Business Travel Advisory – 3/8/19

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AMERICAS

Argentina 
Today, travelers in urban centers, including Buenos Aires, should avoid all demonstrations related to an ongoing 72-hour strike by teachers. On March 6, a large protest was held at Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. While further demonstrations have not yet been announced, they are likely to take place in major public squares and outside government buildings. The CTERA and Conadu teachers’ unions have called the strike over wage-related issues.

Colombia 
Travelers in urban centers of Cauca department should continue to anticipate and avoid protests associated with an indefinite strike that began on February 25. Various groups, including farmers’ and teachers’ associations, organized the action to call on the government to honor agreements on rural, education, health and human rights issues, among others. During related protests, demonstrators have clashed with security forces, resulting in injuries. Further protests have been announced for March 10 along the Pan-American Highway.

Haiti
​​​​​​Today, travelers should minimize movement during planned anti-government protests due to the credible risk of violence. Demonstrations to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise have occurred in Port-au-Prince and other urban centers since February 7. Associated gatherings have often involved roadblocks as well as clashes between protesters and security forces.

Venezuela 
Travelers should expect significant disruption to transportation and essential services due to ongoing nationwide power outages. Reports indicate that efforts are under way to restore electricity; however, it is unclear when power will be restored. The blackout started last night. Operations remain suspended at Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS), which serves Caracas. Disruption to internet and telephone services has also been reported. The outages come amid an ongoing political crisis in the country.
 

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Algeria 
Travelers should continue to exercise caution during weeks of demonstrations against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s candidacy in the April 18 Presidential Election. Further protests are planned today, with education unions declaring a nationwide strike on March 13 and some calls on social media for a five-day, nationwide general strike beginning March 10. Popular protest locations include main city squares and streets, and university campuses. Travelers should plan journeys bypassing all demonstrations to avoid the risk of exposure to local unrest and to minimize inconvenience. Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term is particularly controversial because of the 82-year-old’s ill health.

Burkina Faso 
Yesterday, an overnight curfew from 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM local time was imposed by the governor of Est region, lasting through April 20. This measure was imposed in response to fresh attacks by militant and armed groups in the region. Most recently, suspected Islamist militants attacked a gendarmerie checkpoint in Kantchari on March 2-3; the attack was repelled, and no casualties were reported. Travelers are reminded that travel to the eastern provinces of Gourma, Komandjari, Kompienga, and Tapoa should be for essential purposes only.

Chad 
Travelers are reminded to defer non-essential travel to Borkou, Ennedi, and Tibesti regions following the closure of the Kouri Bougoudi border crossing with Libya. The closure follows a clash in Sossal between deserters from the rebel Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD) and a group of Sudanese rebels during which seven people were killed. The move also comes after the French military carried out airstrikes in the northeast against a rebel convoy.

Kenya 
Today, travelers in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu should expect disruption around demonstrations against gender-based violence. In Nairobi, participants will gather at 8:00 AM local time at Freedom Corner before beginning their march; although the exact route is unknown, demonstrations often move along Kenyatta Avenue. In Mombasa, demonstrators will march at 8:00 AM local time from Saba Saba to Lights Matatu Stage. In Kisumu, protesters will gather at 9:00 AM local time in Kondele before marching to Jamhuri Victoria Park. Travelers should plan journeys avoiding the vicinity of all demonstrations.

Lebanon 
Today, travelers in Beirut should avoid an ongoing sit-in at Riad el-Solh Square to minimize inconvenience. The Association of Full-time Professors at Lebanese University has organized the event to demand improved working conditions, including a salary increase and pension improvements. Local disruption is expected in the vicinity of the sit-in. Negotiations between professors and the Ministry of Interior have been unsuccessful so far.

Libya 
Today, travelers in Tripoli should avoid protests calling for the expulsion of the United Nations Support Mission (UNSMIL) from the country. Protesters will assemble at Martyrs’ Square at 5:30 PM local time. Travelers should reconfirm the feasibility of movement in the vicinity of gatherings and allow additional time for all journeys.

Malawi 
Today, travelers in Lilongwe should avoid an ongoing protest near the Bingu International Conference Center. On March 6, hundreds of demonstrators attempted to march to the State House in protest of violence targeting albino people but were stopped by a police blockade on the road. The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, which is spearheading the protest, has vowed to continue its rallies, amid concerns that attacks on albino people may increase ahead of the General Elections in May. Malawi has experienced a rise in attacks targeting people with albinism over the past few years, with two murders and three abductions reported this year alone.

Mozambique 
Today, travelers in Maputo should avoid an unauthorized march by the Women’s Forum group. Participants will gather at 7:00 AM local time at Paz Square and march to Independence Square. Although authorities refused permission for the march, Women’s Forum intends to go ahead with the event. Security forces may try to forcibly disperse participants, posing incidental risks to bystanders.

Reunion 
Travelers in urban centers should avoid further protests over socio-economic grievances. While these are usually held on Saturdays, gatherings are also possible on other days. Today, gatherings are planned between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM local time along Rue du Marechal Leclerc in Saint-Denis. On March 4, protesters blocked roads in several areas, including Saint-Marie, Saint-Paul, and Saint-Andre. Police used tear gas to disperse a related protest in the Cocoteraie area of Saint-Andre, injuring one person.

