Travelers along the US-Mexico border should continue to reconfirm the status of crossings before setting out due to the possibility for delays and disruption. On January 1, US security forces fired tear gas, pepper spray, and smoke-dispersing canisters at dozens of migrants, who in turn threw rocks and attempted to forcibly cross into the US. The San Ysidro Crossing remained open throughout the incident. US authorities reinforced security on their side of the border beginning in October 2018, including deploying soldiers to support border officials.
Today, travelers in El Alto should avoid a demonstration organized by the anarchist Federation of Neighborhood Councils – El Alto organization in support of the Unified Health System. Supporters will gather at 8:00 AM local time on Heroes del Chaco Motorway at the exchange with Avenue Peru. On Monday, January 14, an estimated 2,000 doctors with the Confederation of Physicians of Bolivia marched in La Paz as part of a series of demonstrations and strikes by health care workers. All such related gatherings should be avoided as a precaution.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today, travelers in Algiers should avoid a planned rally demanding the release of journalist Adlene Mellah, due to the risk of local unrest. Participants are due to gather at 11:00 AM local time outside Press House Tahar Djaout. Mellah was sentenced to a year in prison after participating in a solidarity rally for an imprisoned entertainer last month. His appeal against the sentence will be heard on January 23. Mellah’s supporters accuse the government of repressing Algerian journalists.
Non-essential travel to Northwest and Southwest regions, where an insurgency by Anglophone separatist groups continues, should be deferred. Clashes between armed separatists and security forces often occur in the area since the conflict began at the end of 2017. Most recently, on Saturday, January 12, seven militants were killed during an army operation against a militant camp in Alabukam, near Bamenda. A daily curfew is in effect in Bamenda from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM local time.
Today, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that a security operation in response to an attack at the DusitD2 Hotel on 14 Riverside Drive had concluded. At least 14 people, including foreigners, were killed, and around 30 others injured in the attack, which began at around 3:00 PM local time yesterday. The President said that all the assailants had been killed. Travelers should continue to expect heightened security measures around the hotel complex and follow official directives.
At least four people were killed, and four others injured when suspected members of the al-Sunnah militant group ambushed their vehicle on Saturday, January 12 near Manilha village. The incident underlines the need to exercise increased vigilance in rural areas of Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Nangade, Palma, and Quissanga districts.
Today, travelers in Johannesburg should avoid a march by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) at 11:00 AM local time. Protesters are gathering at the corner of Anderson Street and Pat Mbatha Bus Way. The march is likely to disrupt traffic on both Anderson and Simmonds streets. The march is in protest of alleged bad governance by the ruling African National Congress (ANC). The march is likely to be peaceful.
Today, travelers in Pretoria should avoid a demonstration at 11:00 AM local time outside the Zimbabwean Embassy. Participants are gathering to denounce the recent violence against protesters and shutdown of internet services in that country. An enhanced police presence has been reported around the Embassy.
Today, travelers in Pretoria should avoid an ongoing march by the National Union of Mineworkers. Union members are marching from the Marabastad Old Depot to the Union Buildings; the rally is due to conclude at 11:30 AM local time. The union intends to hand over a memorandum to save the jobs of miners in Mpumalanga province. Although the march is likely to pass off peacefully, it may cause local traffic disruption.
Non-essential travel to urban centers should be deferred through tomorrow, and those in country should exercise increased caution and avoid protests over a recent fuel price increase and ongoing economic issues. Civil society groups called for a national shutdown strike from Monday, January 14 through tomorrow. Security forces used tear gas, water cannons and, reportedly, live ammunition to disperse unruly demonstrators on Monday, January 14 and Tuesday, January 15 in Harare and Bulawayo, which led to significant travel disruption. Further protests are likely; travelers should avoid all gatherings due to the credible risk of violence.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
On Saturday, January 19, travelers in urban centers should avoid a series of rallies by the local “Yellow Vest” movement as a precaution. Rallies are due to take place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Turnout is not expected to be high at any of the gatherings and they are likely to pass off peacefully; however, local travel disruption is likely in their vicinity.
On Thursday, January 3, 2019, the US Department of State issued an “updated” Travel Advisory for China. The US Department of State still lists China under its Level 2 Advisory (US citizens should “exercise enhanced caution” when traveling). The updated Travel Advisory released on Thursday, January 3 goes into greater detail in listing the potential risks for dual US/Chinese citizens. US Citizens traveling to China or Tibet are advised to carry a valid US Passport and Chinese Visa at all times while in country and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to departing the United States.
On January 22, travelers in Mumbai should allow additional time for journeys around Azad Maidan during a protest by members of the Brahmin community. The gathering is being organized to demand that the state government provide the community access to jobs, among other issues. The demonstration is likely to pass off peacefully, but may cause local traffic disruption around Azad Maidan, including along Mahatma Gandhi Road and Mahapalika Marg.
Travelers in North Sumatra province should monitor volcanic activity at Mount Sinabung. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has issued a Level 4 Alert (the highest in a four-tier warning system) for the volcano, meaning there is significant likelihood of an eruption in the near future. A four-mile exclusion zone has been set up around the crater. While normal travel can currently proceed to North Sumatra, travelers should maintain flexible itineraries and follow all official directives.
Travelers in Kathmandu should monitor developments and avoid protests by healthcare workers at the Maitighar Mandala Monument, located outside the Ministry of Health and Population building, as a precaution. Healthcare workers have been holding daily protests since January 9 to demand job reforms; police used force to disperse protesters who attempted to enter the ministry building on Sunday, January 13, injuring 13 people. Talks between the workers and the Ministry on Monday, January 14 were unsuccessful, making further protests likely. The demonstrations have been relatively peaceful but could cause local travel disruption.
From January 24 through January 27, travelers in Iloilo City should anticipate increased security and travel disruption during the annual Dinagyang Festival. More than 6,000 security personnel will be deployed to secure the festival. Checkpoints will be set up at entry points to festival venues and items such as backpacks, luggage, bladed weapons, pointed sticks, buckled knives, and glass bottles will be prohibited. Mobile phone services will be shut down temporarily between 6:00 AM and 2:00 PM local time on January 26 and 27. Travelers should plan routes avoiding festival areas around the Dinagyang Grandstand, San Jose Parish Church, SM City Iloilo, and Iloilo Business Park.
On Saturday, January 19, travelers in Berlin should avoid a protest march by environmental activists to minimize disruption. Protesters will march from the Brandenburg Gate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a rally, before returning to the Brandenburg Gate. The event is scheduled to last from 12:00 PM to 2:30 PM local time. A similar protest in January 2018 attracted around 30,000 participants and caused significant disruption in the city center.
Today, travelers in Belgrade should avoid an anti-government demonstration marking the anniversary of the unsolved murder of prominent Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic in Mitrovica. Demonstrators will gather at 6:00 PM local time at the Faculty of Philosophy; marches are also likely around the office of public broadcaster RTS, the Presidential Palace, and the Parliament building. Related anti-government protests are also expected on Friday, January 18 in Novi Sad, Nis, and Cacak.
Today, travelers along the M11 Motorway to and from London Stansted Airport (STN) should allow additional time to complete journeys. The road has been closed near the airport following an accident.