Worldview Security Update – September 26, 2019
26-Sep-19

AMERICAS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 25 September 2019, anti-government protesters staged violent demonstrations in several areas of the capital Port-au-Prince. Demonstrators marched from the city’s Cite Soleli neighborhood to the upscale Petion-Ville area and set fire to a number of buildings. Separately, in Delmas commune, protesters set ablaze a gasoline fueling station. Demonstrators also used burning tires to barricade roads in the areas of Caradeux, Tabarre, Delmas and a nearby segment of the Route Nationale 1 (RN1), which connects the capital to the northern city of Cap-Haïtien. Police officers deployed tear gas to disperse the crowd after demonstrators threw stones and other projectile at the officers. However, there were no reports of significant injuries.

Meanwhile, on the political front, President Jovenel Moïse urged for peace and the formation of a unity government via a recorded broadcast. Opposition leaders have declined Moïse’s call for a political truce; as such, the political situation in Haiti remains tense and is conducive for additional anti-government gatherings.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 26 September 2019, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam held the first of three planned open dialogue sessions with approximately 150 randomly selected members of the general public at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai district. Authorities deployed at least 3,000 police officers to the venue to ensure security. Additionally, officials banned attendees from bringing umbrellas, gas masks and helmets, which protesters commonly use during clashes with police officers. Several hundred protesters gathered outside the venue and chanted anti-government slogans; however, the gathering concluded peacefully without significant disruptions.

Previously, on the evening of 25 September authorities suspended services at Sha Tin Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station in New Territories after a demonstration at the station to protest the alleged mistreatment of a commuter who attempted to bypass a ticket gate turned violent. Demonstrators vandalized some areas of the station, including the customer service center, ticket machines and turnstiles. Police officers dispersed the group and arrested at least two protesters.

Despite the commencement of the dialogue sessions, as of 26 September, a number of anti-government demonstrations are planned from 27-29 September and on 1 October. Beginning at 1930 local time (1130 UTC) on 27 September, a demonstration is scheduled to occur at Edinburgh Place in Central district to protest alleged abuses of protesters in detention centers. Organizers of the event have applied for a Letter of No Objection.

Additionally, at least three potentially disruptive events are planned for 28 September. Most notably, protesters have announced their intention to conduct a “stress test” at Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG). Previous tests have had mixed results, but an increased security presence along routes to the airport — as well as transportation disruptions — could occur if the protest action proceeds as planned. Separately, supporters of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) plan to march from Admiralty to Tamar Park beginning at 1900 local time that same day to mark the fifth anniversary of the Umbrella Revolution. Organizers have applied for a Letter of No Objection. Demonstrators also plan to build a large “Lennon Wall” — an area where protesters can post notes of support — in Admiralty.

On 29 September a protest march from Causeway Bay to the Central Government Offices is expected to begin at 1430 local time. Event organizers did not apply for a Letter of No Objection. This demonstration is part of a worldwide protest against totalitarianism.

Travelers should anticipate disruptions due to planned and potential impromptu protests on 1 October, which is the 70th National Day of the People’s Republic of China. Members of the CHRF plans to march from Victoria Park to Chater road in Central beginning at 1400 local time. Organizers have applied for a Letter of No Objection. If the CHRF protest is canceled, an alternative protest march is set to occur in Kowloon, including in Mong Kok, Wong Tai Sin and Tsim Sha Tsui.

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 0845 local time on 26 September 2019 (2345 UTC on 25 September), a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck the eastern Maluku province. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake was centered about 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Ambon, the provincial capital, and had a depth of 18 km. Following the quake, residents living along coastal areas of the province fled to higher grounds as a precaution, although authorities had ruled out the probability of a tsunami. The quake triggered several landslides in the surrounding region. A number of buildings in Ambon and elsewhere near the epicenter sustained shaking-related damage; one major bridge in the city was also damaged. At least 20 people were killed and at least 100 others suffered injuries as a result of the quake.

