Perpetual Traveller Worldwide Travel Warnings - Week 25


Here is the latest Perpetual Traveller A-Z round up of Travel Warnings, Global Events and disturbances that could impact your travel plans:

Global
Increased risk of terrorist attacks, disruption for Eid al-Fitr; There is a heightened threat of terrorist activity over the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan. The Islamic State (IS) group carried out a major spate of attacks in Iraq on Eid al-Fitr in 2013, killing more than 60 people. In a 26 May video posted on social media, IS called for its supporters to step-up attacks on the West during the period. During Ramadan in 2016, IS claimed major attacks in Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia that left more than 400 dead and 700 wounded. In addition to the potential for violence, there is typically a slowdown in business activity during the period, which could affect commercial operations and government services.

Europe
Dockworkers to stage continent-wide two-hour strike; The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) called for a Europe-wide port stoppage to take place between 1000 and 1200 hrs as a gesture of solidarity with Spanish dockworkers protesting port reform legislation. It is unclear whether the action will go ahead however, after Spanish trade union cancelled strikes scheduled for 23 and 26 June as a sign of goodwill ahead of further negotiations. Previous strikes in June have caused varying levels of disruption to Spanish ports, and many planned strikes over the reforms in 2017, including a similar Europe-wide strike called by the IDC in March, have been cancelled.

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Albania
General elections to be held on 25 June after months of opposition protests; Albania is set to hold general elections amid widespread allegations by opposition parties that the ruling Socialists will engage in electoral fraud. The run-up to the election saw the main opposition Democratic Party repeatedly call for protests, although there have been no major protests in June. The elections will be overseen by international observers in a bid to ease opposition concerns about vote-rigging.

Azerbaijan
Formula 1 Grand Prix to prompt closures in Baku; The Formula 1 Grand Prix Baki race will prompt road closures and other security measures in the city between 25 and 27 June. There will be restricted access to the city center and Boulevard until 0600 hrs local time on 27 June.

Bahrain
on 18 June 2017, an attack took place in the village of Diraz against security personnel, which led to the death of a policeman and a number of injuries. Having been in Bahrain only last week, I can however confirm that the situation on the ground is calm and I reiterate that not one single incident involving a Tourist has occurred in Bahrain during the past 5 years.  

Belgium
On 20 June 2017, Belgian security forces helped prevent a suspected terrorist attack at Brussels Central Station; if travelling in Belgium, we recommend to remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities; additional precautionary security measures are being implemented, including an increased security presence at train and metro stations and increased security measures are also likely at public events; please also check arrangements with event organizers.

Bolivia
Two separate protests in La Paz on 26 June likely to disrupt travel; Social movements will stage protests over two different issues in La Paz, that will both end at Plaza San Francisco, making disruption to travel around the square likely. One of the protests is led by medical associations against a law on free membership of unions, and will begin at El Cementerio at 0800 hrs local time. The other protest will be held by a residents’ association against a municipal fiscal law and will begin at Macrodistritos.

Brazil
General strike by unions to disrupt travel on 30 June; Brazil’s main unions will hold a nationwide general strike to express opposition to the government’s economic policies. Travel disruption in major cities due to strikes by transportation workers and accompanying demonstrations is likely. A previous general strike by unions in April also saw delays and cancellations to flights and vandalism in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. 

Cambodia
Potential for unrest amid official results of local elections; There is an increased likelihood of unrest in Cambodia as the official results of the local elections held on 4 June are announced. The run-up to the elections saw the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) accuse the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of cracking down on dissent, with key opposition leaders arrested or intimidated. Prime Minister Hun Sen has previously warned of a “civil war” if the ruling CPP does not secure a majority. Following the election, CNRP claimed that its vote share increased to 46% from 30% in 2012, although CPP said that the opposition’s share was much lower. There is scope for protests by both pro-government and opposition groups. A victory for the ruling CPP is likely to spark widespread opposition protests in major cities such as Phnom Penh, and could lead to demands for a recount. There is potential for violence if security personnel use force to break-up possible protests.

China – Hong Kong
Large-scale protests likely in Hong Kong on anniversary of 1997 handover Hong Kong is set to see large-scale protests by pro-democracy and anti-Beijing groups on the 20th anniversary of the 1997 handover from the UK to China. The city’s multiple anti-Beijing groups, most notably Demosisto, led by prominent activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, have announced they will hold protests during the event, which will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping on his first official visit to the city. The protests are likely to attract thousands of people and disruption is likely in the Admiralty, Central Wanchai areas, where the government buildings are located. During previous years, anti-Beijing protests on 1 July have typically started in Victoria Park, although this year the right to protest at the park has been given to pro-Beijing groups. Tensions are high in Hong Kong over Beijing’s growing influence over the city’s political and social affairs. There is a chance of isolated clashes with police, though Hong Kong’s pro-democracy groups usually engage in peaceful rallies.

Increased security likely for WEF meeting in Dalian; The port city of Dalian will host the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual summer meeting from 27-29 June, that will be attended by more than 2,000 leaders and their entourage from 80 countries. Security is likely to be tightened, with some reports suggesting that as many as 9,000 security personnel have been deployed to Dalian.

Costa Rica
Unions to protest pension reform on 29 June; Costa Rica’s Bussco and CTRN unions will hold a mobilization against a rise in pension contributions. The protest in San Jose will begin at 0900 hrs local time at Torre Mercedes on Paseo Colón, before heading along Avenida Segunda. Violence during the mobilization is unlikely, but travel disruption is possible, particularly if large numbers of union members participate.

