On Thursday, February 21, travelers in Sucre and Santa Cruz should avoid demonstrations on the anniversary of a referendum that voted against President Evo Morales seeking a fourth consecutive term. The referendum was later overturned by the Supreme Court, allowing Morales to put his name on the ballot for the October 2019 General Elections. The Sucre rally, which will call on Morales to respect the referendum result, will take place at Plaza 25 de Mayo; the Santa Cruz event will be at Plaza 24 de Septiembre. All such events should be avoided as a precaution.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Ottawa should plan routes bypassing planned rallies at Parliament Hill by truck drivers protesting the government’s energy policies. A convoy of participants departed from Red Deer on February 14 and are currently en route to Ottawa. Today’s rally is set to take place between 11:00 and 4:00 PM local time, while tomorrow’s event will be held between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM local time.
Beginning Thursday, February 21, travelers in urban centers should anticipate and avoid protests by tenant farmers and farm laborers, due to risk of local unrest. The National Association of “Campesinos” is organizing the nationwide action to call on the government to honor agreements on security and rights, as well as health, youth, rural and women’s issues. While no specific protest locations have been given, participants have indicated that they wish to raise their visibility. They plan to demonstrate indefinitely until their demands are met.
Travelers in Mexico City are reminded to take stringent precautions after six people were killed, and three others injured in a shooting on February 17. The incident occurred at around 4:00 AM local time in the Pueblo Culhuacan neighborhood.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Yesterday, at least two people were killed, and three others injured following an explosion in Cairo’s El-Darb El-Ahmar area, near the Al-Azhar Mosque. The incident occurred when a suspected militant, who was cornered by security forces, blew himself up. The suspect is believed to have planted an explosive device near the alIstiqamah Mosque in Giza on February 15. Travelers should continue to avoid the affected areas and follow all official directives.
Travelers in Bissau and other urban centers should monitor developments and avoid all gatherings related to Legislative Elections on March 10. Twenty-one political parties are in running in the election, including the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) party and the main opposition Party for Social Renewal (PRS). Several civil society groups have used the upcoming vote to stage protests against the government. Notably, various teachers’ groups are on strike until March 7 to demand payment of salary and allowance arrears.
An outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) has been reported in Murang’a and Nyandarua counties. The disease can be transmitted to humans via contact with the blood, organs or bodily fluids of infected animals. Infection can also occur through the bite of an infected mosquito or other insects. Symptoms of RVF may include a mild flu-like illness; however, in some cases the illness can be deadly. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding contact with potentially infected animals and their fluids/ organs, preventing mosquito and other insect bites, and avoiding unpasteurized dairy products.
There is an ongoing measles outbreak in Liberia. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. The illness can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure they are fully immunized against measles.
A large outbreak of measles affecting most of Madagascar is underway. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. Measles can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure that they are fully immunized against measles.
Travelers in Tillaberi should adhere to a curfew that was imposed on February 13. The curfew has been introduced amid an ongoing State of Emergency in the Tillaberi, Diffa, and Tahoua regions. Following a “dead city” protest against the new security measures on February 14, the curfew on driving was relaxed to between 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM local time while the curfew on pedestrian movement was limited to between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM local time. Unauthorized demonstrations have been banned in the city; however, further protests are possible.
Non-essential travel to Nigeria should be deferred through March 18 after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed Presidential and Parliamentary Elections until February 23, and Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections until March 9. The situation has remained calm after the postponement, though violence has occurred in several states during the campaign period. Travelers in country should continue to closely monitor developments and avoid all flashpoint areas due to the risk of unrest.
Today, travelers in Cape Town should plan routes bypassing a protest by the COSATU union federation over a range of economic grievances. Participants will march from Keizersgracht Street to the Parliament building and the Chamber of Commerce at 9:00 AM local time. Related countrywide marches on February 13 passed off peacefully.
