December
9

Worldview Security Update - December 9, 2019

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level - 2): In the late afternoon hours of 5 December 2019, an armed robbery at a jewelry store in Miami’s southwestern Coral Gables suburb was followed by a high-speed police pursuit and gunbattle between police officers and the robbers. The episode began at approximately 1615 local time (2115 UTC) when two men robbed the jewelry store, located in the upscale Miracle Mile neighborhood. The store owner briefly exchanged gunfire with the suspects, during which one store employee suffered minor wounds. The bullets also caused minor damage to the city hall building, situated adjacent to the shop. The assailants then fled in a northern direction and hijacked a UPS truck with the operator on board. A high-speed police pursuit ensued on Interstate 75 and concluded with gunbattle on Miramar Parkway near Flamingo Road in the Miramar suburb, located approximately 15 mi (25 km) north of Coral Gables. A total of four people -- including two robbers, the UPS driver and a passerby -- were killed by the end of the hour-long episode. A stretch of Miramar Parkway between Flamingo and Red Road remains shut down as of the morning of 6 December, as the U.S. FBI and local law enforcement agencies are further investigating the incident.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level - 3): As of 6 December 2019, trade unions across France have continued the second consecutive day of their strike action against a proposed pension reform. Approximately 90% of all high speed TGV trains and 20% of flights in the country have been canceled due to the ongoing strike. Public transportation services are expected to experience significant disruptions throughout the upcoming weekend of 7-8 December, as transport officials reallocated weekend workers to provide services on 9 December. Protesters previously announced that the general strike would continue until 9 December; on 6 December union leaders called for additional strikes and large-scale demonstrations to take place on 10 December.

On 5 December at least 800,000 people participated in nationwide protests, during which clashes broke out between police officers and protesters in several cities. In the capital Paris, protesters vandalized store windows and set barricades on fire near Place de la Republique. Police officers fired tear gas and set up security checkpoints in an effort to control the crowd. At least 71 people were arrested during the violence in Paris. Meanwhile, police officers fired tear gas at protesters in the cities of Bordeaux and Rennes after protesters began throwing projectiles. Additional police officers are expected to deploy across the country on 6 December to mitigate the risk of any further violence, as protests are expected to occur throughout the day.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

China (Security threat level - 3): On 6 December 2019, the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Locations:

  • Hong Kong Island
  • Kowloon
  • New Territories
  • Hong Kong International Airport
  • Hong Kong Transit Systems
  • Hong Kong Shopping Malls
  • Hong Kong Higher Education Facilities
  • Causeway Bay
  • Victoria Park
  • Wan Chai
  • Admiralty
  • Central
  • Chater Garden
  • Edinburgh Place
  • Tsing Yi Bridge

“Events: On Friday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m., media report there will be a 'Say No to Gas' assembly at Edinburgh Place in Central. On Saturday, December 7 at 3:00 p.m., media report protesters intend to disrupt traffic to Hong Kong International Airport at Tsing Yi Bridge. On Sunday, December 8 at 3:00 p.m., media report a 'World Day for Human Rights' march will occur from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central.

“This list is not necessarily exhaustive; protests at other times and locations may also occur. Any protests that take place without a permit are considered illegal.

“Protests are likely to disrupt transportation across Hong Kong. MTR stations can be closed and other transportation options can be cancelled on short notice. Over the past several weeks, some MTR stations have been closed for extended periods of time and the MTR network has closed earlier than usual.”
The full text of the Demonstration Alert is available here .

Myanmar (Security threat level - 4): On 5 December 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Yangon and various other cities across Myanmar

“Event: Demonstrations in support of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are planned for Yangon and Mandalay on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. The demonstration in Yangon will be held at Mahabandoola Park from 1:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. The Embassy expects similar demonstrations to take place in cities across Myanmar on Tuesday, December 10. Spontaneous demonstrations could break out on other days, possibly starting this weekend. U.S. Embassy staff are advised to avoid the December 10 demonstrations and any other demonstrations that may occur.”