South Africa 
Today, travelers in Cape Town should avoid a planned rally at 11:00 AM local time outside the Turkish Consulate General. A coalition led by the Congress of South African Trade Unions has called on demonstrators to gather in solidarity with activists in Turkey who are on hunger strikes in protest of the prison conditions of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While the rally is anticipated to be peaceful, it is likely to cause local disruption. Travelers should ensure that access to the Consulate is possible prior to setting out.


ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Bangladesh 
Today, travelers in Dhaka should avoid a planned protest by the hardline Islamist Hifazat-e-Islam Bangladesh group at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque after Friday prayers. The group is demanding that Rashed Khan Menon, President of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, be expelled from his Parliamentary seat. A similar, largely peaceful protest took place at the National Press Club on March 6.

India 
Today, travelers in the Kashmir Valley, including Srinagar, should avoid all protests related to an ongoing strike by separatist groups. Authorities have imposed Section 144, prohibiting the assembly of more than four people, in the Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, MR Gunj, Safakadal, and Maisuma areas of Srinagar. The strike, which has been called to denounce an alleged government crackdown on separatist groups, has disrupted travel and commercial activity.

Since March 1, cross-border firing near the Line of Control (LoC) has killed at least three Indian civilians in Poonch and Baramulla districts. The Indian Army has also mobilized additional personnel to the LoC to support counter-terrorism operations; four security personnel and two militants were killed in a firefight in Handwara on March 2. Bilateral tensions continue, despite easing since Pakistan’s return of a captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot on March 1. Travelers should monitor all developments closely.

Indonesia
On March 3, a joint police-military task force killed one suspected militant and arrested another following a security operation in Poso regency. The militants are suspected of being members of the Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT), a group linked to the extremist Islamic State (IS). Although such counter-terrorism operations have been ongoing since January 2016, the development highlights the persistent threat posed by militancy in the country. Travelers are reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to authorities.

Pakistan 
Yesterday, further international flight operations resumed at Gwadar International (GWD) and Turbat International (TUK) airports. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) also said that only limited domestic operations would be available at Chitral (CJL) and Panjgur (PJG) airports. Limited operations have resumed at 11 airports since Pakistan closed its airspace on February 27 amid increased tensions with India; however, general restrictions will remain in place until at least 1:00 PM local time today. Travelers planning air travel to, from, and within the country should reconfirm flight schedules.

Turkey 
Today, travelers in urban centers should avoid all gatherings linked to International Women’s Day due to the potential for local unrest. While a rally on March 3 in the Bakirkoy district of Istanbul passed off without incident, local disturbances have occurred during related events in the past. A heightened security presence and travel disruption can be expected around all gatherings, including in Ankara.
 

EUROPE

Albania 
On March 16, travelers in Tirana and other urban centers should avoid planned opposition rallies due to the potential for local unrest. Protesters will gather in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office at 11:00 AM local time to demand his resignation and the formation of a transitional government to prepare for fresh elections. An unauthorized demonstration on March 5 coinciding with the plenary session of Parliament passed off peacefully.

Cyprus 
Today, travelers in Nicosia should avoid a protest organized by civil society actors to pedestrianize Kostaki Pantelidi Street in the city center. Participants will gather at 12:30 PM local time on Agiou Andreou Street, while the City Council will meet at the Nicosia Multipurpose Center to discuss the matter. While the protest is expected to pass off peacefully, travelers should plan journeys avoiding the event to minimize inconvenience. 

France 
Today, travelers using cross-channel ferries, the channel tunnel, and Eurostar trains should allow additional travel time due to ongoing industrial action by French customs officials. The move is intended to highlight the need for extra staffing ahead of a potential UK exit from the EU. Long delays of up to 24-hours have been reported at the ports of Calais and Dunkirk, while two-hour delays are affecting Eurostar services from Paris’ Gare du Nord. Roads affected by traffic delays include the A16 in France and E40 in Belgium.

Travelers in urban centers should continue to avoid weekly protests by supporters of the “Yellow Vests” movement, due to the risk of local unrest. While protests have been taking place every Saturday, organizers are planning to make the 17th round of events in Paris last the entire weekend. Demonstrations will begin at 6:30 PM local time today, with a three-day sit-in at the Champs-de-Mars, near the Eiffel Tower. Organizers are calling on supporters from across the country to travel to Paris for this week’s events.

Spain 
Today, travelers in urban centers should anticipate disruption during a countrywide women’s strike and avoid associated demonstrations to minimize inconvenience. Rallies are due to take place in Madrid at 1:00 PM local time in front of the City Council building and at Atocha at 7:00 PM local time. A 24-hour public transportation strike is also planned in Madrid. In Barcelona, a demonstration is planned at the intersection of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and Carrer d’Entenca at 6:30 PM local time. In Malaga, a rally will take place in Plaza de la Marina at 7:00 PM local time. Bilbao will see a rally at 12:00 PM local time from Jesusen Bihotza Plaza to City Hall. Organized by civil society organizations and supported by labor unions, participants will denounce gender-based violence, the gender wage gap, and other issues to commemorate International Women’s Day.

Ukraine 
Today, travelers in Kiev and other urban centers should expect disruption around International Women’s Day rallies. In Kiev, a gathering is planned at 12:00 PM local time at the Monument to Princess Olga, near St Michael’s Monastery. Rallies will also be held in Lviv at 11:00 AM local time outside the Town Hall, and in Kharkiv at 12:00 PM local time near the Palace of Children and Youth Creativity. Women’s Day remains a public holiday in Ukraine, and the demonstrations are likely to pass off peacefully; however, travelers should avoid all gatherings as a precaution.

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