Today through Thursday, February 21, travelers in Cape Town should anticipate a heightened security force presence and associated disruption during Armed Forces Day celebrations. Associated demonstrations will occur on Sunrise Beach today and tomorrow, while a military parade is scheduled for Thursday, February 21 in the Table View Beach area. Both venues and a number of surrounding streets will remain closed for the duration of the events.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
An ongoing annual Muslim gathering, Biswa Ijtema, has been extended through today in Dhaka. The congregation, which was due to conclude yesterday, is being held on the banks of the Turag River in Tongi, 14 miles north of Dhaka. Biswa Ijtema is the second-largest congregation of Muslims worldwide, and hundreds of thousands of people have gathered at the venue this year. Travelers should expect considerable disruption and heightened security around Tongi.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Delhi should expect heightened security and associated disruption during a state visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Measures include traffic restrictions across the city, particularly around the Central Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official residence and the Saudi Arabian Embassy. Severe traffic congestion can be expected, especially during VIP movement. Routes likely to be affected include those around the aforementioned locations, as well as routes connecting Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) with central Delhi.
Today and tomorrow, travelers should plan journeys accounting for further disruption due to the passage of Tropical Cyclone Oma. The weather system is expected to pass northwest of the Belep Islands. Heavy rain and strong winds are liable to cause short-notice disruption to flights, particularly at Malabou (PUV) and Koumac (KOC) airports.
On Monday, February 25, travelers in Manila should anticipate disruption during events commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution (EDSA Revolution). Commemorative events are likely to focus on the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) Shrine, People Power Monument, and the area around Malacanang Palace. The government has declared the day a public holiday. Travelers should plan routes bypassing commemorative gatherings and allow additional time for journeys.
Today, travelers in Istanbul should plan journeys avoiding the headquarters of the Cumhuriyet newspaper in Sisli district as a precaution. A crowd is reported to be gathering outside the newspaper office after the court of appeal in Istanbul upheld jail sentences of several Cumhuriyet journalists. Protests have previously occurred in support of the journalists.
Today, ferry travelers in Istanbul should reconfirm bookings and make alternative arrangements. Sehir Hatlari has temporarily suspended all services due to severe weather conditions. It is unclear when normal operations will resume.
There has been a significant increase in measles cases in most parts of Vietnam. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. Measles can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure that they are fully immunized against measles.
Travelers in Finland should anticipate disruption in the coming weeks from two planned strikes by air traffic controllers. Controllers are planning to walk out at the country’s eight main airports, including Helsinki Airport (HEL), as part of a longstanding pay dispute. The first strike will be from 6:00 PM local time on Saturday, February 23 through 9:00 AM local time on Monday, February 25. Another week-long strike is scheduled from 9:00 AM local time on March 4 through 9:00 AM local time on March 11. While supervisory staff have reportedly been asked to cover striking controllers, some flight delays and cancellations remain possible.
Today, passengers transiting Rome’s Ciampino Airport (CIA) should reconfirm schedules before setting out. Operations were suspended at the facility due to a fire earlier in the day. While normal operations have resumed, travelers should expect residual delays as airport authorities work to clear passenger backlogs.
Today, taxi drivers plan to hold a protest at Malieveld in The Hague against apparent unfair competition with ride-share services. As part of the protest, taxi drivers will drive at a low speed along the A4 and A13 motorways from Amsterdam and Rotterdam respectively, at 11:00 AM local time. They will converge at Malieveld to join the demonstration. Travelers using these routes should allow additional time for journeys.
On Thursday, February 21, travelers in Bucharest should avoid Victory Square during a planned protest over illegal transportation operators, fuel duties, and other issues. Some 5,000 members of the Romanian Federation of Transport Operators are expected to gather in the square to call on the government to take firmer action. Traffic disruption is likely, as some protesters may drive their trucks and other vehicles into the area. Recent taxi drivers’ protests against app-based ride-share services also resulted in minor disruption in Bucharest.
On Sunday, February 24, travelers in Barcelona should avoid a protest against the visit of King Felipe VI to inaugurate the Mobile World Congress. The demonstration will be held at 5:00 PM local time in front of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) has organized the gathering as part of a series of proindependence demonstrations in Catalonia.
Today through Thursday, February 21, travelers in Kiev should anticipate and avoid gatherings commemorating the “Euromaidan” protests in February 2014 that led to the ousting of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Most events are likely to be scheduled for tomorrow, which is a day of commemoration for demonstrators killed in clashes with security forces during the protests, though rallies may also take place on surrounding days. Gatherings and marches can be expected in central Kiev, including on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Khreschatyk Street, Heavenly Hundred Alley, and Instytutska Street.