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Worldview Security Update – October 24, 2019


Chile (Security threat level – 2): Demonstrations are ongoing across Chile on 24 October 2019 to mark the second day of a general strike by the Workers’ United Center of Chile (CUT) and other social organizations. Roadblocks have been reported in the southern Araucanía region, including in Boroa, Freire, Pelales and Boyeco, amid demonstrations. Meanwhile, in Santiago, authorities confirmed that Lines 1, 3 and 6 of the Santiago Metro will only be partially operational for the second day in a row. There have been no reports of disruptions to operations at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCEL/SCL).

Over the night of 23-24 October, protests continued across the country in defiance of extended states of emergencies and city curfews. In Valdivia, protesters blocked the Puente Pedro de Valdivia, and set fire to a number of barricades in the Las Ánimas sector of the city. Meanwhile in Santiago, a number of fires — including burning barricades — were reported; however, there were no widespread clashes. Elsewhere in the Greater Santiago Conurbation, incidents of looting were reported at shopping establishments in Maipú and San Ramón; in both instances, the targeted establishments were set on fire after the event. Meanwhile in San Bernardo, which is also part of the Greater Santiago Conurbation, an assailant allegedly attempted to rob an ATM located inside a supermarket during curfew hours; police officers intervened and shot the perpetrator.

Earlier in the day on 23 October, thousands of demonstrators peacefully marched along Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins and rallied at Plaza Italia in Santiago. Clashes broke out when a group of protesters threw rocks at buildings near a metro station in the city; however, there were no notable violent clashes in the city during the day. Meanwhile, in Valparaíso, special forces used tear gas to disperse demonstrators near the city municipal building. In the city of Chiguayante, a local cameraman was shot in the eye during clashes between demonstrators and security forces. Separately, one person was injured during a demonstration in the city of Puerto Montt. Elsewhere in the country, approximately 8,000 people participated in a march in downtown Temuco. Large-scale demonstrations also occurred in Arica, Antofagasta and Concepción.

The Chilean government has renewed curfews for the cities of La Serena and Coquimbo, the province of Concepción and the region of Valparaíso. In La Serena and Coquimbo, the curfew will last from 2200 local time on 24 October (0100 UTC on 25 October) through 0400 local time on 25 October. In Concepción, the curfew will last from 2300 local time on 24 October through 0400 local time on 25 October. In Valparaíso, the curfew will last from 2200 local time on 24 October through 0500 local time on 25 October. Authorities will release information regarding additional nighttime curfews from 24-25 October later on 24 October. Border crossings between Chile and Argentina, Bolivia and Peru were closed overnight on 23-24 October. It is unknown if the borders will be open overnight on 24-25 October. Separately, curfew orders were in effect for the following areas from 23-24 October: Arica, Antofagasta, Calama, Mejillones, Tocopilla, Concepción province, Iquique province, Alto Hospicio, Pozo Almonte, La Serena, Coquimbo, Osorno, Puerto Montt, Rancagua, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Talca, Valparaíso region and Valdivia.

United States (Security threat level – 2): Late on 23 October 2019, a wildfire broke out near the town of Geyserville, located in Northern California’s Sonoma County, and rapidly spread into nearby areas. The blaze prompted officials to issue mandatory evacuation orders; approximately 600 residents in the county have evacuated their homes and an additional 200 others may have to evacuate, as the blaze could spread farther due to strong winds of up to 70 mph (110 kph) in the area. The fire has consumed approximately 10,000 acres (4,045 hectares) of land and remains zero percent contained. There have been no other reports of notable damage or casualties thus far.


China (Security threat level – 3): Protests are expected to continue throughout Hong Kong between 25 and 27 October 2019. Currently, multiple demonstrations are planned, primarily on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

Protest marches are planned during the morning rush hour on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon beginning at 0700 local time on 25 October (2300 UTC on 24 October). In Kowloon, protesters plan to march from Exit A of the Kowloon Bay MTR station and along Kwun Tong Road to the Kwun Tong District. An additional march in Kowloon is scheduled to begin at the Tsim Sha Tsui Pier, and travel along Nathan Road to Mong Kok. On Hong Kong Island, protesters plan to gather at Chater Garden before marching along Des Voeux Road to Sheung Wan. Elsewhere on Hong Kong Island, protesters plan to march along King’s Road from the Fortress Hill MTR station to Taikoo Place. Organizers have not applied for a Letter of No Objection and have instructed attendees to wear face masks in defiance of a recent ban on facial coverings at public gatherings. On 26 October, protesters plan to rally against totalitarianism beginning at 1300 local time in Admiralty’s Tamar Park. It is unknown if organizers applied for a Letter of No Objection. Additionally, medical workers are expected to hold a rally beginning at 1800 local time at Chater Garden. However, it remains unknown if organizers applied for a Letter of No Objection.

Beginning at 1500 local time on 27 October, a rally is expected to begin at Salisbury Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui to protest against allegations of police brutality during recent demonstrations. Meanwhile, at 1600 local time demonstrators plan to gather at the Kwun Tong Promenade. Organizers did not apply for a Letter of No Objection for the latter protest, and it remains unknown if organizers of the former applied for a Letter of No Objection.


Italy (Security threat level – 3): Nationwide strikes are expected to disrupt transportation across Italy beginning at 2100 local time (1900 UTC) on 24 October 2019, and continuing through 25 October. Union leaders have called for 24-hour strikes across most transportation sectors, including aviation, buses, trains, ferries and motorways, to demand higher wages and better working conditions. The most significant disruptions are expected in the cities of Catania, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome and Turin. Additionally, airline travel is expected to be disrupted, as air traffic controllers have called for a four-hour work stoppage from 1300-1700 local time. Alitalia canceled over 200 flights and easyJet canceled an additional 32 flights across the country in preparation for the strike. Transportation officials have warned travelers to contact their airline or transportation operators to confirm services are operational.


Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): As of 24 October 2019, several hundred anti-government protesters remain outside the residence of prominent local activist Jawar Mohammed in the national capital Addis Ababa for the second consecutive day. Protesters have also gathered in other areas of the city, including Bole Bulbulla, Kotebe and Kara Qore, and are blocking multiple roads in the outskirts of the city. Although there have been no reports of significant clashes on 24 October, a heavy security presence remains in place across the capital. Elsewhere in Oromia regional state, protesters and security personnel clashed on the previous day in several cities, including Adama, Dodola, Harar and Jimma. At least 16 protesters were killed and dozens more were injured in the clashes throughout the day. The protests were prompted by reports that the Ethiopian government ordered the departure of Mohammed’s security detail on the evening of 22 October; officials have denied these reports.


Zimbabwe (Security threat level – 4): On 24 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Zimbabwe, which reads in part as follows: “There is a planned anti-sanctions march in Harare on 25 October. The government has declared the day a public holiday and large crowds are expected around the Central Business District and National Sports Stadium. You should avoid any political gatherings or demonstrations. These can be unpredictable, can turn violent without notice, and the response from the security forces may be disproportionate. You should exercise a high degree of caution and monitor local media and this travel advice for updates.”