Worldview Security Update – November 22, 2019
22-Nov-19

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 22 November 2019, demonstrations against the government’s economic policies and potential austerity measures continued in Colombia for the second day in a row. Demonstrators have blocked several roads in the capital Bogotá and have marched along the southern lanes of the Bogotá TransMilenio metro system, blocking services in the area. According to authorities, 68 of a total 138 metro stations have sustained damage in protest-related violence. Further demonstrations are likely to occur later in the day.

Meanwhile, more than 200,000 people participated in anti-government demonstrations in cities across the country amid a countrywide general strike on 21 November. While most of the demonstrations were largely peaceful, clashes broke out between protesters and police officers in several cities, including in Bogotá. Police officers in the capital fired tear gas at protesters who had gathered at the main Plaza Bolívar, located adjacent to the presidential palace. In the southwestern city of Cali, protests turned relatively more violent after demonstrators set up roadblocks and vandalized businesses. Authorities instituted nighttime curfews from 21-22 November in Cali, as well as in the towns of Facatativá, Funza and Popayán, to prevent further escalation of violence.

Earlier in the day, unknown assailants vandalized buses in the city of Nariño and threw Molotov cocktails in the vicinity of the Universidad de Nariño. In Medellin, a group of protesters threw stones at a metro stand and clashes broke out in the vicinity of the Universidad de Antioquia; however, there were no major episodes of violence in the city. Authorities in the department of Valle del Cauca — where Cali is located — stated that three people were killed and more than 270 others were injured, including three police officers, 122 civilians and 148 military personnel, during the violence on 21 November.

ASIA

Japan / Taiwan (Security threat levels – 1 / 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Tropical Storm Fung-Wong was located approximately 380 km (235 mi) southwest of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, as of 0900 UTC on 22 November 2019. At that time, Fung-Wong was moving north-northwest at 22 kph (14 mph) and had maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 102 kph. By the time of the update, Fung-Wong crossed Ishigakijima and Miyakojima Islands, which are part of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, bringing heavy rain that is expected to continue into 23 November; however, there were no reports of significant disruptions or damage. After passing over the islands and entering the East China Sea, Fung-Wong is expected to dissipate by the evening of 23 November. Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau issued an extremely heavy rain advisory for New Taipei City and Keelung City, as well as a heavy rain advisory for Taipei City and Yilan County.

EUROPE

Finland (Security threat level – 2): Officials expect notable disruptions to aviation and transportation services across Finland on 25 November 2019, as the Transport Workers’ Union (AKT), the Finnish Seafarers’ Union (SMU) and the Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) have called for strikes in support of an ongoing labor action by postal workers. Bus transportation in the capital Helsinki will likely experience significant disruptions and the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) has warned residents that it will not arrange for substitute services during the strike. Flight cancellations and delays at Finnish airports — including Helsinki Airport (EFHK/HE) — could begin on 24 November, as IAU members include ground handling and airport security inspection personnel. Finnair employees are also likely to participate in the strike; additionally, the SMU strike is likely to disrupt ferry services. Negotiations between authorities and union members to end the postage workers’ strike are expected to continue through the upcoming weekend of 23-24 November; the unions will likely rescind the planned labor actions if a settlement regarding wages and working conditions is reached. Nevertheless, travelers should be prepared for disruptions that could occur during the strike and should adjust their travel plans accordingly.

Italy (Security threat level – 3): Air traffic controllers (ATC) across Italy plan to carry out a four-hour strike from 1100-1500 local time (1200-1600 UTC) on 25 November 2019. Unions called for the labor action due to mismanagement of the Alitalia bankruptcy, the refinancing of the Air Transport Solidarity Fund and general work conditions. The strike at Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi-Umbria International Airport (LIRZ/PEG) and Marche Airport (LIPY/AOI) is expected to last for 24 hours. Eurocontrol has warned that flight operations are expected to be affected throughout the day, but Italian law guarantees minimum flight services. Travelers should contact their respective airlines for more information on possible disruptions during the strike period.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 21 November 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Dominica, which reads in part as follows: “General elections have been announced for 6 December. Visitors may see an increase in political marches and gatherings in the lead up to the elections. You should be alert to the situation around you in case of unrest and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.”