Worldview Security Update – February 19, 2020
19-Feb-20

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 19 February 2020, demonstrators gathered throughout the southern state of Tamil Nadu to protest the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) — which grants citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — as well as the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which would allegedly lead to the deportation of illegal residents. The largest demonstration occurred in Chennai, the state capital. According to authorities, approximately 30,000 protesters were marching from Chennai’s Chepauk area toward the Secretariat building, located approximately 2 km (1 mi) to the south, before police officers stopped the participants along Wallajah Road. Additionally, traffic along Anna Salai Road — a major thoroughfare — was heavily congested between approximately 1030 and 1330 local time (0500-0800 UTC). Elsewhere in the state, approximately 3,000 people attended a demonstration in the city of Tiruchi and 7,000 more gathered in Coimbatore. The demonstrators in Coimbatore gathered along State Bank Road, forcing authorities to close it to vehicular traffic. There were no reports of violence associated with any of the demonstrations.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): As of the afternoon of 19 February 2020, a “dead-city” strike as well as a two-day nationwide protest organized by the opposition National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) coalition have significantly disrupted routine activities in the capital Conakry. Small-scale protests against a potential third term by President Alpha Condé are ongoing in several areas, many businesses are closed and a heavy police presence remains in place across the city. Sporadic clashes between police officers and protesters have occurred, including in Ratoma and Wanindara. Police officers fired tear gas to disperse protesters — who burned tires and debris — along the central Rue le Prince between Hamdallaye and Bambéto. At least one policer officer was injured during the clashes. Additionally, the portion of Rue le Prince between Hamdallaye and Bambéto remains closed to vehicular traffic. Further violence and disruptions are probable in Conakry and elsewhere in Guinea through 20 February.

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 19 February 2020, police officers dispersed a group of approximately 200 ride-share drivers protesting in the upscale Sandton neighborhood of Johannesburg. Police officers fired rubber bullets to disperse the group, which had gathered outside of the Uber corporate office in the neighborhood’s Kramerville area. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The ride-share drivers staged a “go slow” protest along the M1 north and southbound routes to cause transportation delays; the protesters drove from Zoo Lake to Kramerville to protest low wages.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Algeria (Security threat level – 4): On 19 February 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Algiers, Algeria issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Throughout Algeria

"Event: Saturday, February 22 will mark the one-year anniversary of major protests in Algiers and around the country. Social media indicate calls for an increase in the number protests, possibly including Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as an increase in the number of protesters. Although activists continue calling for protestors to remain peaceful and organized, peaceful demonstrations can become violent and a heavy police presence is expected to react quickly to any disturbances. U.S. government personnel are instructed to avoid all areas affected by demonstrations.

"Demonstrations are expected to continue to take place throughout the country in the coming weeks. The Embassy will issue future alerts if the security situation changes significantly or there is specific information or an incident which requires additional messaging."

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 19 February 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued updated travel advice for Colombia, which reads in part as follows: “…a citywide strike is planned in Bogotá on Friday 21 February. In response, local authorities have been implementing additional security measures, including an increased police presence and curfews, at short notice. There could be significant disruption to transport services. You should remain vigilant, allow extra time to reach your destination, and avoid all demonstrations. Monitor local media for the latest information and closely follow the advice of local authorities.”

Togo (Security threat level – 4): On 18 February 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Lomé issued a Security Alert regarding Togo’s land border closures during the upcoming presidential election, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Land borders with Togo

“Event: Presidential elections will take place in Togo on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Togo’s land borders with neighboring countries — Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso — will be closed for 24 hours on election day.

“Actions to Take:

  • Avoid overland travel to or from Togo on Saturday, February 22.
  • Monitor local media for updates.

Avoid crowds and demonstrations.”