Worldview Security Update – July 19, 2019
19-Jul-19

AMERICAS

Puerto Rico (Security threat level – 2): Protesters in Puerto Rico plan to stage demonstrations calling for Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation later on 19 July 2019. In San Juan, the capital, protesters plan to gather at Bahía Urbana at 1700 local time (2100 UTC) and march to La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion located in Viejo San Juan. The protesters have also called for a “cacerolazo” — a demonstration that involves banging pans and pots — across the island beginning at 2000 local time. Individuals in San Juan should avoid the vicinity of La Fortaleza to the greatest extent possible due to the possibility of violence as evinced during the 17 July demonstrations.

United States (Security threat level – 2) : On the morning of 19 July 2019, a transmission explosion occurred at Madison Gas and Electric’s main power station, located on the near East Side in Madison, Wisconsin, and a fire broke out at the scene. A second explosion and subsequent fire were then reported at a substation near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. As of the latest reports, emergency crews are responding to the blazes at the sites, which have left approximately 13,000 homes in the city center area without electricity. Local officials have cordoned off the immediate areas surrounding both plants and have urged individuals in the vicinity to avoid those areas.

ASIA

Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): Early on 19 July 2019, a car bomb targeted students near the entrance to Kabul University, located in western Kabul. At least eight people were killed and 33 others were injured in the bombing. Police officers later defused a second explosive device placed near the site of the blast. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

China (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1750 local time (0950 UTC) on 19 July 2019, an explosion occurred at a gas plant in Sanmenxia, Henan province. Buildings within 3 km (2 mi) sustained varying degrees of damage, including shattered windows. Multiple people were injured in the event; the exact number of casualties is unknown.

China (Security threat level – 3): The Civil Human Rights Front (CHFR) plans to hold a protest march beginning at 1500 local time (0700 UTC) on 21 July 2019. The rally will begin at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and is scheduled to conclude at the Court of Final Appeal in Central district. However, authorities issued a formal notice demanding that the protest end at Luard Road in Wan Chai by 2100 local time due to public safety concerns. Previous CHFR protests have drawn hundreds of thousands of attendees, and it is likely that the upcoming protest will also have a large turnout.

Meanwhile, a pro-government demonstration will be held in Admiralty’s Tamar Park at 1700 local time on 20 July in response to ongoing anti-government protests that have periodically become violent. The number of expected attendees for the protest remains unknown.

South Korea (Security threat level – 2): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 19 July 2019, Tropical Storm Danas was located approximately 695 km (432 mi) south-southwest of the United States’ Kunsan Air Base, located in Gunsan, South Korea. At that time, the storm was moving north at a speed of 20 kph (13 mph) and producing maximum sustained winds of 83 kph with gusts up to 102 kph, as well as waves up to 6 m (20 ft) in height. Danas is forecast to pass over Jeju Island early on 20 July and make landfall in South Jeolla province later the same day. The storm is expected to produce heavy rains and strong winds as it approaches South Korea, including in Shanghai, China. Jeju International Airport (RKPC/CJU) remains open, but multiple arrival and departure flights have been canceled ahead of the storm’s anticipated landfall.

EUROPE

Greece (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1410 local time (1110 UTC) on 19 July 2019, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck approximately 23 km (14 mi) northwest of Athens. The quake had an estimated depth of 12 km. The earthquake disrupted mobile telecommunications and caused power outages in parts of Athens, but there were no reports of injuries or major damage.

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 19 July 2019, a Nordwind Airlines flight to Yerevan, Armenia, aborted takeoff at Sheremetyevo International Airport (UUEE/SVO) in Moscow when smoke filled the cabin during runway acceleration. The aircraft was removed from the runway and parked on the taxiway, and authorities evacuated all 179 people onboard. There was no fire onboard the aircraft; authorities have opened an investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the smoke. At least eight people suffered injuries as a result of the incident.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 19 July 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Ethiopia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Some tensions remain in parts of Southern Nations Region following the announcements on a referendum about the creation of a Sidama Region. There are extra security forces on the streets of Hawassa city, and many shops and businesses have closed as of 19 July. If you’re in the area you should exercise extra caution and follow the advice of local authorities.”
  • France (Security threat level – 3): On 19 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Security Alert for large gatherings across France, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Paris, Marseille, and other major cities including, but not limited to Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, and Toulon.
  • “Event: Large gatherings in Paris, Marseille, and other major cities in France are expected on Friday, July 19, 2019, following the Africa Cup of Nations final soccer match between Algeria and Senegal. The match begins at 9:00 p.m.
  • “Celebrations following earlier matches in the tournament included dangerous driving, vandalism, destruction of property, and trash fires in popular tourist areas. In Paris, this included the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, and along the Seine River. In Marseille, the unrest was largely focused along the Vieux Port and up La Canabière through the neighborhood of Noailles.
  • “You should expect increased police presence and traffic and transit disruptions.”
  • Malawi (Security threat level – 3): On 18 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Nationwide
  • “Event: The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) called for mass demonstrations to continue until Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chair Jane Ansah resigns. Though organizers consistently have called for peaceful protest, looting and violence have occurred during recent demonstrations throughout Malawi’s major cities.
  • “On Friday, July 19, there are planned demonstrations in all cities and districts throughout Malawi. The U.S. Embassy will be open Friday, July 19 with reduced staffing and limited operations.
  • “Travel for Embassy personnel within Lilongwe is restricted to residential neighborhoods and the airport on July 19. No out-of-town travel is authorized, whether work-related or personal, for Friday, July 19.”
  • Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 18 July 2019, the U.S. Department of State updated its Travel Advisory for Peru and upgraded its level of advice to “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.” The advisory reads in part as follows:

    “Exercise increased caution in Peru, due to crime and Pan American / Parapan American Games. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

  • “Do not travel to:
  • The Colombian – Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region due to crime.
  • The Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM), including areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin, due to crime and terrorism.
  • “Crime, including petty theft, carjackings, muggings, assaults, and violent crime, is a concern in Peru, and can occur during daylight hours, despite the presence of many witnesses. The risk of crime increases after hours and outside the capital city of Lima where more organized criminal groups have been known to use roadblocks to rob victims.
  • “U.S. government personnel cannot travel freely throughout Peru for security reasons.
  • “Peru will host the Pan American Games from July 26 to August 11, 2019, and Parapan American Games August 23 to September 1. U.S. citizens should be aware major events are a prime opportunity for thieves and other criminal elements to prey upon unsuspecting tourists.”
  • Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 18 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Ukraine – Kyiv and countrywide
  • “Event: Parliamentary elections in Ukraine will take place on July 21. The risk of violence is heightened during election periods, and in the lead-up to previous elections some election-related demonstrations have resulted in violence.”
  • Zambia (Security threat level – 3): On 19 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Parliament Road, Lusaka
  • “Event: Demonstrations are expected to take place on Saturday, July 20, 2019, beginning at 11:00 a.m. The group intends to protest the Zambian government, focusing on issues of corruption, increases of public debt, and the abuse of public resources. Although most protests in Zambia are peaceful, these gatherings can attract large groups of supporters and at the minimum, may impede traffic and cause significant delays.
  • “The demonstrations will likely result in increased police presence around the area and the closure of Parliament Road. This may affect vehicular movement on Great East Road between Manda Hill Shopping Center and the traffic circle at Arcades Shopping Center.
  • “U.S. government personnel are advised to avoid those areas while the demonstrations are ongoing.”