Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 11

Headlines From This Week 

  • Curfew Implemented in Colon, Panama – Following a spate of civil unrest, a curfew was implemented in Colon on 13 March. Protests were triggered in response to the poor implementation of an infrastructure renovation project, which has led to sanitation issues and flooding. Police with less-than-lethal weapons clashed with protesters throwing rocks, resulting in numerous injured. Isolated reports of burned vehicles and looting also occurred. Tensions are likely to persist.
  • Violent Protests in Conakry, Guinea – Protests centred around the Wanindara suburb of Conakry have been ongoing since 13 March, following demands by opposition leaders for the vote counts from the February election to be made public. At least two people were shot dead during the unrest, however the circumstances of these remain unclear. Disruption was caused to bauxite extraction and export operations in the region.
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Attacked on 13 March – The Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, was targeted by a roadside improvised explosive device in Gaza. The blast damaged several vehicles in the Prime Minister’s motorcade, although no casualties were reported. The aim of the attackers remains unclear, and no group has sought to claim credit for the attack. Ongoing tensions between Hamas and Fatah may have been a factor in the lead up to the attack.
  • Police killed in Chhattisgarh – Nine members of India’s Central Reserve Police Force were killed in Chhattisgarh when their protected vehicle was struck by a large improvised explosive device. The attack was carried out by a Maoist insurgent group known locally as the Naxals. Reporting suggests that a large number of Naxal fighters continue to operate in the region; attacks are generally focussed on security forces or government targets.
  • Russia and the UK Reciprocate Diplomatic Expulsions – Following an apparent assassination attempt by suspected Russian agents in Salisbury, UK, the British and Russian governments have engaged in tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomatic staff. Deteriorating relations between the UK and Russia are likely to have wider impact on relations between Russia, and both the EU and US. Russian travellers in the UK, or British travellers in Russia may experience increased levels of harassment from locals or, if in Russia, officials following the incident.
  • 50,000 Refugees Departed Eastern Ghouta – Present estimates suggest that intermittent lulls in the fighting around the Damascus suburb of Easter Ghouta have permitted approximately 50,000 civilians to flee over the past week.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Russian Presidential Election – The Russian presidential election is scheduled for 18 March. The incumbent president, Vladimir Putin, is running against seven opposition candidates, yet is presently receiving approximately 70 per cent support in official polling. Election fraud and corruption is endemic throughout Russia, and urban protests in response to such allegations frequently follow elections. Travellers should be aware that heightened security measures are likely to be in place throughout the election period and near polling sites.
  • Tunisian Independence Day – Tunisia celebrates its Independence Day on 20 March. The country has recently experienced waves of protests, in part due to the relative impunity enjoyed by security forces when accused of malpractice or brutality, and also due to the perceived lack of judicial independence. It is likely that protests will occur during the Independence Day events, and there remains an underlying risk that these may become violent.
  • Ugadi/Nyepu – The festival of Ugadi represents the New Year celebrated by Hindu populations in India and across the world. Celebrations often vary by region, however travellers are likely to experience disruption and reduced services when visiting any majority-Hindu area. Indonesian Hindus refer to the holiday as Nyepi; services may be shut down in some areas during the celebrations; Bali is scheduled to restrict internet access.
  • Nowruz – Nowruz is the traditional Persian New Year, and is celebrated on 20 March in a number of countries with historical cultural ties to Persia, modern-day Iran. The holiday is widely politicised, political leaders often conduct rallies and speeches in the countries where it is celebrated. As Persian population groups may be a minority, it is possible these celebrations will exacerbate ethnic tensions.
  • Broad Front Protests, Venezuela – The opposition group known as the Broad Front for a Free Venezuela, called for nationwide demonstrations on 17 March, in relation to the presidential election scheduled for April 2018. This marks the first significant attempt by the opposition to mass-mobilise the population since a four-month wave of protests in 2017. Political rallies and protests in Venezuela are often accompanied by violence, with security forces operating in a heavy-handed and repressive manner.
  • European Anti-Racism Demonstrations – Several European cities; generally national and regional capitals such as London, Edinburgh, and Paris; are scheduled to host demonstrations against racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. Estimates suggest each protest is likely to attract more than one thousand people. It is likely that far-right or anti-immigration groups will seek to conduct counter demonstrations and may seek to disrupt the events. Travellers should avoid any demonstrations if possible, regardless of apparent peaceful intent.

Significant Dates and Events

  • 17 March – Bangladesh – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birthday
  • 17 March – Ireland – Patrick’s Day
  • 17 March – Serbia – Anti-Kosovo independence protest to take place in Belgrade
  • 17 March – Argentina – Anniversary of 1992 bombing of Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires
  • 17 March – Germany – Far-right rallies and counter protests planned in Munich
  • 17 March – Burundi – Protests scheduled in Bujumbura
  • 18 March – United Kingdom – Pro-Kurdish Rallies in Oxford
  • 18 March – Australia – ASEAN summit in Sydney, enhanced security likely.
  • 19 March – Togo – Opposition protests scheduled for the week following 19 March
  • 19 March – Mexico – Benito Juarez’s Birthday (public holiday)
  • 19 March – India – Ola and Uber drivers to strike
  • 19 March – Australia – Pro-environmental rally to be held in Marrickville, Sydney
  • 21 March – Japan – Vernal Equinox Day
  • 21 March – Namibia – Independence Day
  • 21 March – South Africa – Human Rights Day
  • 22 March – Puerto Rico – Emancipation Day
  • 22 March – France – General strike by the SNCF union. Public transport is highly likely to be disrupted.
  • 22 March – Italy – Public transport workers to strike in Rome.
  • 23 March – Pakistan – Pakistan Day
  • 23 March – Peru – Eighth Summit of the Americas to be held in Lima
  • 24 March – Argentina – Truth and Justice Memorial Day
  • 25 March – Greece and Cyprus – Greek Independence Day
  • 26 March – Bangladesh – Independence Day
  • 26 March – Mali – Martyrs’ Day
  • 26 March Egypt – First Round of the Presidential Elections.
  • 27 March – Myanmar – Armed Forces Day
  • 29 March – Madagascar – Martyrs’ day
Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 11 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 11 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.