seven passengers — including four U.S. citizens, two Austrians, and one U.K. national — and three crew members safely disembarked the aircraft without injuries. Flight operations at the airport were unaffected. The German-registered aircraft was traveling from Oslo to Tirstrup.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Malawi (Security threat level – 3): As of 6 August 2019, demonstrations are ongoing in several cities across Malawi, including Lilongwe and Blantyre, in response to alleged fraud and mismanagement in the 21 May general election. In the capital Lilongwe, several thousand protesters attempted to march from the Simama Hotel to Capitol Hill on the morning of 6 August. Protesters reportedly set fire to at least one armored police vehicle, and police officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd gathered near the hotel. There were no reports of significant injuries during the clashes.

Earlier in the day, Malawi’s High Court issued a ruling that blocked the government’s attempt to ban election-related demonstrations organized by the Human Rights Defender Coalition (HRDC). President Peter Mutharika has stated that the government has not sanctioned demonstrations by the HRDC, and that police officers will disperse such gatherings. Protests are expected to continue in Lilongwe on 7 August, as the HRDC maintains its demand for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairman Jane Ansah.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

France (Security threat level – 3): On 6 August 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for France, which reads in part as follows: “France will host the G7 Summit in Biarritz from 24 to 26 August 2019. Traffic measures will be put in place to manage traffic demands in the local area during and in the run up to this period. The authorities will prohibit road traffic in the centre of Biarritz, redirecting traffic to the A63 motorway. They will extend national restrictions on the movement of heavy goods vehicles in the local area, particularly those carrying especially heavy or Class 1 dangerous goods.”

Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 6 August 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Guatemala

"Event: The Comite de Desarollo Campesino (CODECA) is calling for national strikes in the form of road blockages and demonstrations/marches on August 6, 2019, starting in the early morning. The strikes are expected to impact travel throughout the country, including Guatemala City. Below is a list of potential road blockade locations. CODECA leaders are planning on a minimum of 22 blockade locations. Locations may change, however, without prior notice and blockades may last for an undetermined duration of time. U.S. Embassy operations are normal unless otherwise announced.