Members in the capital Yerevan on 14 September should plan routes bypassing a protest linked to a controversial mining project in Jermuk (Vayots Dzor province). Disruption is likely to affect the entire city centre; the demonstration is expected to start at 18.30 (local time) from three different locations (see more detail section), with participants eventually congregating at Liberty Square. Local residents of Jermuk are reportedly travelling by road to join the protest. A related demonstration in Yerevan on 19 August involved minor scuffles between participants and the police; several people were arrested.
Members in the capital Canberra and other urban centres should expect localised disruption around a series of climate protests by studentson 20 September. The rallies, under the ‘School Strike 4 Climate’ banner, are part of an international movement to demand more effective government action on climate change issues. Similar demonstrations in March attracted around 150,000 people. The upcoming protests are expected to be similarly well attended and pass off peacefully.
Members should continue to defer non-essential travel to Abaco, Berry and Grand Bahama islands due to catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Dorian. Reports indicate that at least 45% of homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco have been severely damaged or destroyed. Electricity and telecommunications outages persist and several roads have been damaged. Looting has been reported in several areas affected by Dorian, prompting the government to deploy security force personnel to maintain order.
Tropical Storm Humberto was moving away from the north-western Bahamas on 15 September, having caused much less damage than feared. There were concerns that Humberto would exacerbate the devastation recently brought by Hurricane Dorian, with hundreds of people still missing. However, while it brought some rain, Humberto's strongest winds skirted the islands. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has lifted a tropical storm warning for the north-western Bahamas, as Humberto moves offshore from Florida state (US) towards Bermuda and becomes a hurricane. Members should nonetheless continue to defer non-essential travel to Abaco and Grand Bahama in the wake of Dorian.
Members should avoid the vicinity of planned protests between 15 and 28 September by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in urban centres, including the capital Dhaka. The BNP has called for a series of ‘human-chain’ protests by supporters to demand the release of the party’s imprisoned chairperson Khaleda Zia. Specific protest locations have not yet been confirmed, though potential venues include public grounds, press clubs, BNP party offices and main roads. While a related protest on 11 September at the National Press Club in Dhaka passed off peacefully, there remains a risk of disturbances during BNP gatherings.
Members should avoid all gatherings in the lead-up to the general elections scheduled for 20 October. President Evo Morales’ controversial re-election candidacy and opposition to his policies have sparked protests in recent months throughout the country. Further demonstrations are likely in major urban centres and along key road routes in rural areas. Such gatherings, often resulting in transport disruption, carry a latent risk of localised violence, particularly in opposition strongholds such as Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz department). Clashes between rival demonstrators on 12 September in the centre of Santa Cruz resulted in several injuries (see More detail section).
Members travelling to Uyuni (Potosi department) in the coming days should reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out due to an ongoing strike and accompanying roadblocks affecting the city since 11 September. Demonstrators have erected roadblocks along key highways outside the city, cutting it off from major urban centres. Hundreds of tourists, including foreign visitors, have reportedly been unable to leave the city by road routes. Protesters are demanding that the entire Uyuni city council resign due to continued unresolved political tensions, and have vowed to maintain roadblocks until their demands are met.
Members in Northwest and Southwest regions should exercise caution following fresh Anglophone (English-speaking) separatist calls for 'ghost town' and 'lockdown' protests. Secessionist groups have called for a 'ghost town' day on 16 September after several weeks of demonstrations from 26 August. Members on essential travel in these regions should liaise with local contacts for information on related demonstrations, and avoid all such events due to a credible risk of violence. A call by President Biya on 10 September for national dialogue met with mixed reactions from Anglophone civil society.
Members in the capital Kinshasa on 16 September should avoid a sit-in demonstration outside the UN mission (MONUSCO) office as a precaution, due to the risk of unrest. Participants at 11.00 (local time) are due to gather at the facility, which is located in the Gombe district, in protest at the security situation in the country. A heightened security force presence is likely to accompany the event.
