Worldview Security Update – October 25, 2019
25-Oct-19

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): Anti-government demonstrations are ongoing across Chile on 25 October 2019. In Santiago, truck and taxi drivers are staging a “go-slow” protest, disrupting traffic along Route 5, Route 68 and General Velásquez and Américo Vespucio highways. The demonstrators are driving from the outskirts of the city and plan to converge in the city center before dispersing. Elsewhere, indigenous Mapuche organizations in Temuco plan to demonstrate beginning at 1500 local time (1800 UTC). Meanwhile, the Subus bus driver’s union launched a strike on 25 October following the shooting of a bus driver the previous day in a non-protest related incident. The Santiago Metro has resumed partial service on Lines 2 and 5 in addition to limited service on Lines 1, 3 and 6. Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCEL/SCL) is operating normally.

Meanwhile, on 24 October the Workers’ United Center of Chile (CUT) and other social organizations continued a general strike that began the previous day, with associated demonstrations occurring throughout the country. Protesters set up roadblocks in the southern Araucanía region, including in Boroa, Freire, Pelales and Boyeco. Additional anti-government demonstrations occurred in the cities of Antofagasta, Chillán, Copiapó, Maipú, Punta Arenas and Temuco. In Santiago, thousands of demonstrators peacefully marched along Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins and rallied at Plaza Italia. Demonstrators set fire to a tree at the entrance of the Baquedano metro station, which is located adjacent to the Plaza Italia. In Valparaíso, truck drivers staged a “go slow” protest, significantly disrupting transportation in the city. The caravan traveled along Route 68 through Avenida Argentina, and around the National Congress building. Demonstrators in Valparaíso also gathered at Parque Italia. There were no reports of significant protest-related violence on 24 October.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): An anti-government demonstration is set to take place in the Pélérin neighborhood of Petion-Ville, an upscale area located in southern Port-au-Prince, later on 25 October 2019. The protesters plan to gather outside the residence of President Jovenel Moïse to demand his resignation. On the previous day, protesters marched to Toussaint L’ouverture International Airport (MTPP/PAP) and attempted to shut down airport operations. Sporadic demonstrations near the airport and elsewhere in the city are probable throughout the day on 25 October.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of early on 25 October 2019, a number of large-scale wildfires are burning across the U.S. state of California. In the northern part of Los Angeles County, a wildfire has forced more than 50,000 people to evacuate their homes and businesses; the blaze has destroyed an unspecified number of structures in the area, but there have been no reports of casualties so far. Authorities shut down a stretch of Highway 14 in both directions near the town of Santa Clarita after the blaze jumped over the roadway. More than 500 firefighters are battling this blaze, which has consumed approximately 4,000 acres (1,620 hectares) of land and is only 5% contained. At least three other large-scale wildfires are burning in the region.

Meanwhile, in Northern California’s Sonoma County, at least 2,000 residents are currently under evacuation orders due to another notable wildfire that has consumed more than 16,000 acres of land. The fire has destroyed or damaged approximately 50 structures in the area; however, there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities. Approximately 1,300 firefighters are currently battling the blaze, which is just 5% contained. The PG&E utility company is currently working to restore electricity to 170,000 customers on 25 October; however, further blackouts are likely in Northern California, as dry, hot and windy conditions are in the forecast for the upcoming weekend of 26-27 October.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On the afternoon of 25 October 2019, security personnel fired tear gas, stun grenades and live rounds into the air to prevent protesters from entering the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad. Approximately 1,000 demonstrators marched from Tahrir Square and crossed Jumhuriyya Bridge in an attempt to reach the IZ, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies. At least one person was killed and an unspecified number of others were injured during the protest. Since the onset of protests on 1 October, demonstrators’ grievances have expanded from demands that the government address corruption, lack of public services and unemployment, to the overthrow of the administration.

Oman (Security threat level – 2) : According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 25 October 2019, Tropical Storm Kyarr was located approximately 1,100 km (685 mi) south-southeast of Karachi, Pakistan, and was moving northeast at 7 kph (5 mph). At that time, Kyarr had maximum sustained winds of 83 kph with gusts of up to 102 kph. The storm is currently forecast to shift northwest by 1800 UTC and track toward Oman by that time on 25 October. It is then expected to make landfall near Masirah Island by 30 October.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4): On 25 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Centre Muraz, Bobo Dioulasso

"Event: Labor unions and civil society organizations are holding a demonstration in the vicinity of the Centre Muraz. Heavy police presence is also reported around the Sourou Sanou hospital. The U.S. Embassy received reports that the police used teargas to disperse the protesters.

"Avoid the area.

"Exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Be alert, remain aware of your surroundings, and stay informed of local media reports.

"Actions to Take:

  • Avoid areas surrounding the Centre Muraz and the Sourou Sanou hospital."

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 24 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Colombia, which reads in part as follows: “This Sunday 27 October, Colombia will hold local elections. There will be an increased public presence of military and police nationwide. The border crossing with Ecuador, on the Pan-American highway, will close from 00h00 Saturday to 16h00 Sunday [0500 UTC on 26 October to 2100 UTC on 27 October].”

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 24 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Announced gathering points include, but are not limited to, the following places in Bamako, Mali:

  • Monument de l’Independence

“Event: There will be a demonstration organized by the “Platform Against Corruption” to denounce corruption in Mali on Saturday, October 26 at 14:00. The event is not authorized by the government at this time. While the demonstrations are expected to be peaceful, recent events have encountered a strong police/security force presence, the use of tear gas, and other riot control measures.

“U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the listed locations on October 26, 2019.”

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 25 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice regarding planned protests, which reads in part as follows: "Political protests around Pakistan are expected on Sunday 27 October 2019. They will mark the start of a march which is expected to arrive in Islamabad from around the country on Thursday 31 October 2019. Large gatherings of people and political protests are expected around Pakistan. You should exercise caution in travelling during this time, and follow advice from the local authorities."

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 25 October 2019, the U.S. mission in Spain issued a Security Alert for upcoming protests in Barcelona, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Barcelona

“Event: A large demonstration is expected tomorrow, October 26 at 5pm at Carrer de la Marina. Another is planned for October 27 from 12pm-230pm at the intersection of Passeig de Gracia and Carrer Provença. Other spontaneous demonstrations may occur this weekend and many have recently taken place in front of government offices. U.S. citizens should expect public transportation disruptions in the area.

“Similar demonstrations last week turned violent. Dozens of injuries occurred and arrests were made. There is a potential for further clashes during these demonstrations.

“U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the areas of demonstrations. Please see our Demonstrations in Spain webpage for more information.”

Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 25 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bern issued a Demonstration Alert regarding planned protests in downtown Bern, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Bern and possibly other cities in Switzerland

“Event: Kurdish groups have announced plans to demonstrate in downtown Bern on Saturday, October 26, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Planned and unplanned demonstrations are expected to take place in a variety of locations. Please exercise caution in and around the U.S. Embassy, Consular Agencies, and other locations where demonstrators are gathered.”