Worldview Security Update – June 3, 2019
3-Jun-19

AMERICAS

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): Early on 2 June 2019, protesters attacked a convoy of 32 Dole Food Company fruit trucks passing through Guadalupe Carney, a village located approximately 330 km (205 mi) from Tegucigalpa. Protesters looted the contents of the containers and burned the trucks. At least one truck driver was injured in the event. The trigger for the attack remains unclear.

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 31 May 2019, protests turned violent for a second consecutive day in Tegucigalpa. Thousands of protesters marched along the capital’s central roads, including Bulevard Fuerzas Armadas and Bulevard Centroamerica, as part of the 48-hour nationwide strike against health care and education privatization. Police officers deployed tear gas to disperse protesters and clashed with groups of demonstrators who erected barricades.

In central Tegucigalpa, a group of protesters set fire to tires and debris at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy. In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa denounced the act as “unacceptable” and claimed to be “working closely with Honduran authorities to bring those responsible to justice.” The embassy also announced that its Consular Section had canceled “all visa appointments and routine services for U.S. citizens from June 3-7, 2019, and cannot schedule any new appointments.” The statement further noted that “U.S. citizens experiencing an emergency will be assisted.”

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 31 May 2019, a gunman opened fire on employees inside Building 2 of the Municipal Town Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. During the shooting, the attacker fired indiscriminately on the building’s occupants on multiple floors. Local media sources indicate that the attacker appeared to target the building’s employees. Officials stated that the shooter was a former employee who resigned the morning of the shooting. At least 12 people, including the gunman, were killed and six others were wounded.

ASIA

China / Taiwan (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): On 4 June 2019, multiple demonstrations will be held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, China. The largest demonstrations are anticipated in Hong Kong. The largest event in Hong Kong is expected to be an annual candlelight vigil, which has been held in Victoria Park since 1990. Event organizers expect approximately 200,000 participants to attend this year. At the same time, a separate candlelight vigil will be held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Kowloon. The number of anticipated attendees at this event remains unknown. Demonstrations are also expected in Taiwan; the turnout at these events is expected to be lower than at events in Hong Kong. Demonstrations are typically peaceful, but localized transportation disruptions can be expected in the immediate vicinity of the event venues.

Authorities in China actively suppress information regarding the original protest, when the military forcibly dispersed protesters. Officials typically detain rights activists before the anniversary annually, and protests are unlikely in mainland China.

EUROPE

Albania (Security threat level – 3): On 2 June 2019, police officers and anti-government protesters clashed in central Tirana. Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the prime minister’s residence, where opposition leaders addressed the crowd. Protesters threw smoke bombs, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails at the building and police officers before marching to the nearby parliament building, where the clashes continued. Security forces deployed water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. The Interior Ministry stated that 13 people were injured, including 10 police officers and three protesters. Anti-government protests in Tirana have been ongoing since 16 February. Opposition leaders accuse the ruling Socialist Party of corruption and vote-buying in the 2017 parliamentary elections.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 31 May 2019, police officers used tear gas and fired warning shots to disperse thousands of protesters demanding the release of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria on al-Quds day. Following Friday prayers, the demonstrators marched along Kano Road chanting slogans. At the intersection with Ahmadu Bello Way, security forces fired shots into the air. The incident disrupted trade at the Sheik Gummi Central Market. At least three protesters were reportedly injured.

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 3 June 2019, Sudanese security forces launched a raid to disperse the sit-in protest outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum. Heavy gunfire and explosions — which were reported across Khartoum as Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attempted to disperse the sit-in protest earlier in the raid — have subsided. However, sporadic gunfire continues and the current situation is unknown. Meanwhile, the RSF have blocked roads across Khartoum, including those surrounding the military headquarters. Reports indicate the RSF have raided several local hospitals in Khartoum — including Royal Care, al-Moalem and SharqaIneel facilities — in an effort to pursue demonstrators and that they are preventing ambulances from offloading injured protesters. Internet services in Khartoum have been disconnected amid the unrest. RSF officers have also prevented foreign journalists from leaving their hotels. At least 19 people have been killed and a number of people injured in the ongoing raid, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors. The protest organizers, known as Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), have called for protesters to continue to rally at the sit-in site.

Meanwhile, there were similar reports of clashes in the town of Omdurman, located on the outskirts of Khartoum, where RSF forces clashed with demonstrators, killing at least five protesters.

Analyst Comment: Multiple isolated clashes between protesters and security forces have occurred over the previous week during attempts by security personnel to disperse demonstrations associated with the protest movement, which the TMC refers to as a “danger” to national security. The clashes follow a breakdown in negotiations between the TMC and the SPA, who have called for a “limited military representation” in the future government.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Albania (Security threat level – 3): On 3 June 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Albania, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Opposition parties have recently held large demonstrations in central Tirana and announced that weekly protests will take place outside Parliament. Demonstrations could occur outside other public buildings. A recent demonstration on 11 May 2019, turned violent, when Molotov cocktails, firecrackers and other hard objects were thrown. The police responded with tear gas. A further major demonstration has been announced for the evening of Saturday 8 June 2019. Subsequent large-scale protests are possible. Demonstrations may also take place outside the capital. You should check local media for the latest information, remain vigilant and avoid any demonstrations.”
  • Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 2 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka issued a Security Alert regarding the Eid-al-Fitr holiday that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Throughout Bangladesh
  • “Event: The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens living in or visiting Bangladesh during the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday period to remain vigilant in light of recent attacks in Bangladesh and around the world.
  • “The U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for Bangladesh is still in effect, and the terrorist threat remains credible. The Islamic State (also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS]) and al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have publicly claimed credit for various attacks in Bangladesh since September 2015. Further terrorist attacks could occur against foreigners and may coincide with the holiday season.
  • “Criminals also know when holiday breaks occur and may take advantage of empty residences or unattended property.”
  • Niger (Security threat level – 5): On 1 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Niamey issued a Security Alert regarding terror attacks, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Niamey, Niger
  • “Event: According to credible sources, terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Niger and may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and/or local government facilities and areas frequented by large crowds. Vigilance and security measures in Niger remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups.”
  • Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): On 2 June 2019, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) issued updated travel advice for Venezuela, which reads in part as follows:

  • “The Embassy of Canada to Venezuela in Caracas has temporarily suspended its operations. You can obtain consular assistance and information from the Embassy of Canada to Colombia, in Bogotá.”
  • 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.