Several rallies were reported to be under way on 15 September in the cities of Gondar and Dessie and the town of Debre Tabor (all Amhara region) in support of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Members of Ethiopia's main Christian community say that some of their churches have been burned recently, and additional gatherings are therefore possible elsewhere in the region. While rallies are likely to pass off peacefully, members should anticipate disruption in affected areas.
Members in major urban centres across Europe and Central Asiaon 20, 22 and 27 September should plan journeys bypassing 'Global Climate Strike' demonstrations to minimise inconvenience. Protests are being organised as part of a movement inspired by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. A 'Global Strike for Climate' on 24 May attracted in excess of 1m participants from more than 100 countries. Marches in capital cities are likely to be well attended, causing disruption.
Members in the capital Paris on 16 September should plan journeys accounting for disruption during a demonstration over pension reforms. Representatives of various professions, including lawyers, pilots and health workers, are due to rally from 13.00 (local time) at Place de l’Opera. The organisers are expecting a substantial turnout. While the SNPL pilots’ union has called on its members to support the event, significant disruption to air transport is not expected.
Members in urban centres should continue to avoid weekly Saturday protests by the Yellow Vests ('Gilets Jaunes', GJ) movement due to the risk of localised unrest. The next gatherings are scheduled for 21 September. The movement has called on its supporters to gather in the capital Paris, where a large rally is due on Avenue des Champs-Elysees at 10.00 (local time). Another protest is scheduled to start at 13.00 at Place de la Comedie in Montpellier (Occitanie region).
Members in Sukhum, the de-facto capital of the breakaway separatist region of Abkhazia, should avoid a protest on 17 September over the recent presidential election. Supporters of opposition candidate Alkhas Kvitsinia, of the Amtsakhara party, will gather at 11.00 (local time) to protest against the electoral commission's decision to declare victory for incumbent Raul Khajimba (see our related report). The gathering will coincide with a court hearing and is likely to take place outside the High Court.
Members in the capital Tbilisi on 15 September should avoid a demonstration at 16.00 (local time) outside the US embassy by the opposition Alliance of Patriots of Georgia party. The party is protesting against the alleged mistreatment of its leader Irma Inashvili by a former US government official during a conference on 10 September in Tbilisi.
Members in Frankfurt (Hesse state) on15 Septembershould plan itineraries accounting for travel disruption due to a protest by environmental activists. Participants plan to gather in front of Naturmuseum Senckenberg at 10.00 (local time) before marching towards the Messe Frankfurtconference centre, which is currently hosting the annual International Motor Show. A related demonstration on 14 September attracted nearly 25,000 participants and caused significant disruption to traffic and public transport in the city centre.
Members in the capital Athens in the coming days should anticipate further protests and exercise caution around theExarcheianeighbourhooddue to a risk of unrest. More than 1,000 people participated in a demonstration in central Athens on 14 September against a recent push by the authorities to clear buildings in Exarcheia that they claim to be illegally occupied. The event was followed by clashes on Spyros Trikoupi Street in Exarcheia, where around 50 demonstrators threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police officers. Similar disturbances have been reported over the issue in the past weeks.
Members on Zakynthos island (also known as Zante, Ionian Islands region) over the coming days should exercise caution and follow official directives, after a wildfire on 15 September broke out in the south of the island. Tourists and local residents have been evacuated from Agalas and Keri villages, while strong winds have hampered efforts to bring the fire under control.
Protesters were reported to be blocking the National Highway 1 (Route 1) with motorcycles in the Bon Repos district of the capital Port-au-Prince on the morning of 15 September. Demonstrators were also burning tyres to barricade Avenue Panamericaine outside a hotel in Petionville (Ouest department). The roadblocks are in protest at fuel shortages (see our related report). Members should plan journeys avoiding the affected areas in the coming hours.
Seven foreign nationals were convicted on 13 September of plotting a terrorist attack in Almaty (Almaty region). The men, all Tajik citizens, were allegedly intending to target a bank and a monastery in the city. The court heard that the group was radicalised by a 'mentor' from Afghanistan and were planning their attacks in Almaty between December 2018 and January 2019. They were found in illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and a home-made explosive device. Their arrest and prosecution highlights the latent threat of militancy in MEDIUM risk areas of Kazakhstan, as well as the security forces' capabilities in containing such threats.
