Members in urban centres in the coming weeks should continue to avoid further gatherings linked to the signing of a peace deal with Azerbaijan due to the risk of unrest. Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a peace deal on 10 November to end a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Protesters have since been gathering at Freedom Square in the capital Yerevan, among other locations. Their grievances revolve around Armenia’s perceived capitulation in the conflict. They are demanding for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the release of Armenian prisoners held in Azerbaijan and an early parliamentary election. The security forces have occasionally used heavy-handed tactics to disperse and detain protesters. Members should abide by ongoing martial law provisions, despite the recent easing of related restrictions (see separate alert).
Members in Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol states in the coming days should plan journeys accounting for disruption amid ongoing adverse weather conditions. The Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology has issued a red alert (highest on a four-tier scale) for heavy snowfall and rainfall, and a yellow alert (second-highest) for strong winds until 6 December. Heavy snow and icy conditions may disrupt road and rail transport, as well as power supply, in affected areas.
Members in the capital Brussels on 5 December should plan journeys bypassing planned rallies against national security legislation pursued by the French government (see our related reporting). Participants will gather between 12.00 and 14.00 (local time) at the Robert Schuman roundabout, as well as outside the French embassy and nearbyconsulate from 12.00. Although the events should pass off peacefully, localised traffic disruption and a heightened police presence can be expected around the protest sites.
At least four people were killed, and another three injured,between3-4December, duringseparate attacks on the villages ofAshigashiya, Talla Massi and Wemdeley (all Extreme North region). The assailants are suspected to be members of the Nigeria-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram. This incident follows repeated incursions by the group and its breakaway faction the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Such incidents mostly occur in the area located within 20 miles (32km) of the Nigerian border, where the risks associated with travel are rated as EXTREME. All travel to these areas should be avoided.
Members in Bossangoa (Ouham prefecture) should minimise movement until 6 December due to the potential for unrest. This follows a decision by the Constitutional Court to invalidate the candidacy of former president Francois Bozize (in office 2003-13, see separate alert) in the 27 December presidential election. Local sources indicate that the facilities of several humanitarian organisations in Bozize’s hometown were looted following the court’s announcement. Further security incidents and protests in the region should be expected in the coming days.
Members in China should continue to defer non-essential travel to Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR)’s Hulunbuir region and areas of Shanghai where COVID-19-related restrictions remain stringent. Two more areas in IMAR have been rated as ‘medium risk’ (middle level on a three-tier scale). While Shanghai’s Zhoupu town will be downgraded to ‘low risk’ starting 5 December, Zhangjiang and Zhuqiao towns remain ‘medium risk’ areas. Normal movement can resume to Tianjin, where all areas have been re-classified as ‘low risk’. Nonetheless, members should continue to monitor developments and reconfirm related restrictions before departure. Refer to the COVID-19 information within thePandemic Information Sitefor details.
Members in Goma (North Kivu province) over the coming days should anticipate and avoid further protests against insecurity in the city, due to the risk of unrest. Residents of the city’s Ndosho district on 5 December erected roadblocks to denounce the killing of seven people in the area by unidentified gunmen on the previous day. The demonstration was forcibly dispersed by the police. Fresh gatherings are likely to elicit a similar response, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Frequent attacks by armed groups highlight the need to avoid all travel to rural areas of the neighbouring Ituri and North Kivu provinces. Most recently, at least eight people early on 4 December were reportedly killed and six injured when the Patriotic and Integrationist Force of Congo (FPIC) militia raided Babukela village in Irumu territory (Ituri). We continue to rate the risks associated with travel to Ituri and North Kivu, excluding the cities of Bunia (Ituri), Beni and Goma (both North Kivu), as EXTREME.
Members in central and coastal areas of Croatia in the coming days should continue to anticipate travel disruption caused by heavy rain and snowfall, and plan journeys accordingly. An orange alert (second highest on a four-tier scale) will be in place on 5 December in Kvarner and Kvnarneric, West Istrian coast, North, Middle and South Dalmatia regions. A yellow alert (third highest) will be in place in Dubrovnik, Karlovac, Knin, Rijeka, Split, Velebit Channel and Zagreb regions. Severe weather conditions have prompted the local authorities to close access to numerous roads and bridges across central parts of the country. Heavy rain in Split (Split-Dalmatia county) has caused widespread flooding across the city, resulting in severe traffic disruption.