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 26 September 2019, thousands of students rallied for the fourth consecutive day in cities across the country, including in the capital Jakarta, along with Kendari, Samarinda and Surabaya, against proposed revisions to an anti-graft law. In Jakarta, protesters threw Molotov cocktails and clashed with police officers, who fired tear gas and water cannons at the crowd in response. More than 300 people were injured during clashes in the capital city. In Kendari, the capital of Southeast Sulawesi province, students gathered outside the regional parliament building before police officers deployed tear gas and water cannons at the crowd, resulting in clashes between officers and students. At least one protester was killed in the ensuing violence. In Samarinda, the capital of East Kalimantan province, thousands of students protested outside the government building on Jalan Teuku Umar road. Authorities erected barricades to prevent the demonstrators from entering the building. At least nine students received medical attention for fatigue-related illnesses, but there were no reports of injuries. In Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, thousands of student protesters marched from Bubutan Street to the front of the East Java government building on Jalan Indrapura, blocking vehicular traffic along the route. Authorities have detained more than 200 people since the protests began on 23 September.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): Shortly before 0300 local time (0100 UTC) on 26 September 2019, a large-scale fire broke out at the Lubrizol chemical plant in the northern port city of Rouen. Approximately 200 firefighters deployed to the scene and contained the blaze, but the fire has yet to be extinguished. Authorities have established a 500 m (1,640 ft) perimeter around the facility and have advised residents in Rouen and in surrounding areas to stay indoors and limit their movements as a precaution. Schools in at least 13 nearby municipalities have suspended classes for the day. There were no reports of casualties. A factory official stated that the fire broke out in a storage facility for packaged lubricant additives and spread on the premises; investigators are working to determine the cause of the blaze.

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 25 September 2019, Azur Air flight ZF2244 performed a hard landing at Barnaul International Airport (UNBB/BAX) in southern Siberia, causing the landing gear to catch fire. Emergency responders extinguished the blaze and evacuated all 334 passengers and 10 crew members aboard the aircraft. At least 56 people sought medical assistance after the landing. The flight originated from the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang. The aircraft reportedly executed a missed approach procedure prior to touchdown; an investigation into the incident remains underway.

Slovenia (Security threat level – 2): On 25 September 2019, Slovenian carrier Adria Airways announced that it would be further extending a temporary suspension of flight operations through at least 27 September. The suspension will affect a majority of Adria Airways’ flights, with the exception of scheduled flights from Frankfurt, Germany, to Ljubljana, Slovenia. The airline cited financial difficulties as the reason for the suspension. The Slovenian government has given the airline an ultimatum of 2 October to submit a restructuring plan before proceeding to terminate the airline’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), which will force the company to permanently cease operations.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 26 September 2019, unidentified militants targeted a convoy transporting Turkish engineers working for a government-sponsored aid organization at Mogadishu’s K5 junction with an improvised explosive device (IED). Three people, including two Turkish nationals, were injured in the bombing. Turkish diplomatic officials have not commented on the event. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is consistent with prior attacks by the militant group al-Shabab.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Cuba (Security threat level – 2): On 26 September 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Cuba, which reads in part as follows: "The Cuban Government has announced that it is taking measures to manage electricity and fuel supplies in the coming days and weeks in view of limited stocks and deliveries of oil in September. Government measures include prioritising supplies for essential services. The Government has said there will be notice of any planned power cuts. Transport services, including trains and buses, are being reduced. Tour operators, hotels and owners of casas particulares will be aware if their services are to be affected."
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 25 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued an Alert regarding the availability of consular services, which reads in part as follows:

"The Consular Section remains open for emergency American Citizen Services only. If you have a routine appointment on Sep. 26 or 27, please reschedule online. If your non-immigrant visa appointment is on September 26 or 27, please reschedule."

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 26 September 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel advisory for Sudan, in which it downgraded the level of the advisory from Level 4 (Do Not Travel) to Level 3 (Reconsider Travel). The advisory  reads in part as follows: "Reconsider travel to Sudan due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
"Country Summary: Crime, such as kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion, and carjacking can occur. This type of crime is more frequent outside of Khartoum.

"Members of known terrorist groups continue to be in Sudan and could pose a threat. Terrorist groups in Sudan may harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities, and areas frequented by Westerners.

"Demonstrations can occur with no warning. Recent demonstrations in Khartoum have been planned and peaceful with no police response. However, police and other security forces may respond to public demonstrations with violence. Foreigners could be targeted in reaction to national and international events.

"Violence continues along the border between Chad and Sudan and areas that border South Sudan (including the disputed Abyei area). Armed opposition groups are active in Central Darfur state and parts of Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Sudan, as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization from the Sudanese government to travel outside of Khartoum. The U.S. Embassy requires U.S. government personnel." in Sudan to use armored vehicles for official travel. "
To read the full text of the warning, please click here .

Turkey (Security threat level – 4): On 26 September 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul issued an Earthquake Alert, which reads in part as follows: "Event: The U.S. Consulate General Istanbul received initial press reports of a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Istanbul. There are no reports of casualties or significant structural damage at this time. Information on affected areas is available from Turkish authorities in English from the AFAD Website . "