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Worldview Weekly Security Update – 16 September – 19 September 2019

Monday 16  September 2019:

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 15 September 2019, police officers in the capital Tegucigalpa clashed with members of the Libertad y Refundacion Party — the country’s main opposition party — on Morazan Boulevard, as the opposition members attempted to march toward National Stadium, where a parade to commemorate the country’s Independence Day was being held. Police officers deployed tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters, who threw rocks and other projectiles at the officers. However, there were no reports of injuries or arrests. The opposition organized the protest against President Juan Orlando Hernandez and demanded his immediate departure, in addition to the release of political prisoners and justice for the families of murdered of prominent social leaders.

China (Security threat level – 3): Over the weekend of 14-15 September 2019, a number of anti-government protests occurred across Hong Kong. In the evening hours of 15 September protesters and police officers engaged in clashes in the Admiralty, Causeway Bay, Central and Wan Chai districts and the North Point and Fortress Hill areas. Protesters also started fires at and near a number of Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations. As a result of the damage sustained during the violent demonstrations, MTR officials temporarily suspended services through the Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai stations; operations resumed at these stations on the morning of 16 September.

Earlier in the day on 15 September, several thousand protesters gathered outside the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay and marched to Chater Garden in Central. As the march proceeded to Wan Chai and Admiralty districts, some of the protesters smashed windows and surveillance cameras and erected barricades at the entrances of MTR stations. Protesters then marched to the government headquarters on Harcourt Road in Admiralty and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at riot police officers stationed inside the building. In response, the officers deployed tear gas, and fired rubber bullets and water cannons laced with blue dye at the crowd. Activists then retreated to Wan Chai before spreading across the city in smaller groups and perpetrating violence through the nighttime hours. At least eight people were injured during clashes that took place over the course of the day.

At approximately 1500 local time (0700 UTC) on 14 September, small-scale clashes broke out between government supporters and pro-democracy protesters at the Amoy Plaza shopping complex in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district. Police officers arrived at the scene by 1530 local time and intervened to separate the opposing groups, after which there were no reports of additional confrontations. Earlier, at approximately 1100 local time, confrontations had occurred in Tseung Kwan O in New Territories and in Fortress Hill on Hong Kong Island after government supporters attempted to destroy a “Lennon Wall,” an area for pro-democracy protesters to post notes. However, there were no reports of arrests.

Additional protests were held in Tin Shui Wai and Edinburgh Place in Central the same day. In Edinburgh Place, secondary students held a peaceful rally. Despite a ban on the demonstration in Tin Shui Wai, anti-government protesters still attended. Between 1700 and 2030 local time, a group of protesters and riot police had a standoff along Tin Wah road. Authorities stated that at least 25 people suffered injuries during the violence on 14 September.

Meanwhile, on 13 September peaceful demonstrations were held throughout the city in observance of the annual Mid-Autumn Festival. Protesters gathered atop Lion Rock and Victoria Peak to form human chains to demand that the government accept the remaining four demands of the protesters, which are as follows: an independent investigation into alleged police brutality, pardons for all arrested protesters, a government retraction of the classification of the protests as “riots” and democratic reforms.

France (Security threat level – 3): On 14 September 2019, approximately 1,800 people gathered in Nantes for the 44th consecutive weekend of “yellow vest” protests. Police officers fired tear gas and water cannons after demonstrators threw projectiles and attempted to destroy windows of nearby businesses. An unspecified number of people were injured in the violence and police officers arrested at least 35 protesters. Additional demonstrations occurred in the cities of Lyon, Nancy, Paris and Toulouse, but there were no reports of violence at those gatherings.

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 14 September 2019, Houthi rebels based in Yemen claimed responsibility for coordinated armed drone attacks against two Saudi Aramco facilities — the Abqaiq facility in the eastern town of Buqayq and the Khurais oil field, located approximately 165 km (102 mi) east of the capital Riyadh. The drone strikes caused fires at both locations and led to several subsequent explosions at the Abqaiq facility; Saudi authorities stated that they have contained the fires. According to a Houthi spokesperson, the group employed a total of 10 armed drones to conduct the attacks. No casualties were reported as a result of the fires or subsequent explosions.

The attacks have forced a reduction in Saudi Arabia’s oil production of approximately 50% while authorities work to restore full oil supply capacity. Immediately following the attacks, the price of crude oil increased approximately 19%, due in large part to the fact that the Abqaiq processing facility and Khurais oil field together account for approximately 5% of global crude supplies.

On 15 September U.S. officials released satellite images showing the extent of the damage at the Abqaiq oil facility. The images showed at least 17 impact craters at the facility. U.S. officials assert that the pattern of damage at the facility indicates that the attacks did not originate in Yemen, but rather in a country to the north of Saudi Arabia, such as Iraq or Iran.

Tuesday 17 September 2019:

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 16 September 2019, anti-government protesters disrupted all daily routine activities, including transportation services, in the capital Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. In Port-au-Prince, protesters set up roadblocks and staged demonstrations, causing severe transportation disruptions. There were reports of roadblocks comprising burning tires at a number of locations in the city, including on Airport Road, and in the communes of Bourdon, Christ-Roi, Croix-des-Bouquêts, Delmas, Lalue, Nazon and Pétion-ville. Sporadic protests also occurred at the aforementioned locations. Fuel shortages and corruption allegations against President Jovenel Moise prompted the anti-government protest actions, which are likely to continue on 17-18 September.

Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): Shortly after 1300 local time (0830 UTC) on 17 September 2019, a suicide attacker detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near Massoud Square in Kabul’s Police District 9. The explosion occurred near buildings of the Ministry of Defense. Reports indicate that at least 22 people were killed and 38 others were injured in the blast.

Earlier, at approximately 1140 local time (0710 UTC), another bombing targeted President Ashraf Ghani’s election campaign rally in Charikar, the provincial capital of Parwan, located nearly 70 km (45 mi) north of Kabul. A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle detonated an IED at a security checkpoint outside the rally venue as Ghani began addressing the crowd; Ghani escaped unharmed. At least 26 attendees were killed and 42 others were injured in this attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Italy (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1100 local time (0900 UTC) on 17 September 2019, an assailant armed with a pair of scissors stabbed a soldier stationed outside the Milano Centrale Railway Station in central Milan. Security personnel in the area arrested the perpetrator immediately following the attack. The soldier – who suffered non-life threatening wounds — was transported to a hospital for treatment. Local media sources have reported that the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar” during his arrest; police officers are investigating to determine if the attack was terrorism- related.

Wednesday 18 September 2019:


Thursday 19 September 2019: