Solace Global – Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 17

Headlines From This Week 

  • Ramming Attack in Toronto – On 23 April, a lone individual killed ten people, and left a further 15 wounded, when he crashed a hired van through pedestrians in Toronto. A disproportionate number of victims were female. The attacker had an extensive history of mental health and learning difficulties, in addition to a discharge from the Canadian army 16 days into training. Present evidence suggests that the attacker was self-radicalised based on active participation in a range of alternative and misogynistic online communities.
  • Nicaraguan Protests – Anti-government protests, triggered by proposed changes to social security measures, expanded and widened even after the government submitted to initial demands. Tens of thousands continued to protest daily in Managua, now apparently focused on breaking President Ortega’s 30-year monopoly on power. Violence occurred frequently as pro-government counter protesters and police sought to quell the unrest, and residents near the protests sought to defend their properties. Unrest is highly likely to continue.
  • Kenya Flood Risk – Severe rains in western Kenya have led to widespread flooding, forcing approximately 200,000 people to evacuate their homes. Key highways have been submerged, hindering emergency responses. Numerous landslides have been reported. The rainfall was sufficient that two dams near Mount Kenya, the Masinga and Kamburu, are at risk of failure. Significant populations down-river from them have been advised to evacuate to high ground.
  • Madagascar Protests – Madagascar has seen a series of opposition-led protests against the Government’s attempt to implement new electoral laws which are likely to bar a number of candidates from the upcoming presidential election. At present, opposition leaders remain steadfast in their refusal to re-enter negotiations and the government has relied on security forces to disperse protests. At least two people have been killed, and tear gas has frequently been employed to scatter crowds.
  • Greek Ultranationalists beat Migrants – Supporters of Greek far-right political groups clashed with a crowd of migrants in the main square of Mytilene on Lesbos overnight on 20 April. The migrants had been peacefully protesting the poor living standards in official government-run refugee camps, and persistent delays in the processing of asylum claims. Over 30 people were hospitalised following the clash, which involved thrown bricks and flares; and police detained over 120 people before evacuating the migrants back to an official camp.
  • Leaders of North and South Korea Met in South Korea – President Kim became the first North Korean leader since the war to cross the Demarcation line into South Korea during a diplomatic meeting with the South’s President Moon. The meeting, on 27 April, resulted in a declaration that the two states would seek complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and a phased reduction in conventional arms. North Korea has routinely discarded earlier treaties; this meeting goes toward setting the stage for the meeting between Kim and US President Trump before the end of June 2018.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Mayday or Labour Day – Known by several names, depending on region, most Western and former-Soviet states hold a public holiday in early May. The specific date of the celebration may vary from country to country, however travellers should expect disruption to travel caused by rallies, parades, or protests which typically accompany the celebrations. The date’s affiliation with labour movements in many countries may lead to strike action or industrial disputes around these dates. Monitoring of local media is recommended in order to minimise disruption.
  • Rallies for former President in Seoul – Supporters of the ousted South Korean President Park are due to hold rallies in Seoul on 28 April. These rallies are likely to be extensive as Park’s conservative party also directly opposes the foreign policy priorities of the governing Democratic Party, which have come to a head with the recent face-to-face meetings with the North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-Un, and South Korean President Moon. Previous protests by the Conservative Party resulted in thousands of protesters obstructing the streets of Seoul and a series of violent clashes with riot police which left at least one person dead, and many in hospital.
  • Saleh al-Sammad’s Funeral in Sanaa – The funeral of Saleh al-Sammad, the leader of the Houthi rebel’s Political Council, is due to be held in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, which is presently under rebel control. The Houthi group have previously been known to launch rocket, drone, and mortar attacks against Saudi assets in response to attacks on their territory or personnel. The killing of such a prominent figure in their organisation by a Saudi airstrike is likely to elicit a similar response. Saudi-flagged vessels in the Red Sea, or major cities in Saudi Arabia may be directly targeted with missiles during or immediately after the funeral.
  • Indian National Congress Rally in New Delhi – The Indian National Congress (INC) opposition party has scheduled a national rally in New Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. The INC is affiliated with a wide number of trade and labour groups, which it intends to leverage to create maximum attendance at the rally. The chosen venue has a capacity of approximately 100,000 people, however estimates of crowd size range from 30,000 to 60,000. Significant travel disruption in the immediate area of the rally should be expected. Although the INC has no intention of inciting violence, increasingly polarised national politics means that isolated clashes with counter protesters are probable.
  • More Protests Likely in Armenia – Talks between the Armenian government and the de-facto leader of the recent protest broke down when the acting prime minister allegedly refused to meet directly with the opposition leader. The Armenian Parliament is due to select its new Prime Minister on 01 May through an internal ballot; opposition leaders have renounced this in favour of a new general election, provided it were certified as free of the voting discrepancies reported in previous polls. Earlier protests saw small numbers of troops joining the demonstrators, however as the protests continue, there remains a realistic probability that violent clashes may occur.

 Significant Dates and Events

  • 27 April to 08 May – Thailand – Disruption at Phuket Airport due to maintenance work
  • 28 April – Afghanistan – Mujahideen Victory Day
  • 28 April – Ukraine – Memorial marches to the World War Two-era “Galica” division planned in Lviv
  • 28 April – Gabon – Legislative Elections
  • 28 April – Barbados – National Heroes Day
  • 28 April – Italy – Sardinia’s Day
  • 29 April – Japan – Showa Day
  • 30 April Mexico – Teachers to commence a 72 hour strike and protest action
  • 30 April – Sri Lanka – Vesak Full Moon Poya Holiday
  • 30 April – Vietnam – Reunification Day
  • 01 May – Various – Mayday or Labour Day, frequently a public holiday
  • 01 May – Marshall Islands – Constitution Day
  • 01 May – Poland – National airline workers due to strike
  • 01 May – Denmark – Anti-fascist groups to rally in Copenhagen
  • 01 May – Greece – Trade unions to rally in Athens
  • 01 May – Bangladesh – BNP trade union affiliates to rally in Dhaka
  • 02 May – Iran – Imam Mahdi’s birthday, national holiday
  • 02 May – Bangladesh & India – Shab e-Barat
  • 03 May – Poland – Constitution Day
  • 03 May – Japan – Constitution Memorial Day
  • 03 May – Cambodia – Royal Ploughing Ceremony, national holiday
  • 04 May Japan – Greenery Day, national holiday.
  • 04 May Latvia – Declaration of Independence Day
  • 04 May – Namibia – Cassinga Day
  • 04-20 May – Denmark – World Ice Hockey Championships
  • 05 May – Ethiopia – Patriots’ Victory Day
  • 05 May – Guyana – Arrival Day
  • 05 May – Kazakhstan – Constitution Day
  • 05 May – USA – Kentucky Derby
  • 05 May – Czechia – March planned in Prague supporting Marijuana legalisation
  • 06 May – Russia – Left Front activists to rally in Moscow
  • 06 May – Canada – Toronto Marathon
 Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 17 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 17 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.