Members in Kenya are reminded of the persistent threat of crime countrywide, especially in the capital Nairobi, after official statistics for 2018 released on 13 September indicated an overall 13% increase in crime over the past year. The majority of incidents involved petty crime, such as theft, and other minor offences. However more serious crimes, such as homicide and sexual assault, also rose. Members should maintain a low profile, exercise vigilance and choose accommodation with a robust security perimeter to mitigate the risks posed by crime, which apply in all areas.
Members inthe capital Mexico Cityon15-16 Septembershould anticipate heightened security measures and associated disruption due to celebrations related to Independence Day. Festivities will begin atthe Plaza de la Constitucion at 16.00 (local time) on 15 September and continue until 16 September (Independence Day). On 16 September, a military parade will start at around 10.00 from Plaza de la Constitucion and proceed down Paseo de la Reforma to the Auditorio Nacional. Additionally, Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) will suspend flight operations from 10.00 to 13.15 on 16 September in order to facilitate the military parade, in which Mexican Air Force will also participate.
Members are reminded of the need for stringent precautions when undertaking essential travel to Tamaulipas state following multiple clashes between organised criminal gangs along the Reynosa-San Fernando highway on 12 September. Rival criminal groups reportedly clashed along the highway near Doroteo Arango, before blocking the highway by setting a trailer truck alight to prevent the security forces from arriving to the scene. Separately, along the same highway in Reynosa, criminals exchanged fire with police and blocked the roadway near Balcones de Alcala. The incidents highlight the significant risks posed by organised crime in Tamaulipas.
Members in the capital Port Moresby and other urban centres on 16 September should avoid Independence Day events as a precaution. Road closures and traffic diversions can be expected on the day around event venues. There is an increased risk of crime in congested traffic and near large gatherings. Members should liaise with local contacts for information on related gatherings and reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.
Members in Arequipa (Arequipa region) should anticipate protests on 16 September when a strike is planned over a controversial mining project in the region's Islay province. The day coincides with the opening of a mining conference at Arequipa city's Cerro Juli convention centre, where demonstrators may congregate outside. The strike is planned across Arequipa, Moquegua, Tacna and Cusco regions. A protest march was also being organised to the capital Lima, some 800 miles (1,300km) to the north. While no further details of that long-distance rally were available, the plans follow a regional march towards Arequipa city earlier in September.
Members in Ulan-Ude (Buryatia republic) should continue to avoid protests over recent mayoral election results and in support of controversial shaman Alexander Gabyshev, from the ethnic-Yakut community. Around 1,000 people participated in a related authorised rally on 15 September at Yubileiny park. While the gathering passed off peacefully, there remains a potential for localised disturbances during further demonstrations, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
The interior ministry confirmed on 14 September that two oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais (both Eastern province) were targeted by drones at approximately 04.00 (local time). The authorities did not blame a specific group for the attack, which resulted in the suspension of around half the country's oil production. The Yemen-based Houthi group claimed responsibility. While travel to most MEDIUM risk areas of Saudi Arabia, including Eastern province, can continue, members should monitor developments and exercise heightened caution around likely targets for attacks.
Members due to travel via Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) in the capital Dakar on 16 September shouldavoid a planned sit-in to denounce the mismanagement of and costly parking at the airport. The gathering is set to start at 15.00 (local time). While flights are unlikely to be affected, the group is planning to demonstrate outside the airport and in the parking area and are liable to cause localised disruption.
Members in urban centres over the coming days should anticipate further protests by civil society organisations over gender-based and xenophobic violence, and plan journeys accordingly. A series of rallies denouncing gender-based violence began in Cape Town (Western Cape province) on 4 September, whilst xenophobic unrest has increased since the end of August. Xenophobic attacks on truck drivers triggered demonstrations in Johannesburg and Pretoria (both Gauteng province), during which acts of looting occurred and hundreds of people were arrested. At least 12 people, mostly local nationals, have been killed.