Members in urban centres on 7 December should anticipate disruption during demonstrations in support of independent media, and plan journeys accordingly. The rallies have been called by civil society groups to denounce the recent dismissal of the Czech Television (CT) supervisory board. In Hradec Kralove (Hradec Kralove region), protesters at 17.30 (local time) will gather in Masaryk Square before marching to the local CT offices. Participants in Jicin (Hradec Kralove) will assemble from 17.30 in Valdštejnovo Square. Related events are planned in other urban centres on the day. While they should pass off peacefully, traffic disruption is likely.
Members should continue to defer all inbound travel to Ethiopia amid an ongoing conflict between the federal government and the Tigray state authorities. On 28 November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the capture of Tigray’s capital Mekelle. The city experienced heavy fighting and bombings following the expiration on 25 November of a three-day ultimatum issued by Abiy Ahmed to Tigray’s ruling Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) demanding the latter’s surrender. Members currently in Ethiopia should continue to minimise non-essential movement, ensure access to emergency supplies to support a stand-fast period of at least one week, and defer travel to Tigray and Amhara states.
Members in Nantes (Pays de la Loire region) in the coming hours should avoid the vicinity of the city centre near Cours des 50 Otages due to an ongoing unruly protest. The police have deployed tear gas to disperse participants of a demonstration against controversial national security legislation.
Members in the capital Paris should avoid the vicinity of Avenue Gambetta, where tear gas has been fired to break up a demonstration against national security legislation. Protesters have reportedly erected roadblocks and set fire to refuse.
Members in urban centres, including the capital Tbilisi and Batumi (autonomous republic of Adjara),in the coming daysshould anticipate and avoid further protests over political and socio-economic issues. Opposition supporters have vowed to hold indefinitely election-related protests near the parliament building in Tbilisi and near the government building in Batumi. A separate demonstration will be held near parliament on 7 December by activists demanding amnesty of prisoners. A heavy security force presence is likely in the vicinity of rallies.
Members in the capital Athens on 6 December should plan journeys bypassing gatherings planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old student, by a police officer. The gatherings will take place on Mesologgiou and Tzavella streets in the Exarcheia area, where Grigoropoulos was shot. The authorities are likely to ban these rallies. Approximately 4,000 police officers will be deployed to maintain calm. Scuffles between security force personnel and participants are likely should the gatherings be banned but proceed anyway. Related gatherings may be held in other main urban centres.
Members in southern areas, particularly coastal Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu states and Puducherry (Pondicherry) union territory, should continue to exercise caution and anticipate disruption during the passage of former cyclonic storm Burevi. While Burevi has weakened into a low-pressure area, heavy rain and associated disruption remain likely in southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the coming days. Burevi, which remained off the coast of Ramanathapuram district (Tamil Nadu) on 5 December, is forecast to move inland and dissipate on 6 December. Further short-notice disruption remains possible.
Members in Indonesia over the coming weeks should plan journeysaccounting for disruption caused by heavy rain and associated flooding. Substantial rainfall is forecast to affect the capital Jakarta and other parts of the countrythroughout December. This may also trigger landslides. Such conditions since mid-November have affected parts of Aceh, Banten and North Sumatra provinces. Members should reconfirm the feasibility of journeys with local contacts before setting out.
Members in the north-eastern regions in the coming days should anticipate travel disruption caused by adverse weather conditions and plan journeys accordingly. Heavy rainfall and strong winds are forecast. The authorities on 5 December issued a red alert (the highest on a four-tier scale) for Veneto, Trentino-South Tyrol and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions.
Members in Kenya from 7 December should anticipate disruption during an indefinite nationwide strike by medical practitioners over working conditions. Associated protests have not yet been announced, but precedents indicate gatherings at hospitals and medical facilities are possible. The strike comes amid similar actions by other groups, including the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union and public health workers in Mombasa (Mombasa county).
Members in the state capital Chetumal (Quintana Roo state) on 8 December should plan journeys bypassing a planned pro-life demonstration to minimise travel inconvenience. Participants are expected gather in front of the state congress building at 12.00 (local time). While the demonstration is expected to be peaceful, it is liable to cause localised disruption.
Members in Niger should monitor developments and avoid all gatherings linked to the election campaign starting from 5 December. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities intend to go ahead with the legislative and presidential elections on 27 December. A total of 30 candidates will compete in the first round of the presidential vote. The threat of militant attacks during the election campaign and around the time of the vote will be heightened. While we do not expect large-scale social unrest, members should avoid all political gatherings as a precaution.
