Worldview Security Update – June 11, 2019
11-Jun-19

AMERICAS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): Haitians embarked on the second straight day of nationwide demonstrations to demand investigations into allegations of government corruption on 10 June 2019. In Port-au-Prince, businesses, government offices and schools were closed, and public transportation services were suspended. Protesters in the city blocked roads, burned tires and threw stones. In one episode of unrest, protesters set fire to vehicles belonging to a local radio station accused of working for the government. In another episode of violence in the capital, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse protesters near the presidential palace. Similar demonstrations occurred in the cities of Saint-Marc (Artibonite), Gonaïves (Artibonite), Jacmel (Sud-Est) and Cap-Haïtien (Nord).

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): The Platform for the Defense of Health and Education has called on its supporters to resume nationwide demonstrations beginning at 0700 local time (1300 UTC) on 11 June 2019. In the capital Tegucigalpa, protesting teachers and health care workers plan to gather in the La Granja neighborhood at 1300 local time. Elsewhere in the capital, students at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) and the National Pedagogical University of Francisco Morazán (UPNFM) have closed their campuses for the day in support of the planned protests. As of this writing, no reports of protest actions have emerged from elsewhere in Honduras; however, street protests are highly likely to occur later in the day. There is also a high probability of clashes between protesters and police officers, as the government has pledged to maintain law and order. Teachers and health care workers in the country have been observing a strike for the past five weeks in protest of proposed government reforms, which allegedly privatize the health care and education sectors.

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1400 local time (1800 UTC) on 10 June 2019, an Augusta A 109E helicopter crash landed on the roof of a New York City high-rise building, located just north of Midtown Manhattan’s Times Square, and caught on fire. Occupants of the building were evacuated while firefighters contained the blaze. Police officers temporarily cordoned off a portion of 7th Avenue between West 51st and West 52nd streets in Manhattan, disrupting traffic in the area. The pilot of the helicopter — who was the only individual aboard — was killed in the accident; there were no other injuries or fatalities on the ground. The helicopter had departed from the 34th Street heliport, located on the east side of Manhattan, and was flying in a restricted airspace at the time of the accident. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials have launched a probe into the crash.

Uruguay (Security threat level – 2): On 10 June 2019, the Autonomous Union of Workers and Gas Employees (UAOEGAS) embarked on an indefinite strike over a labor dispute with the Petrobras company. Workers stated that they still intend to ensure the essential supply of gas to customers. Workers have established a protest camp outside the Petrobras offices in the Plaza Independencia, which is located in central Montevideo. The union launched the strike after Petrobras rejected a proposal to set up a negotiating table.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): As of 11 June 2019, several anti-extradition bill demonstrations are planned in Hong Kong on the same day. In an online petition, protest organizers called for 50,000 people to gather outside the city’s Legislative Council building beginning at 2300 local time (1500 UTC) through 12 June to demand Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation. Public transportation workers have announced plans to drive at slower speeds, while nearly 2,000 businesses vowed to remain closed in a citywide strike. The Legislative Council closed off the building’s designated protest area and parts of Tamar Park adjacent to the council building until 16 June. Authorities plan to deploy approximately 5,000 police officers to maintain order. The announcement follows large-scale anti-extradition bill demonstrations in Hong Kong on 9 June. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the demonstrations to protest against the proposed extradition bill, which will allow extraditions to mainland China, in addition to other jurisdictions. Legislators are scheduled to begin debating the bill on 12 June and vote on it by 20 June.

India (Security threat level – 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 11 June 2019, Tropical Cyclone Vayu was located approximately 1,140 km (708 mi) south-southeast of Karachi, Pakistan. At that time, the storm was moving north-northeast at 13 kph (8 mph) and was generating maximum sustained winds of 102 kph, with gusts up to 130 kph. Vayu is currently expected to make landfall in India’s southern Gujarat state by 13 June. Authorities in Gujarat plan to begin evacuations of coastal areas on 12 June. Coastal communities in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra states may also experience increased rainfall as the storm moves toward Gujarat.

Kazakhstan (Security threat level – 3): On 11 June 2019, police officials announced that police forces in Almaty had been placed on high alert and arrested approximately 200 people in ongoing election-related protests. In addition, a heavy police presence was reported across the city.

In a related development, late on 10 June, police officers reportedly disrupted a crowd of approximately 200 opposition protesters who were marching to celebrate the release of a prominent opposition figure following a protest outside the police headquarters. At least one journalist was injured in clashes with police officers, according to local media.

Analyst Comment: Large-scale demonstrations to protest the 9 June elections have been ongoing in Kazakhstan since 9 June. Reports indicate that police officers have arrested at least 700 demonstrators thus far. Protests of this scale and intensity are exceedingly rare in the country. Travelers should monitor the situation closely and avoid areas where protests are ongoing.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 11 June 2019, demonstrations took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the second consecutive day over critical remarks made against President Félix Tshisekedi at a recent National Assembly meeting. In Lubumbashi, police officers fired tear gas at Tshisekedi supporters, who attempted to storm the offices of former President Joseph Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). Elsewhere in the city, demonstrators burned tires on the Boulevard du 30 juin and outside the Haut Katanga Provincial Assembly. In Kinshasa, approximately 20 activists gathered in the vicinity of the Palais du Peuple, the seat of the National Assembly. A large number of security personnel were deployed around the building in anticipation of the demonstration, but there were no reports of violence. The previous day, hundreds of stone-throwing protesters had attempted to storm the Palais du Peuple, prompting police officers to fire tear gas and arrest one person.

Meanwhile, on 10 June, supporters of opposition leader Moise Katumbi held a violent demonstration in Goma to protest the cancellation of his planned visit to the city. The protesters, who had gathered at Goma International Airport (FZNA/GOM) to welcome Katumbi, used stones to block roads and also vandalized private vehicles in the vicinity of the facility. Security personnel dispersed the protesters. This is the second time Katumbi’s visit to the city has been postponed.
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): As of 1030 local time (0730 UTC) on 11 June 2019, Ethiopian authorities have blocked access to social media platforms nationwide. While authorities have not given an official explanation for the social media shutdown, it is possible that the action is an attempt to prevent cheating during the second day of national secondary school final exams. Ethiopia blocked internet access during final exams to prevent cheating in 2017.

Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.