Today, travelers should avoid nationwide protests, including in Bogota, by the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE). The protests coincide with a 24-hour strike by the union over unpaid debts and the alleged under-funding of teacher’s social benefits. Demonstrations will take place in most major urban centers and all should be avoided to minimize disruption and inconvenience.
Today, travelers in San Juan should avoid a planned protest at 5:00 PM local time outside the Federal Court to minimize delays. The protest is being organized against international intervention in Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government. The event is expected to attract participation from religious organizations, trade unions, human rights and political groups, causing disruption in the vicinity.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today, travelers in Bahrain should anticipate heightened security around the eighth anniversary of the 2011 Arab uprisings. Although protests have declined in recent years, several opposition groups have called for demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience. Beginning yesterday, people have been advised to close their businesses, turn off their lights, and refrain from commercial transactions. Today, protests will likely remain small and limited to areas outside central areas of Manama. All gatherings should be avoided due to the credible potential for unrest.
Today through March 7, travelers in urban centers, particularly Bissau, should avoid all protests related to a teachers’ strike due to the potential for unrest. On February 8, students blocked roads and set fire to vehicles in Bissau during a protest against the impending walkout. Police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators; at least 19 people were injured. Teachers are demanding the payment of salary and allowance arrears, among other issues. A related strike was suspended in early January following successful negotiations; teachers have accused authorities of not following through with the promises.
Today, travelers in Amman should avoid a sit-in protest scheduled to begin at 5:00 PM local time at the Prime Ministry building in the Fourth Circle. The gathering is being held to denounce the controversial income tax law that came into effect on January 1 and to demand political and economic reform. While related weekly demonstrations have lowered in scale since January, travelers should continue to avoid protests due to incidental risks and to minimize disruption.
Yesterday, authorities announced the arrest of a suspected member of the extremist al-Qaida-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group during a security operation in Arsal. The incident highlights the credible militancy risks in the border areas with Syria, including Arsal. Travel to these areas should be for essential purposes only.
On Saturday, February 16, travelers in Sidon should plan routes bypassing a commemorative event at 5:30 PM local time at Martyr’s Square. The gathering has been organized to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the end of the Israeli occupation of Sidon.
Travelers in Tripoli should anticipate heightened security and avoid all gatherings linked to the 8th anniversary of the February 17 Revolution that overthrew former leader Colonel Muammar al-Gadhafi in 2011. Similar events are also possible in other areas, including Misrata. Travelers should ascertain the feasibility of movement on these days and allow additional time for all important journeys.
Travelers in Port Harcourt should plan routes bypassing an ongoing protest outside the local office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The protest is taking place over the exclusion of candidates belonging to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from running in Rivers state during the upcoming Presidential and National Elections. Security forces have blocked access to the building, while traffic on the Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway is disrupted.
Travelers are reminded of the risks posed by Islamist militancy in northeastern states following a recent upsurge in fatal clashes involving Boko Haram and its breakaway faction, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). Yesterday, gunmen in Borno state attacked a convoy of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party on Maiduguri-Gambu Road, killing four people. The Governor of Borno and APC’s Gubernatorial candidate both escaped unharmed. All travel to Borno state should be avoided; travel to other northeastern states should be for business-critical purposes only.
Today, travelers in Eastern Cape province should plan journeys bypassing the R334 and R335 routes due to an ongoing protest between Motherwell and Uitenhage. According to local sources, demonstrators have blocked the roads with burning tires. Travelers should consider using the N2 Route as a possible alternative.
On February 11, two police officers and a motorist were injured during the armed robbery of a vehicle on the N2 Highway near Cape Town International Airport (CPT). The incident, which occurred in the Borcherds Quarry area, serves as a reminder that follow-home robberies can occur on airport access roads. Travelers should exercise vigilance and adopt enhanced precautions during road travel. In the event of a robbery, travelers are advised to remain calm and compliant to minimize any direct physical threat as criminals are usually intent on stealing cash and valuables.
Today, travelers in Harare should avoid a commemorative gathering by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Activists will gather at the Harare Show Grounds at 10:00 AM local time to commemorate the death of the party’s founder, Morgan Tsvangirai. The gathering has been authorized by police, though they have refused the organizer’s request to also hold a march. The event is likely to be peaceful but should avoided as party leaders have warned that some attendees want to turn the event into an anti-government protest. Heightened security should therefore be expected around the venue.
