Business Travel Advisory – 2/7/19

THE AMERICAS

Regional 
Travelers transiting the US-Mexico border in the coming weeks should continue to reconfirm the status of crossings before setting out, due to the possibility for delays and disruption. A new migrant “caravan” from Central America has arrived in the Mexican city of Piedras Negras, on the Texas border. Heightened security reinforced by US authorities on its side of the border remains in place, and the Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel to maintain security in Piedras Negras.

Argentina 
Travelers in the country should avoid all gatherings staged by the Argentine Workers’ Union (CTA), the State Workers Association (ATE), and the Truckers’ Federation. The groups are denouncing increases in the cost of public services and transportation. Related gatherings will take place in Buenos Aires and other urban centers today, as well as February 13 and 26.

Brazil 
Travelers in Ceara state, including Fortaleza, should continue to exercise caution in the coming days during the drawdown of security forces following a decrease in gang-related violent crime. The drawdown is expected to take two months, during which time security force units will be relocated. Authorities have said they may be redeployed to the state again in the future, should gang activity and violence increase.

Yesterday, a shoot-out occurred between police and criminals along Avenida Brasil near the Vila do Joao favela in Rio de Janeiro. Three police officers and two bystanders were injured in the incident, which occurred after police intercepted criminals who had stolen a cargo truck. The shoot-out prompted a temporary closure of the route.

Haiti 
Today, various groups, including the opposition, plan to hold nationwide anticorruption demonstrations. In Port-au-Prince, the main rally is expected to take place between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM local time, passing through or near Champ de Mars, Poste Marchand, Bel Air, Delmas 18, La Saline and Avenue John Brown. There is a credible risk of violence during these gatherings. All travel to the country should be deferred through tomorrow, while in-country travelers should minimize movement.

Mexico 
Travelers in Puerto Vallarta should anticipate and avoid further protests by drivers of app-based ride-share services in the coming days. Hundreds of drivers blocked Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio yesterday, prompting police to intervene and divert traffic. The drivers are denouncing the Governor’s threat to revoke permits for these services due to alleged non-compliance with regulations.

Venezuela 
Travel to Venezuela can resume, but travelers should continue to minimize nonessential movement due to the ongoing political crisis and associated unrest. Countrywide demonstrations took place on January 23, 31 and February 2 calling for President Nicolas Maduro to step down in favor of Juan Guaido, the National Assembly-recognized interim President. Guaido has called for further demonstrations on February 12. Maduro has thus far refused to heed such calls, and pro-government demonstrators rallied in his support in Caracas on February 2. Travelers can continue to expect significant disruption related to the unrest.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Egypt 
Today, travelers in Red Sea and South Sinai governorates should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption due to ongoing heavy rainfall. Reports indicate that flooding has prompted the closure of sections of Ras Sedr-Ras Abu Rudeis and Ras Ghareb-Zafarana roads. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out and be prepared to adjust itineraries at short notice.

Ethiopia 
Today through February 11, travelers in Addis Ababa should anticipate heightened security and disruption surrounding the African Union (AU) Summit. Heads of state will meet on February 10-11, following ministerial-level meetings today and tomorrow. The city’s Police Commissioner has released details of road closures during the event. An increased security force presence and additional checkpoints can be expected in the vicinity of the AU headquarters and other key government buildings.

Ghana 
Today, travelers in Accra should avoid an ongoing protest to condemn violence during recent Parliamentary by-elections in the city’s Ayawaso West Wuogon district. Demonstrators led by the opposition Inter-Party Coalition for National Sovereignty (PCNS) are marching from the Old Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, past the UTC, Interior Ministry and Police Headquarters, to the Presidential Palace. At least seven people were injured when unidentified gunmen attacked a polling station at Bawaleshie Presby School on January 31. Travelers should exercise caution and anticipate traffic disruption around the rally.

Guinea 
Today, travelers in Conakry should avoid a protest by the opposition UFDG party due to the risk of local unrest. Participants plan to gather at 7:00 AM local time in the city’s Matoto district. While the exact venue is not known, UFDG supporters may gather at the Mayor’s office. The demonstration comes after the government announced that a rerun of Mayoral elections would be held in Matoto today. The UFDG is opposing the rerun, saying that their candidate, Kalemodou Yansane, had already won the polls held in December 2018.

