Worldview Security Update – November 4, 2019
4-Nov-19

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): Protests continued across Chile over the weekend of 1-3 November 2019 and will likely continue well into the workweek. As of 4 November, Transantiago public buses are scheduled to end service at 2030 local time (2330 UTC). Meanwhile, metro operations resumed at 0630 local time and will stop at 2000 local time. In another protest-related development in Santiago on 4 November, taxi drivers staged demonstrations during the morning hours. A large demonstration is scheduled to take place at 1700 local time at the Plaza Italia in Santiago. Further demonstrations are expected nationwide, including in the city of Viña del Mar.

On the previous day, isolated clashes occurred between protesters and police officers in Santiago. Police officers fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters in Plaza Italia; they also arrested several protesters. Traffic disruptions were also reported in other areas countrywide due to protests and barricades, including in the cities of Antofagasta, Curicó, Concepción, La Ligua, Llay Llay, Puerto Montt, Rancagua and Talca.

Meanwhile, on 2 November isolated clashes between protesters and police officers occurred in Santiago and Talca. Protesters erected barricades along the road near Plaza Italia and Bustamante Park. Police officers responded with tear gas, water cannons and pepper spray. Security personnel arrested at least 11 people. Meanwhile, police officers in Talca used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.

On 1 November, police officers and protesters clashed after thousands of people gathered near Plaza Italia and La Moneda Palace in Santiago. Police officers in the city used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters in Bustamante Park and Plaza Italia. Meanwhile, protesters continued to demonstrate in other cities, including in Antofagasta, Concepción, Talca and Valparaiso.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): Police officers and anti-government protesters clashed in Hong Kong over the weekend of 2-3 November 2019. During the evening ofn 3 November, an unidentified man slashed several individuals and bit off part of a lawmaker’s ear at the Cityplaza Mall on Tai Koo Shing Road in Quarry Bay. Authorities later apprehended and arrested the man. Overall, at least six people were sent to the hospital in critical condition while another 30 sustained minor injuries. Police officers arrested approximately 300 people. Prior to the attack, protesters were staging a peaceful sit-in in the mall before police officers arrived to disperse the crowds.

Elsewhere, demonstrators held peaceful sit-ins at three other malls, including Sha Tin’s New Town Plaza, Tai Po’s Mega Mall and Diamond Hill’s Plaza Hollywood. Police officers dispersed the protesters at each location with batons. Meanwhile, police officers fired tear gas to disperse crowds of demonstrators in Tai Koo Shing and Tseung Kwan O. No injuries were reported at any of the events.

On 2 November police officers fired tear gas, foam bullets and water cannons to disperse protesters in Causeway Bay, Central, Wan Chai, Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei. In Causeway Bay, authorities deployed additional security forces whileand water cannons were deployed to prevent protesters from marching toward Central. Protesters initially gathered in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay for an unauthorized rally before security forces arrived. Police officers raised warning flags and demanded that protesters remove their masks, When protesters did not comply, the police officers fired tear gas at them. before firing tear gas.

In addition, police officers fired multiple rounds of tear gas and deployed water cannons at protesters setting up roadblocks and throwing Molotov cocktails along Hennessy Road and near Southorn Playground in Wan Chai as well as along Nathan Road in Mong Kok and in Yau Ma Tei. Protesters set fire to a local Best Mart 360 store due to its perceived ties with mainland China; demonstrators also vandalized the headquarters building of Chinese state-run Xinhua News. On Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, protesters vandalized a Starbucks storefront. Demonstrators also set fire to a number of barricades erected across major streets as they retreated from advancing riot police. Authorities banned a previously authorized protest in Central at the Chater Garden, warning protesters to leave by 1730 local time (0930 UTC). At least 11 people were injured over the course of the day.

All Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations — with the exception of the Airport Express — suspended operations at 2200 local time (1400 UTC) on 2 November. A number of MTR stations, including the Causeway Bay and Central stations, were closed early after demonstrators set fires at station entrances. MTR officials released updated operating times for the Airport Express and all other MTR services for 4-8 November. Beginning at 2330 local time, the Airport Express will only run between Hong Kong and Airport stations, and no trains will stop at Kowloon, Tsing Yi or AsiaWorld-Expo stations. All other MTR services will end at 2330 local time. Additionally, on 9 and 10 November services will end at 2200 local time.

India (Security threat level – 3): On 4 November 2019, authorities in New Delhi implemented pollution control measures in the city after air quality reached “Hazardous” levels in some areas. Measures include an odd-even license plate scheme through 15 November and the suspension of classes and construction projects. Ride-sharing services are exempt from the odd-even scheme. Meanwhile, at least 30 flights were delayed or canceled at Indira Gandhi International Airport (VIDP/DEL) due to low visibility from pollution.