Travelers in Zimbabwe should anticipate potential disruption due to heavy rain, thunderstorms, and possible flash flooding. The Meteorological Services Department has warned that the provinces of Manicaland, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, and Midlands are expected to be most severely affected. Due to poor infrastructure and drainage standards throughout the country, flash flooding is common during periods of heavy rain.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Travelers should avoid the vicinity of a terrorist bomb attack along National Highway 44 in Awantipora. At least 10 security force members have been killed in the blast, which occurred at 3:15 PM local time, and a section of National Highway 44 has been closed. The Jaish-e-Mohammed group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Today through February 24, passengers transiting Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) should anticipate disruption and reconfirm schedules prior to setting out. Airport authorities have said that the facility will be partially closed to commercial aviation traffic to facilitate the biennial Aero India aerospace exhibition. The five-day exhibition will take place on February 20-24 at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, around 13 miles north of Bangalore. Rehearsals for the event will run today through February 19.
Cases of meningococcal meningitis have been reported in Mongolia. Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that can be rapidly life-threatening. Anyone can be affected, although it is more common in infants, teenagers, and young adults. It spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Symptoms usually include fever, intense headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, vomiting, confusion, and a characteristic rash. It must be urgently treated with antibiotics. People who have been in close contact must be given antibiotics promptly to prevent them from getting sick. Travelers should prevent infection through vaccination and paying close attention to hygiene.
A spike in flu activity has been reported across many provinces in Mongolia. The A(H1N1) pdm09 strain has been confirmed in the majority of cases. The current northern hemisphere influenza vaccine protects against this strain. Influenza is a viral illness, causing a sudden fever, cough, headache, weakness and muscular pains. Most cases are mild although some can be severe or even fatal. Pregnant women, adults over 65, and young children are at higher risk of severe illness. Travelers should consider vaccination and pay close attention to hygiene.
Today, travelers in Karachi should plan journeys avoiding a protest outside the Karachi Press Club at 2:00 PM local time. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has called the protest to condemn recent attacks on party activists and offices. On February 11, one person was killed in a gun attack at the MQM-P office in the New Karachi area. Traffic disruption can be anticipated on nearby routes, including Sarwar Shaheed, Abdullah Haroon and Din Mohammad Wafai roads.
Today, power was fully restored to the Carlton Hotel in the central Bras Brasah area, and related disruption in the area has eased. A small explosion occurred in a substation serving the hotel at around 1:15 PM local time, causing a small fire and power outages at the hotel, nearby buildings and several metro (MRT) stations serving the North East Line. The fire, which prompted the evacuation of the hotel, has been preliminarily attributed to equipment failure at the substation. No casualties were reported.
Today and Saturday, February 16, travelers should plan itineraries bypassing a series of anti-gender-violence rallies to minimize inconvenience. Marches under the umbrella of the “One Billion Rising” movement are planned in Berlin, Vienna, and Rome. Other rallies are likely in regional cities in other Western European countries. Although the demonstrations are expected to be peaceful, they may be well attended and cause local disruption.
Today, passengers transiting Belgian airports, including Brussels Airport (BRU), should anticipate delays and allow additional time for check-in procedures. Airlines are likely to attempt to clear the backlog of passengers, after all flights were canceled for 24 hours beginning at 10:00 PM local time on February 12 due to a nationwide general strike. Brussels Airport has advised travelers to arrive early and plans to deploy additional staff to address increased passenger numbers. Reports indicate that airlines plan to operate more flights to accommodate affected passengers.
Travelers in Madrid and Catalonia should expect and avoid gatherings linked to the ongoing trial of imprisoned pro-Catalan independence politicians. Catalan pro-independence parties have called for protests outside the Supreme Court building in Madrid during the trial, while related pro- and anti-independence rallies can be expected in Barcelona.
On Monday, February 18, travelers in London should plan journeys accounting for disruption during a protest by privatehire drivers. The demonstration is scheduled to take place from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM local time around London Bridge. The drivers are denouncing changes to a congestion charge, which will come into effect in April. They claim that this will significantly affect their take-home pay and have vowed to continue with protests until the issue is resolved. Previous demonstrations by private-hire and minicab drivers caused significant disruption in the Westminster and Bank areas, as well as around Parliament Square, Tottenham Court Road and the Transport for London headquarters.