Members in the capital Abuja on 8 December should avoid a planned rally outside the National Assembly (parliament), due to the risk of unrest. The demonstration has been called by several civil society groups in protest at persistent insecurity and violence in the country’s northern states. Organisers have called on participants to ‘occupy’ the Three Arms Zone, where the National Assembly, Supreme Court, presidential villa and government buildings are located. The event is likely to cause significant disruption and it is liable to be forcibly dispersed by the police, particularly if demonstrators attempt to breach security cordons.
A humanitarian worker and two government officials were abducted by suspected militants at a checkpoint in the village of Wakilti (Borno state) on 30 November. Local sources indicate that the victims were returning to the regional capital Maiduguri from Mobbar (Borno). The incident highlights the EXTREME risks associated with travel to Borno state, and the need to avoid all journeys there.
Members in Cross River, Lagos, and Zamfara states on5 Decembershould exercise caution and abide by curfews related to senate by-elections. The curfew will be in place in Cross River and Lagos states on the dayfrom 06.00 to 18.00(local time). Under the curfew, movement betweenBekwarra,Obanliku,Obudu,OgojaandYalalocal government areas (LGAs, all Cross River) and betweenEpe,Ibeju Lekki,KosofeandSomoluLGAs (all Lagos) is prohibited. In Zamfara, a 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Bakura and Talata Mafara LGAs. The polls were suspended in October due to violence associated with the nationwide protests against police brutality.
Members in urban centreson 7 Decembershould avoid fresh protests over police brutality due to the risk of unrest. Nationwide demonstrations are planned to start at 10.00 (local time), despite a ban on such gatherings and the ongoing curfews in several states (see separate alert). In Lagos (Lagos state), participants will gather at Lekki Toll Gate and in the capital Abuja, the protest will start at the National Assembly. The authorities disbanded the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on 11 October. They subsequently confirmed the formation of a Special Weapons and Tactics unit to replace SARS. However, the move failed to curb protests as citizens demand extensive police reform.
Members in urban centresover the coming daysshould plan journeys bypassing further anti-government demonstrations, as a precaution and to minimise travel delays. Well-attended nationwide rallies and protest convoys organised by the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party have recently been held to demand Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's resignation. A fresh gathering is scheduled for5 December in the capital Skopje. Participants at 12.30 (local time) will gather separately outside the Boris Trajkovski and Jane Sandanski sport centres, before marching towards the government building, where the two groups will merge at 13.00. While related protests have passed off peacefully, significant traffic disruption is likely.
Members in Karachi (Sindh province) on 5 December should anticipate heightened security and avoid a planned march organised by the opposition Awami Workers’ Party, due to the risk of unrest. Participants at 15.00 (local time) are due to gather at Regal Chowk before proceeding to Fawara Chowk. The event will highlight several socio-economic and political issues, including inflation and alleged state-sponsored abductions, and is likely to be well attended. Localised traffic disruption can be expected and scuffles are possible. Demonstrators are liable to be dispersed by police officers enforcing COVID-19-related restrictions.
At least one person was killed and seven were injured in an explosion on 4 December near Pir Wadhai bus stand area in Rawalpindi (Punjab province). According to the local police, a bomb planted on the side of the road caused the explosion. No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack and investigations are ongoing. However, given that the blast occurred at a busy unsecured area, a terror motive is probable. Members are therefore reminded to adopt stringent security precautions, including implementing robust journey management plans and minimising time spent around crowded, low-security areas.
Members in the capital Warsaw over the coming hours should anticipate significant traffic disruption in Czyste district during an ongoing demonstration by farmers. Participants have used tractors to block the intersection of Marcina Kasprzaka and Płocka streets. The protesters are demanding the suspension of loan repayments and a greater market share for domestically produced food. Latest reports indicate the demonstration will soon end, with participants agreeing to be escorted out of the city by a substantial police contingent. However, this is likely to be a slow process and residual disruption is probable in the coming hours.
Members in Portugal should continue to abide by official directives following a 15-day extension of a COVID-19-related state of emergency until at least 23 December. As part of the fresh measure, a curfew has also been extended in 174 municipalities (locally known as concelhos), including the capital Lisbon and Porto (Norte region). It is in place from 23.00 to 05.00 (local time) on weekdays and from 13.00 to 05.00 on weekends. A nationwide ban on inter-municipal travelbetween the hours of 23.00 and 05.00 on weekends will also be in effect on4-9 December. Confirm region- and city-specific measures and refer to the COVID-19 information within thePandemic Information Sitefor full details of travel restrictions.
