Worldview Security Update – June 25, 2019
25-Jun-19

AMERICAS

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 24 June 2019, military police officers clashed with hundreds of student protesters near the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) in eastern Tegucigalpa. The demonstrators blocked traffic along Suyapa Boulevard — the city’s major thoroughfare — and threw stones, Molotov cocktails and other projectiles at security personnel, who deployed tear gas to disperse the protesters. Approximately 40 military police officers at the scene then entered the campus premises and fired live ammunition toward the protesters. At least eight students suffered non-life threatening injuries during the clashes.

Analyst Comment: Protests and strikes against the government-proposed reforms to restructure the health care and education sectors have remained ongoing in Honduras since late May 2019. Students, teachers and health care workers protesting the proposed reforms maintain that the government is attempting to privatize the education and health care sectors and are calling for the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

EUROPE

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 25 June 2019, Transport Company of the Municipality of Rome (ATAC) union members embarked on a 24-hour public transportation strike in Rome. The strike has affected ATAC-operated buses, trams, the metro and light rail services. Trenitalia’s operations — which include the overground train to Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport (LIRF/FCO) — and private transportation services to the airport are operating normally, but officials warned travelers to allow for extra travel time due to delays. Union members are expected to strike between 0830 and 1700 local time (0630-1500 UTC) and between 2000 and 2330 local time, with a temporary strike suspension during the rush hours from 1700-2000 local time. Union leaders called the strike over continued attacks on ATAC employees and hazardous conditions within the underground rail tunnels.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Liberia (Security threat level – 4): On 24 June 2019, riot police officers clashed with protesters in Kingsville Township Number 7, located in rural Montserrado County, approximately 45 km (30 mi) from the capital Monrovia. The demonstrators set up illegal checkpoints and roadblocks along the Monrovia-Kakata highway near the Fifteen Gate Community center and attacked police officers who attempted to remove the barricades; the protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the officers and physically assaulted them. In response, a riot police officer fired live ammunition in an attempt to disperse the crowd. One bystander was killed and two others suffered gunshot wounds; an additional three people also suffered minor injuries during the clashes. The protest actions were organized to demand justice for two local minors who were killed in the community.

Mauritania (Security threat level – 4): On 25 June 2019, reports emerged that Mauritanian authorities shut down mobile internet service throughout the country beginning on 23 June. Authorities have not disclosed information regarding the motive for the shutdown or an expected date for the resumption of services. The shutdown follows ruling party candidate Muhammad Ould Ghazouni’s provisional victory in the presidential elections and subsequent opposition protests.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 25 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
  • “Event: Political protesters have started gathering at the Ghazi Stadium, just east and south of the International Zone. The Embassy expects thousands of protesters to attend, resulting in traffic disruptions and increased security in the area.
  • “Terrorists and extremist organizations frequently exploit the presence of crowds to attack civilians, often striking without warning, using many different methods, including gunfire, suicide vests, grenades, and improvised explosive devices.”
  • Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 25 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy in The Hague issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Announced gathering points and route includes, but is not limited to, the area in front of the U.S. Embassy, in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • “Event: A demonstration is expected on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, beginning at approximately 3:00 pm and lasting until approximately 5:00 pm. The group will assemble on the bicycle path alongside the Embassy (John Adams Park) to protest U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
  • “U.S. government personnel and U.S. citizens are advised to avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can quickly turn confrontational and escalate into violence. The Dutch police will be present to ensure public safety.”
  • Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 3): On 24 June 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel advisory for Sri Lanka, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Exercise increased caution in Sri Lanka due to terrorism.
  • “On June 24, 2019, the Department lifted the ordered departure status of family members of U.S. government employees under the age of 18 as well as the authorized departure status of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.
  • “Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, hospitals, and other public areas.
  • “The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Sri Lanka due to the security environment.”
  • 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.