Gabon
Sogatra bus drivers threaten to protest in Libreville; Gabonese Transport Company (Sogatra) staff said they will protest on 27 June if their employer fails to find a solution to four months of salary arrears by 26 June. Sogotra staff previously staged a sit-in outside the Prime Minister’s office in Libreville on 21 June. If the protest goes ahead, Sogatra employees and bus drivers will likely block streets with buses, severely affecting traffic in Libreville.

India
Clashes in Darjeeling with the police expected  on 12 June 2017; the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called for a strike and indefinite shutdown of government offices; further protests followed and most hotels are now shut; if you're planning to travel in the Darjeeling hills please follow local news and the advice of the local authorities, and consult your travel company.

Security tightened in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the start of Hindu pilgrimage; Authorities plan to deploy 27,000 security personnel, 24 rescue teams, and 35 dog squads to Jammu and Kashmir to boost security during the annual 45-day Hindu pilgrimage of Amarnath Yatra, which will begin on 29 June. The Yatra is scheduled to commence from the traditional 28.2 km Pahalgam route in the restive Anantnag district and 9.5 km Baltal track in Ganderbal district. This year’s pilgrimage has been shortened by eight days amid security concerns. The pilgrimage will also coincide with the death anniversary of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader Burhwan Wani, whose killing by security forces on 9 July triggered months of violent protests in which nearly 100 people were killed. Kashmir has seen an increase in attacks against security forces and frequent protests demanding a separate state, raising fears of reprisal attacks on Hindu devotees. There is a high likelihood of protests erupting on Wani’s death anniversary with the potential to escalate to violence. 

Italy
National strike to impact public transport on 26 June; Public transport workers will hold a nationwide strike between 0830 and 1230 local time. Commuters in Rome will face a four-hour halt of buses and trams as well as the metro and the Roma-Lido, Roma-Viterbo and Termini-Centocelle light rail services. Routes operated by Roma TPL, the company that operates Rome’s suburbs, will also be affected.

Mali
Protests in Bamako against planned changes to constitution; Civil society group “Don’t touch our constitution”, as well as the opposition, said they would continue to protest planned changes to the constitution on 1 July in Bamako and regional capitals. A past protest by the group drew thousands to the streets in Bamako. While the government has announced that it would delay a planned referendum on the constitutional changes on 9 July, protests are expected to go ahead regardless. The police have not commented on the planned protest. Previous, spontaneous protests against the vote led to clashes with riot police on 8 and 10 June.

G5 Sahel summit to see increased security in Bamako on 2 July; The heads of state of the G5 Sahel countries and French President Emmanuel Macron will attend the G5 Sahel summit in Bamako. Security deployments will be increased throughout the city and at key infrastructure points such as bridges and the airport. The summit is being held at the International Conference Centre of Bamako, which will likely be largely cordoned off. A recent attack by Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) in the outskirts of Bamako displayed the capability of the group to conduct attacks in the city’s vicinity. Increased checkpoints around Bamako are to be expected, with the potential to cause travel delays.

Mongolia
Presidential elections to take place on 26 June amid heightened unrest; Mongolia will hold presidential elections amid heightened unrest since the beginning of 2017 over high pollution in the capital Ulan Bator, poor economic conditions, and government corruption. Protests have occurred frequently in the capital since March and demonstrations on the election day are likely, as all three presidential candidates have faced corruption allegations in the past.

Morocco
Activists call for protest in Rif for end of Ramadan; The detained leader of the Hirak movement, Nasser Zefzafi, called for a mass demonstration in the area to mark the end of Ramadan in a post on social media. Zefzafi called the protest to demand the release of members of the movement jailed amid rising unrest in recent weeks. Demonstrations in the Rif region are likely to be large-scale and clashes with police are probable. The protests are likely to center on the town of al-Hoceima, though solidarity protests in the past have also occurred in Rabat and Casablanca.

Nepal
Local elections are taking place on 28 June 2017 including in regions that border India, hence extra caution is required when traveling to Nepal.

Country to hold second phase of local elections 28 June; ecurity in Nepal is likely to be tightened for the second phase of local elections, after the first phase of the polls saw 226,000 security personnel deployed. Traffic controls are also likely to be implemented, as was seen during the first phase when only vehicles with permits were allowed to enter certain areas. The border with India could also experience disruption, with the government stating that 66 polling stations in Kanchanpur and 18 in Palpa along the border with India were deemed to be “highly sensitive”. Authorities have boosted security in these areas. The elections have been marred by opposition from Madhesis and other ethnic groups who are demanding the implementation of constitutional changes before the elections are held.

Turkey
The weekend of 23-25 June 2017 marks the end of Ramadan; those travelling in Turkey should be alert to their surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with foreign nationals; an Istanbul Pride march is planned for 25 June; so, avoid being near all rallies and demonstrations and leave the area if one develops.

Ultranationalists threaten to disrupt the Pride Parade in Istanbul; The Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organisation, has threatened to block the LGBT Pride March set to take place in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. The ultranationalist group termed the LGBT Pride March a ‘conspiracy’ aiming to subvert family structures, and vowed to prevent it from happening. The march has been conducted peacefully in Istanbul for 13 years, although police prevented people from attending the June 2015 march in Istanbul over security concerns.

Have a secure week ahead!

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