Business Travel Advisory
Today and tomorrow, travelers in urban centers should anticipate disruption during student protests against the national university entrance exam. The demonstrations have been organized by the Coordinating Assembly of Secondary Students of Chile in opposition to the administration of the exam. Activists have argued that the test should not be given as many students have been engaged in recent nationwide protests. Student groups plan to demonstrate outside testing centers and in major public squares, including Santiago’s Plaza Italia. Demonstrations are expected to be well attended and result in local disruption.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Tomorrow through Friday, January 10, travelers in urban centers should anticipate gatherings associated with a three-day strike by the public sectors union after the collapse of negotiations with the government. The walkout is linked to the nonpayment of bonuses and indemnities since 2016. Related demonstrations are possible, particularly in Ndjamena, though such events are systematically banned by authorities. Security forces may use heavy-handed measures to disperse protesters, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Today, travelers in Kindia should expect a heightened police presence and disruption during President Alpha Conde’s visit to the city. Conde is due to inaugurate a new Administrative Building and any related demonstrations should be avoided due to the risk of local unrest. Security forces may use heavy-handed measures to disperse protesters, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Today, travelers in Conakry should avoid a rally organized by the Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) opposition group due to the risk of unrest. Participants will gather at 7:00 AM local time at Rond-Point Tannerie and depart at 9:00 AM local time on a march to Stade du 28 Septembre. The protest is being held over President Alpha Conde’s efforts to seek another term in office. Security forces may use tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protests, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Travelers in Conakry and other main cities should anticipate and avoid further antigovernment protests due to the risk of unrest. The opposition Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) Alliance called for fresh demonstrations after President Alpha Conde said he would seek a referendum on a new constitution as part of an effort to seek another term in office. After postponing a rally planned for December 26 in Conakry, the FNDC announced a series of actions, including a rally today and daily demonstrations beginning January 13.
Travelers should continue to anticipate and avoid gatherings linked to the recent killing of Qassem Soleimani, the Commander General of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, by a US airstrike in Baghdad. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has announced a three-day mourning period, and Soleimani’s funeral is scheduled through tomorrow. The funeral procession will take place in Mashhad, Tehran and Kerman, with similar commemorative gatherings countrywide. Travelers should anticipate a heightened security force presence and enhanced scrutiny by authorities, especially towards US Nationals or US-affiliated interests. Following Friday prayers on January 3, thousands of people participated in anti-US demonstrations across the country.
All travel to Baghdad should be deferred through Friday, January 10. While tensions remain heightened amid persistent anti-government unrest and following a high-profile US airstrike on January 2-3 near Baghdad International Airport (BGW), the risk of retaliatory attacks is particularly likely against US diplomatic and military interests located in Baghdad and central Iraq.
Today, travelers in urban centers should avoid demonstrations organized by the Council of Patriots (CoP) activist group as part of its “Step Down Campaign” against President George Weah despite a government ban on all protests through January 30. The CoP originally planned to hold a rally in Monrovia on December 30; however, the event was postponed due to the government’s inability to provide adequate security. The pro-government Independent Council of Patriot group is likely to organize counter-protests on the same day, increasing the risk for potential disturbances. An exact venue for the main demonstration in Monrovia has not yet been agreed upon by the government and the CoP.
Tomorrow, travelers in Tripoli should avoid a demonstration scheduled for 10:00 AM local time in Martyr’s Square. The rally is being held in support of the recent military co-operation deal between Turkey and the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The event will take place ahead of a planned visit by the High Representative of the European Union and several other delegates. Travelers should reconfirm the feasibility of movement around the protest and allow additional time for journeys.
Travelers should continue to reconfirm flights after an airstrike targeted Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport (MJI) yesterday, leading airport authorities to reroute flights to Misrata International Airport (MRA). One airport staff member was reportedly killed in the attack. Earlier, Mitiga Airport temporarily suspended operations on January 3 due to nearby shelling. Although operations at Misrata Airport were suspended on December 18, local reports suggest that the facility has resumed operations in recent days.
On Friday, January 10, travelers in Bamako should anticipate local disruption around a planned demonstration against the French military presence in Mali. Participants will gather at 2:00 PM local time at the Boulevard de l’Independance. Although the event is likely to pass off peacefully, local unrest cannot be ruled out. Authorities have forcibly dispersed related protests, including with tear gas, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Travelers in Polokwane should plan routes avoiding the Municipality Building, due to an ongoing demonstration. Protesters have blocked entry to the building, and police officers are on the scene. Although the gathering has so far remained peaceful, travelers should avoid the area as a precaution and to minimize inconvenience.
