Perpetual Traveller Political Security Watch - Week 17

 
Political Security Watch - Week 17

Government and Political Turnmoil can be dangerous if one is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. As such, Perpetual Traveller will review the Political landscape each week to give it's readers the heads up.

Here is Week 17:

Australia: Canberra to send military aircraft to monitor Pyongyang’s ships
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia will send a P-8A surveillance aircraft to monitor North Korean vessels suspected of transferring prohibited goods in defiance of UN sanctions, Reuters reported. Canada also plans to deploy patrol aircraft, and surveillance planes from both countries will be based in the US military’s Kadena air base on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, according to the Japanese government. The announcements came despite an historic summit between North and South Korea on 27 April, during which both sides pledged to work towards “complete denuclearisation”.

Bangladesh: BNP to hold countrywide protests to demand Zia’s release
The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) plans to hold protests across the country to demand the release of party chief Khaleda Zia, who was sentenced to 5 years in prison in February on graft charges. The party has not specified where it will stage demonstrations. BNP also plans to hold a rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka on 1 May, which coincides with Labour Day celebrations. The rally could result in significant travel disruption with a high chance of violence at BNP protests; noting the possibility police using force to disperse demonstrators.
India: Beijing, New Delhi vow to maintain peace at border
China and India have pledged to resolve differences over a contested border peacefully through talks, India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said. The statement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Chinese city of Wuhan for informal meetings with President Xi Jinping. The meeting came months after an extended standoff between both militaries in the Doklam plateau along the Bhutan border in 2017. Despite the statements, cooperation between both sides will mean overcoming significant hurdles such as a disputed border with Tibet, China’s control over an uninhabited part of Kashmir and its plans to build infrastructure projects in that territory.

India: Security forces launch counter-insurgency operation in Assam
The Indian Army has launched a large counter-insurgency operation in the western Assam districts adjoining the border with Bhutan to find two National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) militants. Over 1,000 personnel and helicopters have been deployed. The militants have been suspected to have shuttled between India and Bhutan forest areas, and have reportedly avoided security forces in numerous operations during the year.

India: Thousands to protest in Mumbai over “anti-labour” policies
About 50,000 people from various trade unions plan to hold a rally in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan to
denounce what they claim are anti-labour policies of the government. The unions are demanding higher minimum salaries, abolition of contract labour, and equal pay for equal work. There is potential for travel disruption due to the protest, which will also mark the International Labour Day.
Lebanon: Risk of violence, unrest over parliamentary vote
There is a risk of unrest and violence due to scheduled parliamentary elections. The previous parliamentary vote was in 2009 and tensions are high between supporters of rival political factions. On 17 April, armed clashes broke out in Dinniyah following a dispute over election posters, though no casualties were reported. Protesters may use the vote to draw attention to their demands. For example, relatives of jailed Islamist militants protested in Tripoli on 17 April to demand the introduction of an amnesty agreement before the vote.

Malaysia: Increased potential for rallies as nominations begin for general election
From 28 April till 9 May, campaigning rallies are expected to take place across the country due to the upcoming general election. A recent state corruption scandal involving high-ranking government officials is likely to fuel tensions during the elections. Campaign rallies may cause disruption in major urban areas, especially in Kuala Lumpur.

Nepal: Transporters to protest new government policy
Members of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association (NNTEA) plan to hold sit-ins outside government transport offices across the country. The move followed the government’s decision to not renew the registration of existing transport bodies, which will effectively end the monopoly of transport bodies along different road routes. The NNTEA is demanding a roll-back of the policy and has threatened to not operate vehicles on 4 May. The body also warned of an indefinite transportation strike from 10 May, if its demands are not addressed.
Russia: Activists to stage days of protests in various cities
Several opposition groups are due to hold several protests on 1, 5 and 6 May in the lead up to President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration on 7 May. Authorities typically block unauthorised demonstrations and some protests in the lead-up to the March presidential election saw tens of arrests and some scuffles with riot police. On 1 May, trade unions are set to hold five approved protests in Moscow’s Kaluzhskaya Square, Bolshaya Yakimanka, Bolshaya Polyanka, Mokhovaya, Maly and Bolshoi Kamenny Most bridges, Okhotny Ryad, and Theatre Square between 1100 hrs and 1500 hrs local time. The communist party is also set to hold a protest in Vladivostok’s Central Square. On 5 May, opposition activists are due to hold an unauthorised demonstration along Moscow’s Tverskaya Street. On 6 May, opposition supporters are due to stage an unauthorised protest at Moscow’s Revolution square.

Tunisia: Military to vote in municipal elections
The military and members of other security agencies will vote in municipal elections a week before the public vote. There is a heightened risk of militant attacks on this day and security measures may disrupt travel. However, militant capabilities in Tunisia remain limited and the likelihood of any successful attacks is low.

Tunisia: Municipal elections pose risk of disruption
Municipal elections are scheduled to take place, presenting a risk of disruption, particularly in towns and cities. Major unrest over the vote is unlikely, although some isolated anti-government protests may take place over access to services and a pensions agreement. Increased security measures for the elections could also mean travel in urban areas will take longer than anticipated.



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