More cases reported. An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease has been reported in the country. Legionella bacteria are naturally present in the environment at low levels and the majority of people exposed do not become ill. Older people, smokers, and those with underlying health problems are at higher risk of developing symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Overall the risk to travellers is low. Anyone with symptoms who has been in the affected area should seek medical attention.
Members in Arrecife (Lanzarote island, Las Palmas province) on 5 December should plan journeys bypassing a rally organised by the far-right VOX party as a precaution and to minimise travel delays. Participants will gather at 12.00 (local time) at Jose Ramirez Cerda Park to denounce the rising number of migrants and refugees arriving in the Canary Islands. Party president Santiago Abascal is expected to attend the event, which may serve to draw large crowds and thus heighten the risk of potential clashes involving rival demonstrators and/or the police. Traffic disruption is also likely in the vicinity of the protest venue.
Members on the Canary Islands on 5 December should plan journeys bypassing rallies organised by the far-right Vox party as a precaution. Participants will denounce the arrival of migrants and refugees. These gatherings coincide with the visit of Vox party president Santiago Abascal, who is visiting Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote (all Las Palmas province) and Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife province)islands. Abascal will attend the event on Lanzarote, which may draw large crowds and thus heighten the risk of potential clashes between participants and rival demonstrators and/or the police. Traffic disruption is also likely in the vicinity of the protest venues.
Movement can resume with caution in locations affected by the passage of former cyclonic storm Burevi, particularly in Central, Eastern, North Central, North Western, Northern, Sabaragamuwa and Western provinces. Burevi exited Sri Lanka on 3 December and is currently located 90 miles (145km) west of Mannar district (Northern province). The weather system is likely to further weaken into a Low Pressure Area and cause thundershowers in Northern, North-western provinces as well as over Anuradhapura (North Central)and Trincomalee (Eastern) districts until 6 December. Heavy rainfall is liable to cause intermittent flooding in the northern and eastern areas.
Members in Switzerland in the coming daysshould plan journeys accounting for disruption due to heavy snowfall and strong winds, which are forecast to persist until 6 December. A level four (fourth-highest on a five-tier scale) snow warning is in place for Ticino canton and parts of Graubunden canton. A level three (third-highest on a five-tier scale) snow warning is in effect for most of the north-west. Heavy snowfall, high winds and icy conditions may disrupt road and rail transport, as well as power supply, in affected areas. Flight disruption remains possible, including at Geneva Airport (GVA, Geneva canton).
Members in the southern provinces should maintain flexible itineraries accounting for disruption due to the south-eastern monsoon period until at least March. Heavy rainfall has triggered flash floods and landslides that have closed roads and disrupted train services in the provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Satun, Trang and Yala. Members travelling during this period should reconfirm the feasibility of their journeys before setting out.
Members in Antalya and Mersin provinces in the coming hours should exercise caution following a magnitude 5.3 offshore earthquake at 15.44 (local time). The tremor struck 36 miles (58km) south of Alanya (Antalya) at a depth of 50 miles (80km). No damage has yet been reported.
Members in Scotland in the coming hours should plan journeys accounting for disruption due to ongoing heavy rainfall and flooding. The severe weather has affected the Aberdeen-Inverness, Edinburgh-Glasgow and Edinburgh-Helensburgh rail lines. In addition, disruption has also been reported to the tram network in Edinburgh, which is temporarily not serving Edinburgh Airport (EDI) due to flooding along the line.
Members in the US over the coming hours should exercise caution and anticipate potential unrest linked to demonstrations over police brutality and reform, among other issues. There are persistent underlying risks associated with such events due to the emotive nature of the issues and the potential presence of firearms, counter-demonstrators and extremist individuals. Members attending related gatherings should be aware of their surroundings, maintain access to reliable means of communication and leave at the first sign of unrest.
Members in Venezuela in the coming weeks should avoid demonstrations linked to the upcoming National Assembly (parliament) elections due to the risk of unrest. The elections, to be held on 6 December, have been denounced by domestic opposition, various foreign governments, and the Organisation of American States as fraudulent. Opposition leaders have declared their intent to boycott the vote and have likewise organised various demonstrations, including a national day of protest on 12 December. Associated demonstrations carry significant risk of unrest, including potential clashes between participants and the security forces or pro-government paramilitaries. In-country staff should exercise caution and minimise movement during related events.