Lebanon 
Today, travelers in Beirut should plan routes bypassing a protest by the Lebanese Communist Party. Participants will gather at 5:00 PM local time outside the UN-ESCWA building. The demonstration is being held in solidarity with ongoing anti-government protests in Sudan.

Mozambique 
Travelers in Quelimane should anticipate and avoid protests in support of the town’s Mayor-elect, Manuel de Araujo. Araujo won the October 2018 Municipal Elections as a candidate of the main opposition Renamo party. A protest was held on February 5 following rumors that Araujo might be prevented from assuming office. Hundreds of his supporters attempted to stage a march before being dispersed by police, who claimed that the protest was unauthorized. The Mayoral Inauguration is set for today; any delays may trigger further protests by Araujo’s supporters.

Nigeria 
Travelers in Abuja, as well as northwestern states, including Kaduna, should avoid all demonstrations demanding the release of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, the imprisoned leader of the Shia Muslim Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). The trial of Zakzaky, for purported culpable homicide and other offenses, at the High Court of Justice in Kaduna has been postponed to March 25 due to his poor health. Zakzaky’s supporters have called for daily demonstrations until the new hearing date. On February 5, his supporters held protests near the Federal Secretariat and in the central business district in Abuja.

South Africa 
Travelers in Durban should anticipate and avoid further protests linked to the death of a student during a protest on the Durban University of Technology’s Steve Biko campus. The student was fatally shot by a private security guard during clashes with protesters on February 5. The incident sparked a renewed wave of protests yesterday, accompanied by scuffles between various student groups. Further unrest is possible in the area, posing incidental risks to bystanders.

Tomorrow, travelers in Johannesburg should avoid a planned demonstration outside the US Consulate in the city’s Sandhurst area as a precaution. Up to 100 people are expected to participate in the gathering, which will begin at 10:00 AM local time and conclude by 1:00 PM local time at the corner of Sandton and Rivonia streets. The event, called by the South African Communist Party, is being planned over the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela. The gathering is liable to disrupt road traffic in the area.

Sudan 
Non-essential travel to Sudan should be deferred amid ongoing anti-government protests. In-country travelers should continue to exercise caution, especially in urban centers, and avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has called for further protests at 12:00 PM local time today in Khartoum. Participants will gather at the Souq Al-Arabi, near Khartoum International Airport (KRT). Although demonstrations are also likely in neighboring Omdurman, details of exact timings and locations are unavailable.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Australia 
Today, travelers in Victoria state should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by adverse weather conditions. Yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and large hailstones for Northern Country, North Central, Central Gippsland and East Gippsland regions, as well as parts of Mallee, South West, North East, West Gippsland, South Gippsland and Wimmera districts. Areas that may be affected by flash floods include Bendigo, Shepparton, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, and Melbourne.

Bangladesh 
Between February 15-18, travelers should expect considerable disruption and heightened security during an annual Muslim gathering, Biswa Ijtema, on the bank of the Turag River in Tongitown, 14 miles north of Dhaka. Precedent suggests that around 2 million attendees can be expected during the gathering, which is the second-largest congregation of Muslims worldwide.

India 
Travelers in Kerala state should continue to avoid all protests in the coming days against a controversial Supreme Court ruling in September 2018 allowing women access to the Sabarimala Temple. Yesterday, the Supreme Court reviewed 65 petitions against its ruling; the court has reserved its verdict on them. A decision upholding the September ruling is likely to prompt renewed unrest across the state ahead of the reopening of the temple for five days on February 12 for this month’s prayer cycle.

Travelers in northeastern states should continue to avoid all protests over controversial legislation linked to undocumented migrants and tribal status. Today, fresh demonstrations are planned in Asom, including a railway blockade. Similar events are expected in other northeastern states, particularly Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. The likelihood of protests may increase due to the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the region tomorrow and February 9. Previous large-scale protests have led to local unrest and disruption to road travel in the northeast.

