Worldview Security Update – October 4, 2019
4-Oct-19

AMERICAS

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 4 October 2019, authorities arrested two leaders of the public transportation sector for contributing to the countrywide public transportation strike, which is continuing for a second consecutive day. As of the latest reports, demonstrators have used burning tires to block roads in Quito and local police forces, along with military personnel, have been deployed in an effort to curb the ongoing unrest. Authorities have advised individuals residing in the affected areas to avoid visiting public venues, such as movie theaters and malls; additionally, various cultural events in public spaces have been canceled or suspended.

On 3 October President Lenin Moreno declared a 60-day national state of emergency amid the public transportation strike and associated protests. Taxi, bus and truck drivers used their vehicles to block roads in the cities of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Esmeraldas and Santo Domingo; students, social organizations and labor unions joined the protest and used rocks and burning tires to block roads in at least 49 locations in Quito and several major roads in Guayaquil. Demonstrators also blocked roads leading from Quito to Mariscal Sucre International Airport (SEQM/UIO), where a number of international flights were canceled. Police officers and protesters engaged in clashes in Quito for several hours, and police officers used tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

Meanwhile, in Guayaquil, violence primarily broke out in the South, Esteros, Portete and Pascuales districts of the city, while demonstrators blocked roads in the center, northern and southern parts of the city. A number of stores were looted in the city. A total of at least 195 people were arrested nationwide, with 150 of them arrested in Guayaquil alone for theft, damage to public property and vandalism. In addition, 21 police officers were injured during the clashes nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Embassy in Quito and the Consulate of Canada in Guayaquil announced that they will be closed on 4 October. Similarly, the U.S. Embassy in Quito will also be closed for routine and visa services on 4 October; the U.S. Embassy will be open for emergency services for U.S. citizens.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On 4 October 2019, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam used emergency powers to enact legislation that bans the use of masks at public gatherings in the city. The ban — which Lam claims is intended to curb increasing violence during anti-government demonstrations and will go into effect on 5 October — prompted additional protests in Central, where protesters temporarily blocked Connaught Road Central near Exchange Square. As of last report, police officers fired tear gas at protesters along Lung Cheung Road in Wong Tai Sin area; however, there were no immediate reports of injuries. Currently, demonstrations are ongoing throughout the city, including in Admiralty, Central, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Mong Kok, Kwun Tong, Sha Tin and Tsing Yi. Furthermore, Mass Transit Railway (MTR) officials have closed Tsuen Wan, Tai Wo Hau, Kwai Hing, Kwai Fong, Tai Koo, Quarry Bay, Causeway Bay, Sha Tin, Kwun Tong, Tai Koo, Ngau Tau Kok and Tseung Kwan O stations. Earlier in the evening, demonstrators blocked Tim Fuk Road and Waterloo Road in Kowloon Tong for approximately 15 minutes. In addition, demonstrators vandalized businesses associated with mainland China.

Following the announcement of the ban, demonstrations have been scheduled to occur in Victoria Park on 5 and 6 October, beginning at 1900 and 1400 local time, respectively (1100 and 0600 UTC). The 5 October protest is being organized to call for international assistance to the demonstrators, and the 6 October event is to demand that the government prosecute police officers who fired their weapons during recent protests.

Analyst Comment: The new regulation will likely exacerbate violence at the protests, rather than curb them; it will also be difficult to enforce. Furthermore, the introduction of emergency powers also sets the precedent for Lam to introduce further measures as the situation develops.

EUROPE

Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 0710 local time (0410 UTC) on 4 October 2019, Ukraine Air Alliance flight 4050 crashed while performing an emergency landing after running out of fuel approximately 1.5 km (1 mi) from Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport (UKLL/LWO) in western Ukraine. Eight people, including seven crew members and one passenger, were on board the aircraft during the crash; at least five people were killed and three were seriously injured in the crash. The Antononv-12 cargo aircraft was en route from Spain’s Vigo Airport (LEVX/VGO) to Lviv at the time of the accident.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 4 October 2019, security forces fired live rounds on protesters in Baghdad during the fourth consecutive day of anti-government protests. Additionally, a citywide curfew remains in effect. Despite a temporary restoration of internet services on 3 October, an internet blackout is in effect in much of the country. Thus far, at least 44 people have been killed and hundreds of others have been injured nationwide. Estimates of casualties are currently unavailable in regard to the unrest in Baghdad on 4 October.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Eritrea (Security threat level – 3): On 3 October 2019, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs issued an update to its travel advice for Eritrea regarding the availability of drinking water in the country. In the update, the advice notes that the sale of bottled water is currently suspended across Eritrea for unspecified reasons. Authorities have advised travelers to bring all necessary water filtering and purification materials with them into the country at this time.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 3 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au- Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: U.N. Headquarters near the Toussaint Louverture Airport in Port au Prince, elsewhere in the capital, and in other locations throughout Haiti

“Events: As has been publicly announced in local media, opposition protesters plan to gather at the U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince, near the airport on Friday, October 4, 2019. Protests are also planned throughout the city, as well as in other locations in Haiti.”

Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 3 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Ukraine, countrywide

"Event: Over the last 24 hours, protestors in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, and other cities have held peaceful demonstrations regarding recent government discussions on the war in eastern Ukraine. In Kyiv, the protests have been concentrated at Independence Square (also known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti), the Presidential Administration building located at Bankova 11, and at the Parliament building (Rada). Participation in these events are expected to grow through the weekend.

"Additionally, a number of streets will be closed in Kyiv due to the annual Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon on October 5-6, 2019. Detailed road closure information can be found at https://kyivmarathon.org/en/karti-distantsij/ . "