Worldview Security Update – November 21, 2019
21-Nov-19

AMERICAS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3) : On 21 November 2019, demonstrations in support of former President Evo Morales are continuing in Bolivia. Protesters continue to block roads outside the Senkata fuel depot in the city of El Alto, from where demonstrators plan to march to the government headquarters in downtown La Paz later in the day. Meanwhile, protesters have blocked Montes and Peru avenues in La Paz to protest against the shortage of fuel. Dozens of roadblocks across the country have caused prolonged shortages of basic goods, such as food and fuel, in La Paz and other urban centers.

In a related political development, Bolivia’s Congress is expected to begin debating an election bill presented by the interim government. The legislation would annul the results of the 20 October presidential election and allow for the appointment of a new electoral board within 15 days of the bill’s approval. A date for anticipated new elections has yet to be scheduled.

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 21 November 2019, a national general strike organized by at least 150 trade unions and civil society groups is ongoing in Colombia to protest against the government’s economic policies. As of the latest reports, associated demonstrations are disrupting transportation services in the capital Bogotá and other cities across the country. In Bogotá, demonstrators are gathering to participate in marches starting from National Park, the Cundinamarca Governorate, National University, Sevillana metro station, Hospital San Juan de Dios, and the Chicó neighborhood. These marches will conclude at Plaza de Bolívar later in the afternoon hours. There have been reports of minor scuffles between protesters and police officers on Bogotá’s Calle 27. In Cali, demonstrators have blocked roads near the Sameco area, Universidad del Valle and the Universities del MIO metro station. In Medellín, demonstrators are marching from Punto Cero to the city center area. Reports of violence related to protest actions have started to emerge and clashes between protesters and police officers remain probable. As such, travelers and expatriates in Colombia should limit their movements to the extent possible to mitigate the threat of being collaterally affected.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On the afternoon of 21 November 2019, pro-democracy protesters gathered in Hong Kong’s Central district. An altercation between pro-democracy protesters and government supporters occurred near Exchange Square, but police officers intervened and prevented further escalation. In Yuen Long, beginning at 1900 local time (1100 UTC), hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the Yoho Mall to stage a sit-in to denounce the 21 July attacks on protesters and commuters perpetrated by suspected members of organized crime groups at the adjacent Yuen Long MTR station. MTR officials closed Yuen Long station at 1400 local time to prevent a protest at the station. However, there were no reports of violence in Yuen Long.

In related developments, additional protests are planned to occur in the city on the upcoming weekend of 23-24 November. On 22 November lunch-hour protests are expected to continue in Central and Wong Chuk Hang. Beginning at 1100 local time on 23 November a rally against the use of tear gas is scheduled to begin in Kowloon Tong. At 1400 local time protesters plan to cause disruptions along the Tsing Ma Bridge, which connects Ma Wan and Tsing Yi Islands. On 24 November district council elections are set to occur. However, the government could postpone elections, citing the ongoing unrest. If the elections are postponed, further unrest is highly likely.

Japan / Taiwan (Security threat levels – 1 / 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Tropical Storm Fung-Wong was located approximately 755 km (470 mi) south-southwest of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa as of 0900 UTC on 21 November 2019, and was moving north-northwest at 11 kph (7 mph). At that time, Fung-Wong was generating maximum sustained winds of 111 kph, with gusts of up to 139 kph. On its current track, the storm is forecast to cross Ishigakijima and Miyakojima Islands, which are part of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, by 22 November. Authorities in Taiwan have warned of possible heavy rainfall across Yilan County, Taipei and Keelung City. After crossing Japan’s Ishigakijima and Miyakojima Islands, Fung-Wong is forecast to enter the East China Sea and subsequently dissipate.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Algeria (Security threat level – 4): On 20 November 2019, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the capital Algiers to protest against the upcoming presidential election scheduled to take place on 12 December. Protesters marched through the streets of the city before police officers deployed to disperse the crowd. Police officers arrested at least 20 participants; however, there were no reports of clashes between security forces and protesters. Similar largely peaceful protests occurred in Oran, Bab el-Oued and Setif.

Anti-government protests have been taking place on Thursdays and Fridays on a weekly basis since February 2019. Protesters believe that the current military-dominated government will not hold free and fair elections; the number of weekly demonstrations has increased as the date for the planned election approaches, and further protests are likely. Travelers and expatriates in Algeria should avoid all areas where these protests occur, as violence is an ever-present concern during such gatherings.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 21 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Russia, countrywide

“Event: During the holiday season, security measures in Russia may be heightened due to potential threats posed by European-based transnational terrorist organizations and individuals inspired by extremist ideology. Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations such as Christmas holiday markets, shopping malls, airports, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, transportation hubs, festivals and events, and other soft targets frequented by Westerners.”
Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 21 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Kyiv,Ukraine.

“Event: A demonstration is planned to begin at 7:00 PM, November 21, at Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti). Social media indicates approximately 2000 people are planning to attend, with potential for much higher attendance.”