Worldview Security Update – November 14, 2019
14-Nov-19

AMERICAS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3): On 14 November 2019, Bolivian security forces continued to patrol the streets of La Paz in anticipation of further anti-government demonstrations. In the morning hours, protesters from the neighboring cities of Viacha and El Alto have begun a march to La Paz, as they have for the last several days. 
On 13 November, protesters clashed with police officers across Bolivia, including in the center of La Paz, where police officers deployed tear gas at demonstrators who were marching toward the presidential palace.  In addition, a small explosive device detonated near a protest site in La Paz, but there were no reports of injuries. Elsewhere in the country, in the Yapacaní area of Santa Cruz, at least one person was fatally shot during earlier clashes between protesters and police officers. Demonstrations also occurred in the city of El Alto and in the region of El Chapare. Demonstrators were protesting against the country’s self-proclaimed interim President Jeanine Áñez. Lawmakers who support former President Evo Morales have boycotted Congress and plan to hold counter sessions of Congress to challenge Áñez’s legitimacy.

Chile (Security threat level – 2): At least 35 demonstrations are scheduled in cities across Chile on 14 November 2019 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the killing of an indigenous Mapuche community member by police officers during a police operation. The demonstrations will initially begin at 0930 local time (1230 UTC), while additional demonstrations are scheduled to start later at 1900 local time. Most of these planned demonstrations, which will primarily be vigils, are set to occur in the Araucanía region. In Santiago, demonstrations are scheduled to begin at 1700, 1800 and 1900 local time in Plaza de Armas, Plaza Italia and Plaza S. Allende, respectively. Organizers have called for the gatherings to be peaceful. Nevertheless, violence could break out during these gatherings; as such, travelers and expatriates in Chile should avoid the vicinity of the demonstrations as a precaution.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): As of late on14 November 2019, anti-government protests are ongoing throughout Hong Kong. In the morning hours, police officers fired tear gas to disperse protesters at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In addition, police officers claimed that assailants fired arrows at officers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Elsewhere, protesters erected blockades near the entrance to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and set fire to toll booths. Mass Transit Railway (MTR) officials halted all services, except the Airport Express, by 2200 local time (1400 UTC). However, beginning at 2000 local time, the Airport Express only offered direct services between Hong Kong and Airport stations. Thus far, services at the Tai Wai, Lo Wu, and Lok Ma Chau MTR stations have been suspended, and significant disruptions are ongoing in Central, Tai Po, Yuen Long, Kowloon Tong and several other districts. As of the latest reports, a total of 40 people sought medical attention due to the injuries inflicted during the protest-related violence. 

In a related development, groups of masked individuals wielding telescopic batons attacked at least one protester in Sheung Shui shortly before noon local time. However, there were no reports of unrest. During the evening police officers fired tear gas in Mong Kok and Tuen Mun after clashing with protesters. A peaceful rally occurred at Edinburgh Place in Central to support paramedics and firefighters who have assisted during the protests. 

Earlier in the day, hundreds of protesters occupied Connaught Road in Central and King’s Road in Tai Koo around mid-day. Police officers dispersed the demonstrators by 1430 local time. Schools across the city are currently closed, with some stating that there will be no more classes for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, the Education Bureau announced that all schools would remain closed until 18 November. Thousands of students across the city have stockpiled food and makeshift weapons — including bricks, Molotov cocktails, arrows with heads wrapped in cladding and catapults — as they prepare for additional protests.

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 14 November 2019, Tropical Depression Kalmaegi — known as Ramon in the Philippines — was located approximately 595 km (370 mi) east of Manila and was moving northwest at 17 kph (10 mph). At that time, Kalmaegi was generating maximum sustained winds of 56 kph, with gusts of up to 74 kph. The storm formed on 13 November, and is currently expected to continue on its current track and strengthen into a tropical storm before making landfall on northeastern Luzon Island along the border of Isabela and Cagayan provinces by 17 November. Authorities warned of moderate to heavy rainfall in the affected areas, along with possible landslides.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 14 November 2019, militants in the Gaza Strip launched five rockets into Israel several hours after the Israeli government and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group declared a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Israeli air defenses intercepted two of the rockets, while the other three landed in open areas; there were no reports of casualties. No group claimed immediate responsibility for the rocket attacks; the truce appears to be holding despite the rocket attacks. 

The ceasefire went into effect at 0530 local time (0330 UTC) and followed a two-day Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip dubbed “Operation Gaza,” which led to fighting between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israeli forces for the duration of the operation. Reports from Israel indicate that conditions have returned to normal following the ceasefire. Namely, Israeli security forces opened roads and lifted movement restrictions in Israeli communities near the border with the Gaza Strip. Officials had closed roads and implemented movement restrictions following numerous rocket attacks into southern Israel on 12 November.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): As of 14 November 2019, South African Airways (SAA) — South Africa’s state-owned air carrier — has canceled all domestic and international flights on 15-16 November ahead of a planned indefinite strike by airline workers beginning on 15 November. Several unions that represent approximately 3,000 SAA employees called for the strike to demand increased pay and job security following an announcement that SAA plans to restructure the company and cut more than 900 jobs due to financial troubles. Cabin crew, check-in, ticketing and ground staff members are expected to participate in the labor action. The airline has urged passengers traveling during this period to contact the airline for rebooking. The strike is not expected to affect SAA’s partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango and SA Airlink.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

China (Security threat level – 3): On 14 November 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for China to include the following:

“An outbreak of pneumonic plague has occurred in the Inner Mongolia region of China. Plague is endemic in parts of China, including Inner Mongolia, with approximately 5 cases reported from China since 2014.”

Georgia (Security threat level – 3): On 14 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Outside the Parliament building in downtown Tbilisi

“Event: Potential Protest Activity at Parliament building on November 14, 2019. There have been calls for a larger demonstration at 19:00pm.

“U.S. government personnel have been advised to avoid large crowds and demonstrations and to prepare for anticipated traffic delays and disruptions in that area.”
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 13 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Security Alert regarding the States of Siege, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Izabal, San Marcos and Huehuetenango

"Event: The Government of Guatemala officially lifted the State of Siege in the Department of Izabal and additional municipalities in various departments, on November 7, 2019. Embassy personnel may resume personal and official travel throughout Guatemala.

"Travel restrictions for Embassy personnel to the Departments of Huehuetenango and San Marcos remain in effect. Embassy operations are normal."

Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 13 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Guatemala

"Event: The Comité de Desarollo Campesino (CODECA) and Coordinadora Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas (CNOC) are calling for demonstrations on November 14, 2019, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. There is an announced march that will start at the Obelisco in Zone 10 and move toward the U.S. Embassy. Demonstrators are expected to congregate at the Obelisk by 8:00AM and could potentially disrupt the morning commute. U.S. Embassy operations will be normal."

Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 4): On 14 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:
“Location: Nationwide, Sri Lanka.

“Event: The U.S. Embassy reminds American citizens of the potential for demonstrations before, during, and after the November 16, 2019, presidential election. There is no change to the current Level 2 Travel Advisory (“Exercise Increased Caution”).”

Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On 14 November 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Tanzania, which reads in part as follows: “Local elections are due to take place on 24 November 2019. You should remain vigilant and avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, move away quickly to a safe place. Keep up to date with developments via local media and this travel advice . ”