India (Security threat level – 3): On 4 November 2019, Indian authorities implemented a partial closure of the main runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (VABB/BOM) in Mumbai for planned renovations. The closure will be in effect from 0930 to 1730 local time (0400 to 1200 UTC) Monday to Saturday until 28 March 2020. The second runway will remain operational during this time. Significant flight disruptions are unlikely, as transportation officials notified airlines well in advance of the closure; however, unexpected flight and road disruptions are possible due to the expected increase in activity at the facility resulting from the arrival of construction vehicles and crews. The main runway will remain open for festivals and holidays on the following dates: 25 December, 1 and 15 January 2020, 19 and 21 February, as well as 10 and 25 March.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): As of 4 November 2019, anti-government protests are continuing across Iraq. Reports from Baghdad indicate security forces are deploying live ammunition against protesters near Tahrir Square, but information regarding casualties is unavailable at this time. Reports from Basra on 4 November indicate that protesters have surrounded the governor’s office in downtown Basra, but there have been no reports of clashes in the city thus far.

Similar protests occurred on 3 November, when demonstrators took to the streets of Baghdad, causing citywide disruptions. College students shut down multiple streets after parking their vehicles in the middle of main thoroughfares. Other students participated in sit-ins at their schools while the country’s national teachers’ union extended its current strike. Clashes between protesters and police officers killed at least two people and injured 25 others. In addition, several government offices and a number of schools were closed in Diwaniyah, Hillah, Karbala, Kut and Nasiriyah due to ongoing protests. Meanwhile in Basra, protesters blocked roads leading to several institutions, preventing public service employees from reaching their workplaces and effectively paralyzing public services in the governorate.

On the same day, hundreds of protesters surrounded the perimeter of Iran’s consulate building in Karbala to demand the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Iraq. Demonstrators set a fire at the base of the outer wall and hurled stones and flaming debris over the wall onto the complex grounds. Furthermore, a protester briefly climbed on top of the wall and brandished the Iraqi flag. Security forces deployed to the area and fired live rounds at the demonstrators who were attempting to breach the facility’s perimeter. At least three protesters were shot dead during the event.

Elsewhere, security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse demonstrators in Umm Qasr, Iraq’s main port city, located approximately 65 km (40 mi) south of Basra. Protesters responded by burning tires and erecting concrete roadblocks across a number of major roadways to and from the city. At least 120 people were injured in clashes between protesters and police officers. The protests did not affect port operations, as the facility had been closed since 29 October.

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): As of 4 November 2019, anti-government protesters are blocking major roadways in Beirut and other areas across Lebanon, including Tripoli and Klahde. In addition, banks are closing as part of a nationwide general strike, which protesters called for in an attempt to freeze business and government operations. On the previous day, thousands of protesters gathered across Lebanon. In Beirut, crowds massed at Riad al-Solh and Sassine squares and erected barricades along the coastal highway north to Jal El Dib. Security forces deployed to the city in order to disperse the demonstrators and unblock the roadway. Earlier in the day, a pro-government rally was held near the presidential palace on Beirut’s outskirts in support of President Michel Aoun, who resigned on 29 October and will vacate his position once the government formally introduces a package of legislative and economic reforms. Meanwhile, on 2 November protesters gathered in Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon to demand government action against corruption and accountability. Demonstrators warned that further violence and chaos would occur on 5 November if the Lebanese parliament refrained from appointing a new leader.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3): On 1 November 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel advisory for Bolivia, in which it upgraded the level of advice for Santa Cruz and Cochabamba metropolitan areas from "Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution" to "Level 3: Reconsider Travel" due to an "increased incidence of violence and civil unrest." The advisory reads in part as follows:
“Exercise increased caution in Bolivia due to civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk.
“Reconsider travel to:

  • Santa Cruz metropolitan area due to civil unrest.
  • Cochabamba metropolitan area due to civil unrest.

“Country Summary: There are recurring demonstrations, strikes, roadblocks, and marches in major cities in Bolivia. Demonstrations and marches are centered on city plazas and major thoroughfares. Roadblocks and strikes cut off traffic on main avenues, highways between cities, and airport access. There are reports of sporadic violence, and local authorities have used crowd control measures to discourage protests.
“Domestic and international flights may be delayed or cancelled, and road travel around and between cities is regularly impeded due to demonstrations.”
The full text of the travel advisory is available here .

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 4 November 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Guinea, which reads in part as follows: “It is anticipated that there will be further disruption in Conakry on 4 November as the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) has announced a funeral procession to commemorate those who died during recent demonstrations will take place. The FNDC has also announced further demonstrations for Thursday 7 November. Recent demonstrations across Conakry and in other towns throughout Guinea had led to significant travel disruption and a number of violent incidents, including deaths. You should remain vigilant, stay clear of areas where demonstrators are gathering and monitor local media.”

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 4 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued two Security Alerts regarding roadblocks, with the first reading in part as follows:

"Location: Torcel and Mais Gate Road.

"Events: Reports of unpassable roadblocks."
The second Security Alert reads in part as follows:

"Location: Boulevard 15 Octobre near OAVTC.

"Events: Reports of burning tires and barricades."