Worldview Security Update – October 16, 2019
16-Oct-19

AMERICAS

Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On the morning of 16 October 2019, several protest actions are disrupting vehicular traffic in the capital Buenos Aires. Members of taxi unions have gathered on Boedo and Garay avenues and plan to march to the headquarters of the city government in downtown to protest against the Uber and Cabify ride-sharing services. The unions also intend to block General Paz avenue at the intersections of Libertador, Balbín avenue, Cabildo, Rivadavia and Juan Bautista Alberdi. The protesters also plan to block 9 de Julio avenue and San Juan. In addition, the demonstrators plan to disrupt traffic on the Alsina, Almirante Brown, La Boca and Vélez Sarsfield bridges. Later in the afternoon hours, authorities will block traffic in Tucumán between Paso and Pueyrredón avenues from 1300-midnight local time for the Jabad Argentina religious event.

In a separate protest earlier in the day, from 0700-0900 local time, former employees of a Kimberly Clark plant in Bernal blocked the inbound lanes of the Pueyrredón Bridge to protest against the facility’s closure and the subsequent loss of 200 jobs. Separately, at approximately 0700 local time, protesters in Retiro used trucks to block Libertador avenue, severely disrupting traffic. There have been no reports of protest-related violence. 

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 15 October 2019, police officers deployed tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of professional firefighters who were demonstrating on the Boulevard Périphérique (known as the Paris ring road) near Porte de Vicennes, located in the Bel Air neighborhood of Paris, and at the Place de la Nation. Riot police officers also charged at the demonstrators and struck them with batons, resulting in several clashes that injured at least three officers. Protesters briefly disrupted traffic in the immediate area of the march. The firefighters staged this march to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 16 October 2019, pro-independence protesters across Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region began strikes and marches in preparation for a large planned rally in the regional capital Barcelona on 18 October over the Supreme Court’s sentencing of nine Catalan political leaders. Planned marches to the regional capital began in the cities of Berga, Girona, Tarragona, Tàrrega and Vic. Significant roadway disruptions are expected as protesters block highways connecting these cities to Barcelona. In addition, the Spanish government claimed that rail lines between Barcelona and Girona have been disrupted due to sabotage by protesters.

Meanwhile, on the evening of 15 October, police officers and protesters clashed across Catalonia for the second day in a row. Riot police officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas and conducted baton charges to disperse groups of protesters who attempted to access government buildings, erected makeshift barricades, lit fires and threw projectiles at police officers in Barcelona. In total, the protesters lit at least 157 fires in the city overnight on 15-16 October. Similar protests occurred in Tarragona, Girona and Lleida. Dozens of people were injured in the violence, including at least 72 police officers. Moreover, police officers arrested at least 51 protesters.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 15 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Ecuador, which reads in part as follows: “In light of nationwide disruption and demonstrations since 3 October…the FCO advises against all but essential travel to Ecuador, with the exception of the Galapagos Islands. This advice does not apply to transit through Quito or Guayaquil Airports for onward travel to Galapagos, which is currently not significantly affected."

Mozambique (Security threat level – 3): On 16 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advisory for Mozambique regarding the post-election environment, which reads in part as follows: "Presidential, legislative and provincial elections took place in Mozambique on 15 October. In the past, the electoral period has resulted in civil unrest and intermittent outbreaks of violence. You should continue to exercise caution whilst traveling around the country and avoid traveling to unfamiliar places after elections. Avoid large gatherings, demonstrations and political rallies, as there is a risk they could turn violent."

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 15 October 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam issued a Demonstration Alert for The Hague, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Malieveld, The Hague

“Event: Demonstrations are scheduled to take place beginning on Tuesday, October 15 and ending the evening of Thursday, October 17. Farmers from various regions in the Netherlands are protesting Dutch government livestock policy.

“The groups will begin traveling on Tuesday from various locations in the Netherlands on large tractors and assemble at the Malieveld, The Hague. The group plans to protest on Wednesday, October 16 and depart The Hague on Thursday, October 17 to return to their farms. Police expect a high turnout, which will impact public transportation and cause traffic delays. Note that even demonstrations expected to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. The Dutch police will be present to ensure public safety.”