Members in southern and eastern regions in the coming days should continue to expect travel disruption following heavy rainfall and flash flooding caused by storms on 12-13 September. The AEMET meteorological agency early on 15 September lifted orange and red alerts (the two highest on a four-tier scale) for rain in Andalusia, Murcia and Valencia autonomous communities as the storm moved westward towards central Spain. However, several roads remain impassable and clean-up and repair work is under way.
Members in Zurich (Zurich canton) in the coming hours should avoid the vicinity of Limmatstrasse and Escher-Wyss-Platz due to ongoing unrest. Anarchist activists have reportedly set fire to several containers and blocked the street after clashing with the police. Officers had earlier fired tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowd.
Members in Thailand until at least the end of October should maintain flexible itineraries accounting for disruption during the annual monsoon season. The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) has issued warnings for further heavy rainfall and flooding in northern and north-eastern provinces in the coming week, likely exacerbating disruption caused by the recent passage of tropical storms Kajiki and Podul. Flash floods and landslides have resulted in intermittent road closures and flight disruption nationwide since May. Members travelling during the rainy season are advised to reconfirm flight itineraries and liaise with local contacts regarding the feasibility of journeys before setting out.
Members in Tunisia should avoid all political gatherings linked to the 15 September presidential election, as a precaution. Campaigning is ongoing until13 September, and the results are expected by 17 September. Should no candidate win a majority of votes, a run-off will be organised within two weeks of the release of the results. Ongoing tensions between the main political parties, and the risk of militant attacks during the electoral cycle, mean that heightened security can be expected in the capital Tunis and other major cities.
Members in the capital Ankara on 16 September should anticipate heightened security and associated disruption during a high-profile summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia and Iran. Presidents of the three countries will meet at theCankaya Mansion to discuss the current situation in the Syrian de-escalation zone of Idlib province. The dialogue is part of a peace process that was started in January 2017. The meeting follows a ceasefire in Idlib from 31 August, which reportedly was broken by the Syrian air force on 12 September.
Members in Kharkiv (Kharkiv province) should exercise caution in the coming hours. This comes after violence erupted in the vicinity of Rymarska Street at the end of the city's first LGBT Pride parade. At least two LGBT activists on the 'March for Equality' were taken to hospital after being attacked by members of a far-right nationalist group. Clashes between far-right activists and members of security forces were also reported in the area.Fifteen members of far-right groups were arrested.
Several hundred loyalists on 14 September staged a peaceful protest outside the City Chambers in Glasgow (Scotland) over a recent city council decision to ban republican and loyalist marches scheduled for 14-15 September. The prohibition followed recent clashes between rival activists and the police during republican marches and loyalist counter-protests in the city on 30 August and 7 September. Further marches are planned for the coming weeks (see More detail); the city council has yet to announce whether these will be allowed to proceed. Members should monitor developments and avoid all potential gatherings due to the risk of unrest.
An attempt by the ‘Heathrow Pause’ (HP) environmental activist group on 13 September to fly drones to halt operations at the capital London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) failed. The police detained 18 activists. The group planned to fly drones inside a three-mile (5km) exclusion zone around the airport. Reports suggest that activists intend to remain within the zone over the weekend. The police have implemented a dispersal zone around the facility until 04.30 (local time) on 15 September. Members travelling via Heathrow airport should continue to monitor developments and reconfirm flight schedules.
Normal movement around the Ballston Quarter mall in Arlington (Virginia state) can resume, following unfounded reports of gunfire at a cinema there late on 14 September. The mall was evacuated before a police investigation determined that no shooting had occurred.
The authorities have lifted warnings for Tropical Storm Humberto, which is no longer expected to significantly affect Florida state. A tropical storm watch previously issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) for the area from Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler-Volusia county line (both Florida) has now been removed. The weather system is forecast to turn north-east over the next 24 hours, away from the US, as it strengthens into a hurricane. Members should remain abreast of developments due to the unpredictability of tropical storms.
Members in the capital Lusaka on 15 September should avoid a planned rally at Mutambe Grounds in the Mandevu area as a precaution. The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) said that the rally would proceed, despite the fact the police 9 September denied authorisation for the event. Although organisers say the rally will be peaceful, there is a credible risk of clashes with the police as the event is unauthorised.