December
6

Worldview Security Update - December 6, 2019

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level - 4) : On 5 December 2019, a countrywide general strike in Colombia concluded largely peacefully, despite isolated small-scale clashes between protesters and police officers in the capital Bogotá and the cities of Cali and Medellin. In Cali, clashes initially broke out near the Universidad del Valle, where a homemade explosive device detonated. At least one student reportedly suffered minor injuries. Altercations between police officers and protesters also occurred in the western area of the city. Additionally, isolated clashes took place in Bogotá and Medellín, but there were no reports of significant injuries.

Approximately 40,000 people participated in protests throughout the country. In Bogotá, protesters marched from the Parque Nacional and held a large rally at the city’s main Plaza de Bolívar. Protesters also marched through the Chapinero neighborhood and along Troncal Norte, which forced transportation officials to suspend operations at the Terminal, Calle 187, Toberín, Calle 161, Mazurén, Calle 146, Calle 142 and Portal Norte metro stations. In Medellín, protesters marched along Carrera Carabobo to Ciudad del Río; additionally, protesters gathered at the University of Antioquia and blocked the Autopista Norte highway.

Representatives of trade unions, student groups and indigenous organizations are expected to participate in a meeting with government officials later on 5 December to discuss their demands, which include economic reforms and better access to educational opportunities. Anti-government protests are likely to continue in Bogotá and elsewhere in the country unless authorities reach a settlement with the protesters.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level - 3): Large-scale demonstrations are planned across France on 5 December 2019 to protest anticipated pension reforms. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to participate in at least 245 different demonstrations throughout the day. The largest demonstration is occurring in Paris, where protesters gathered at Gare du Nord and marched to the Place de la Nation. During rallies in Bordeaux, Rennes and Nantes, small clashes occurred between police officers and protesters. Authorities have implemented heightened security measures due to the increased risk of violence perpetrated by “yellow vest” and black bloc protesters, including closing down shops along protest routes, conducting precautionary checks on people and increasing police officer presence along protest routes. Travelers in France should avoid all areas where large gatherings are taking place due to the probability of violence breaking out at ongoing protests.

Additionally, strikes have caused significant disruptions to most public services, including aviation, bus, education, rail, tourism and several other sectors. Aer Lingus, Air France, easyJet and Ryanair announced flight cancellations in preparation for the strike. Officials for easyJet canceled 223 flights from 5-11 December. Additionally, the French aviation authority Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) warned that approximately 20% of scheduled flights would be canceled through at least 6 December, including at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (LFPG/CDG), Orly Airport (LFPO/ORY) and Le Bourget Airport (LFPB/LBG). Public transport services have been disrupted in most cities, as most train services, including the Transport express regional (TER) trains, long distance TGV trains and the Paris Metro, are operating at a significantly reduced capacity. Paris transport unions have also announced that the strike would continue through 9 December. Transportation disruptions are expected to continue across the country through the upcoming weekend of 7-8 December and further cancellations to public services are highly likely.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Austria (Security threat level - 2): On 4 December 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Vienna issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Announced gathering points include, but are not limited to, the following areas in Vienna:

  • Theodor Herzl Platz

"Event: On December 6-8, 2019 protesters will gather from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day to protest increases in fuel prices in Iran."

Haiti (Security threat level - 4): On 5 December 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince issued a Security Alert regarding upcoming protests, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Petionville, Carrefour Peyan (Delmas 18), Solino, Champ de Mars, Croix des Bouquets, Carrefour Marassa, and in front of the U.S. Embassy.

"Events: There are planned protests on December 5th and 6th, whose protest routes include the U.S. Embassy. Both protests have been advertised on social media and are set to start around 10:00 a.m."

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

"Demonstration Alert – Bamako, Mali Saturday – 07 December 2019

“Beginning at 9:00 am from Magic Cinema (ex-Babemba) – via Monument de L’Independence to end at Bourse du Travail. The demonstration is organized by The Patriot Group of Mali and is authorized by the local government.”

Russia (Security threat level - 3): On 5 December 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Russia, countrywide

“Event: According to local media reports, dozens of locations throughout Russia recently received telephonic bomb threats. The targeted facilities included court houses, shopping centers, and airports. In all instances, police sweeps of the area did not detect the presence of explosive devices and the calls were considered hoaxes.

“Local police authorities must treat each event as a real threat and are required to inspect and often evacuate the targeted venue.”