November
26

Worldview Security Update - November 26, 2019

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level - 2): As of the morning hours of 26 November 2019, anti-government demonstrations are ongoing in Chile. In the capital Santiago, protesters have set up blockades, disrupting vehicular traffic on Santa Rosa and Americo Vespucio avenues; authorities have closed the San Rosa metro station due to the disturbances. Police officers used a water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters blocking traffic on Avenida Departamental earlier in the day. Demonstrators have begun to gather in Santiago’s Plaza Italia, and additional demonstrations are expected to occur in the city and elsewhere in Chile. The Chilean Dockworkers Union has launched a 48-strike, affecting operations at 24 ports. Additionally, education, health and public sector workers are scheduled to strike on 27 November. 

In the Biobío region, protest actions, including roadblocks, have been reported at different points along Ruta 160 and Ruta de la Madera. Additionally, protesters have blockaded Salvador Allende Avenue and a number of other thoroughfares in the city of Antofagasta, causing traffic jams. Roadblocks were also set up in the Tarapacá region.

EUROPE

Albania (Security threat level - 3): At approximately 0355 local time (0255 UTC) on 26 November 2019, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 12 km (8 mi) west-southwest of Mamurras, Albania, and about 30 km northwest of the capital Tirana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake was registered at an estimated depth of 20 km. The most significant damage occurred in the coastal city of Durrës, where a number of buildings have collapsed. Additionally, there are reports of notable damage to infrastructure in the cities of Tirana and Lezhe. The tremor was felt as far north as Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, as well as in North Macedonia and Kosovo. Schools in the cities of Durres, Lezhe and Tirana have suspended classes on 26 November, as emergency crews, including military personnel, have been deployed to conduct rescue efforts. At least two major aftershocks have followed the initial quake, and additional aftershocks are probable. As of the latest reports, at least 16 people were killed and more than 600 others sought medical attention for quake-related injuries; the fatality toll is likely to rise, as an unspecified number of people remain missing.

Georgia (Security threat level - 3): Early on 26 November 2019, riot police officers clashed with anti-government protesters demanding electoral reform, including thousands who had gathered outside the parliament building in central Tbilisi. Officers deployed water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, who were attempting to block lawmakers from entering the building. There were no reports of significant injuries due to the clashes.

On the evening of 25 November, thousands of protesters marched around the parliament building to call for changes to the electoral system; there were no reports of violence during this march. Anti-government activists also erected tents along Rustaveli Avenue -- Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare -- in the vicinity of the parliament building; the activists stated that they plan to continue demonstrating until lawmakers pursue the demanded legislation.

Germany (Security threat level - 3): On 26 November 2019, thousands of farmers peacefully gathered in Berlin to protest government-proposed agricultural reforms. At least 10,000 farmers with 5,000 tractors drove to a rally on Strasse des 17, near Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin. Major disruptions to bus, car and tram travel occurred, as tractors blocked highways and roads throughout the city as part of a “go slow” protest. Officials warned motorists to avoid driving throughout the day and recommended the use of the S-Bahn and U-Bahn for ground travel in the city.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level - 4): On 25 November 2019, militants affiliated with the Hizballah and al-Amal Shiite groups perpetrated violence against demonstrators in cities across Lebanon. In the capital Beirut, the militants opened fire on supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Saad el-Hariri at the city’s Cola Junction, located near Municipal Stadium. Military personnel quickly intervened to break up the clashes and there were no reports of casualties.

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Tyre, located approximately 85 km (50 mi) south of Beirut, the militants attacked anti-government protesters and destroyed protest encampments in the city’s al-Alam square. Security forces intervened to protect the demonstrators by firing live ammunition into the air; at least three people were injured during the clashes in Tyre.

Analyst Comment: Hizballah and al-Amal supporters view the ongoing anti-government protests -- particularly the protesters' demands for a technocratic government -- as an existential threat to the existing power structure in Lebanon, from which both groups have benefited economically and politically. The use of armed violence against protesters marks a significant escalation and travelers should monitor developments closely.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level - 4): On 26 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Goma, Beni and Butembo

“Event: Demonstrations are ongoing in the cities of Goma, Beni and Butembo. Some roads are blocked by protesters and crowds have gathered at MONUSCO locations. Police and security forces are deployed in the cities and have fired shots to disperse crowds. There is an ongoing risk of further protests.

“U.S. government personnel in the cities are advised to shelter in place and not travel on the streets during protests.”

Haiti (Security threat level - 4): On 25 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: "During an interview on a privately owned radio station, an individual made a threat against the U.S. Embassy, Union School and La Couronne (Coca-Cola). Haitian National Police have provided increased security for Union School and La Couronne."

Libya (Security threat level - 5): On 25 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, issued a Security Alert for Libya, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Libya

“Event: Continued fighting around Tripoli and the increased involvement of foreign forces and mercenaries has heightened the risk to civil aviation in Libyan airspace. On October 23, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited U.S. civil flight operations at all altitudes in the territory and airspace of Libya, noting an unacceptable risk to civil aviation operations.

“Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport remains closed, and significant limitations on commercial air travel transiting to or through Libyan airspace remain in place as a result of the ongoing civil conflict.”

Sierra Leone (Security threat level - 4): On 25 November 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Sierra Leone, which reads in part as follows: “Rabies, Lassa fever, water-borne diseases, malaria and other tropical diseases are common to Sierra Leone. In November 2019, an outbreak of Lassa fever has been reported in Tonkolili region of Sierra Leone. For more information and advice, visit NaTHNaC . ”