Travelers in Kampala and other urban centers should anticipate and avoid gatherings linked to today’s arrest of opposition MP and 2021 Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi and several of his supporters. The development occurred ahead of a planned meeting on behalf of Kyagulanyi in Gayaza, nine miles north of Kampala. Tear gas and gunfire were reportedly fired to disperse the politician’s supporters, and a journalist was also detained for filming the arrests. Related gatherings could be dispersed in a similar fashion, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Today, travelers in Hong Kong should avoid scheduled protests as a precaution and plan journeys accounting for related disruption in affected areas. While most recent demonstrations associated with the ongoing protest movement have been peaceful, some scuffles between participants and police occurred during rallies over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Small groups of demonstrators may also hold unauthorized and spontaneous gatherings. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries.
Travelers should continue to closely monitor ongoing bushfires and plan journeys accordingly. Power outages were reported throughout New South Wales and Victoria on January 4. Victoria declared a State of Disaster on January 3 to empower authorities to conduct rescue and recovery operations and order evacuations and control measures, such as roadblocks. The government has deployed the Australian Defense Force, together with additional naval and air support, to assist with evacuations and supplies. Travelers should follow all official directives and be prepared to defer or change plans at short notice, especially for journeys to non-urban areas.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid demonstrations over a recent attack at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi due to the risk of unrest. Yesterday’s attack followed a meeting organized by the JNU Teachers Association, which was linked to a rise in student hostel fees. More than 25 people were injured when a group of masked men and women, brandishing sticks, damaged property and attacked people at the JNU campus. Travelers are advised to plan journeys bypassing such gatherings as bystanders may face incidental risks in the event of unrest.
On Thursday, January 9, travelers in Manila should expect road disruption due to the Feast of the Black Nazarene, when a statue of Jesus Christ is carried in a procession through the city’s streets. More than six million Roman Catholics from across the country are expected to attend the traditional procession from Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or the Quiapo Church. Heightened security measures can be expected around the route of the procession. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries to minimize inconvenience.
Several cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) have been confirmed in Mindanao and Luzon. Other poliovirus strains have also been detected in other locations. These are the first cases reported in the country in 19 years. Poliovirus has also been detected in several environmental samples, including samples from Manila. Polio is a contagious viral illness that can cause paralysis and death. It is spread through contaminated food or water or directly from an infected person. Travelers should prevent infection by ensuring polio vaccinations are up to date and selecting safe food and water.
Travelers in the UK and European Union (EU) should continue to monitor developments and follow all government guidelines related to the process of the UK leaving the EU, known as “Brexit.” The EU has agreed on a flexible extension date of January 31, 2020. Local gatherings relating to Brexit may take place in the UK, with most such events likely to be focused on Parliament Square in London.
On Thursday, January 9, travelers in Paris and other urban centers should avoid renewed nationwide protests denouncing controversial pension reforms. In Paris, participants are due to gather at Place de la Republique at 1:30 PM local time. Several labor unions have organized the demonstrations as part of an ongoing industrial action. Well-attended protests over the issue have previously led to looting and scuffles between attendees and police, and any repetition would pose incidental risks to bystanders. Further rallies have been announced for Saturday, January 11.
Travelers should continue to factor significant transportation disruption into their journeys as nationwide strikes over planned pension reforms persist. The Transilien, Intercites, TER, and TGV rail networks are among those affected with significantly reduced services. While the overall level of disruption has decreased, strikes will continue into the new year.
Today, travelers in Milan should anticipate disruption linked to a scheduled demonstration to denounce recent US government actions against Iran. The march is expected to begin at 5:00 PM local time and will begin at Via Moscova. It will then proceed towards Via Turati, in the vicinity of the US Consulate, and will likely conclude by 8:00 PM local time. The march could cause traffic disruption in the area.
Today through June 30, passengers transiting Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) should reconfirm flights, as the facility will be closed during overnight hours due to runway maintenance. The closures will begin at 11:30 PM local time and conclude at 5:30 AM local time. Some airlines, including EasyJet, have altered some of their routes. Travelers should plan alternative transportation arrangements if necessary.