Today through March 30, passengers transiting Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) should anticipate disruption and reconfirm flights due to planned runway maintenance work. The airport will be closed between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM local time every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday during this period. The airport will operate normally during the Hindu festival of Holi on March 21.

Indonesia 
Travelers in the Sitaro Islands regency, particularly Siau Island, should continue to monitor developments due to continued volcanic activity at Mount Karangetang in recent months. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) maintains a Level 3 (“Standby”) Alert (second-highest level on a four-tier warning system) for the volcano. A 1.5-mile exclusion zone remains in place around the volcano’s two craters. Travelers should follow official directives.

Nepal 
Yesterday, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an Advisory Warning for possible nationwide protests tomorrow by the Nepal Student Union (NSU), the student wing of the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) party. The two groups have staged several demonstrations in recent days, including in Kathmandu, over a controversial medical education bill and the arrest of protesters. While no further protests have been announced, travelers should remain abreast of any ongoing or planned demonstrations. All should be avoided due to the potential for local unrest.

Tonga 
Today through February 9, travelers should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption during the passage of Tropical Disturbance 06F. Today, the Tonga Meteorological Service issued a Storm Warning for the Niua and Vava’u groups of islands. On its current trajectory, the storm is not likely to make landfall on the archipelago. It will instead pass to the west of Niua, Vava’u, Ha’apai, and Tongatapu islands.

Turkey 
On February 9, travelers in Mersin should avoid a protest by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) as a precaution. Participants will gather at 1:00 PM local time at the Yenisehir Tevfik Sirri Gur Stadium. The rally is being held in support of hunger strike activists who are protesting the prison conditions of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Previous demonstrations, including those in Istanbul, have been well attended but passed off peacefully. Further demonstrations are also possible in other urban centers in the coming days.

EUROPE

Belgium 
Travelers should anticipate and avoid further climate marches to minimize inconvenience. Fresh demonstrations are scheduled for today in Brussels, Leuven, and Mons. The main event will begin in Leuven at 12:30 PM local time at Ladeuzeplein Square. In Mons, demonstrators will gather at 11:00 AM local time at the Avenue du Champs de Mars. Details are not yet available for the event in Brussels. Protesters are calling on the EU and the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Local road disruption is likely along march routes.

Germany
Today, passengers transiting Hanover International Airport (HAJ) should expect disruption until 1:30 PM local time due to a strike by baggage handlers affiliated to the Verdi union. The action is likely to mainly affect flights to and from Amsterdam and Paris. Travelers should reconfirm flights if due to travel through the airport in the coming hours.

Today, passengers transiting Dusseldorf International Airport (DUS) should reconfirm their flights, due to a planned strike from 3:00 AM to 11:00 AM local time by baggage handlers over pay. Airport authorities say some 145 flights could be affected by cancellations or delays, across several airlines. Residual disruption is likely even after normal operations resume.

Italy 
Today, passengers transiting Rome Ciampino Airport (CIA) should reconfirm flights due to bomb disposal activity at the facility. All arriving and departing flights are suspended through 5:00 PM local time.

Poland 
Travelers in urban centers in the coming days should anticipate and avoid further protests by farmers over perceived threats to domestic food production. Yesterday, thousands of supporters of the AGROunia activist movement participated in a related demonstration outside the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. AGROunia has threatened to intensify protests, which may include the erection of roadblocks.

Serbia 
Travelers in urban centers should continue to expect and avoid anti-government demonstrations as a precaution. A rally is scheduled for February 9 in Belgrade. Although exact details are unclear, demonstrators in Belgrade typically gather around 6:00 PM local time and march via central streets to the National Assembly, the Serbian Radio and Television (RTS) headquarters, and the Presidential and Serbian government buildings. Related protests have previously been well attended and passed off peacefully. Such gatherings are liable to cause local travel disruption.

Spain 
On February 10, travelers in Madrid should avoid a demonstration by opposition political parties at 11:00 AM local time at Plaza de Colon. The gathering is being held to denounce Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’ decision to appoint a rapporteur for talks between the federal and Catalan regional governments. Related protests in other areas of Madrid cannot be ruled out.