Today, travelers in Sao Paulo should avoid a protest at 5:00 PM local time in front of the Municipal Theater. The Free Pass Movement (FPM) group has organized the demonstration to denounce a recent bus fare increase. The protest is likely to be well attended and has the potential to turn unruly. In 2013, the FPM organized demonstrations against a similar increase in bus fares. These subsequently expanded into wider anti-corruption protests across the country, though there are no indications thus far that the latest increase will prompt a similar reaction.
Today, travelers in Caracas and other urban centers should minimize movement due to the potential for violent unrest surrounding the inauguration of President Nicolas Maduro. Opposition groups have called for nationwide demonstrations, while proMaduro paramilitary groups have threatened violence against anyone who opposes his swearing-in. Likely flashpoints for unrest in Caracas include the Supreme Tribunal of Justice building, where Maduro’s inauguration will take place, and the Altamira, Capitolio and Chacao neighborhoods.
On Sunday, January 12, travelers in Ouagadougou and Dori should avoid rallies by the “Collective Against Impunity and Communities’ Stigmatization” group. In Ouagadougou, protesters will gather at 8:00 AM local time at Place de la Nation. They will then march to the Town Hall via Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Rond-point des Nations Unies, before returning to Place de la Nation. The venue for the Dori gathering is not known. The group is calling for justice after communal violence on January 1-2 in Yirgou village killed at least 46 people and displaced hundreds of others.
All inbound travel to Congo (DRC) should be deferred through Friday, January 18. Those in-country should minimize non-essential movement during the same period and stand fast until further notice. Tensions remain high over the December 30 elections, whose provisional results were announced yesterday, naming Felix Tshisekedi of the Cap pour le Changement coalition the winner. Runner-up Martin Fayulu of the Lamuka opposition coalition has rejected the result, and protests over the issue are likely.
Travelers in Nairobi are reminded to take additional precautions against violent crime when using app-based ride-share services. On Monday, January 7, a German National was robbed in the Kilimani neighborhood by a criminal posing as an Uber driver. The driver picked up two additional assailants, took the victim to an apartment, and robbed him of his bank card, cash and electronics at gunpoint; the victim was later released unharmed. Travelers should verify the vehicle registration number and the driver’s details before entering a vehicle, even in more affluent areas of the city.
Today, travelers in Amman should avoid a demonstration at 5:00 PM local time at the Fourth Circle. The gathering, largely organized via social media, is a continuation of weekly protests in response to a controversial income tax law that came into effect on January 1. The “Jordanian National Campaign for the Withdrawal from the Israel Gas Deal” group has backed the demonstration. Further gatherings in Amman and other urban centers are likely in the coming weeks.
Yesterday, the General Security Directorate announced the arrest of three suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in Arsal, around 81 miles northeast of Beirut. The arrests not only highlight the ability of security forces to identify and disrupt extremist plots, but also the continued threat of militancy in the country. Travelers in Baalbek-Hermel governorate and areas within five miles of the Syrian border should minimize time around potential militant targets, including security force assets.
Travelers in Nigeria should monitor developments and avoid all political gatherings around the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for February 16, and Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections on March 2. Outbreaks of political unrest are possible around both sets of polls. The main electoral challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is former VicePresident Atiku Abubakar, representing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). A visible security force presence should be expected in main urban centers.
Yesterday, authorities announced that six suspected militants were killed, and one arrested during a security force raid in al-Jish village in Qatif district. Five security force members were injured during the operation after a brief shoot-out. The suspects were reportedly planning an attack on security forces with the apparent aim of attempting to disrupt a local development project. The incident highlights the need to minimize time in Qatif due to the risks posed by periodic, low-level attacks targeting the government and security forces.
Travelers in urban centers should exercise caution following fatal unrest yesterday in Omdurman. At least two people were killed, and eight others injured after security forces uses lived ammunition to disperse demonstrators. The violence occurred during an anti-government march called by the Sudanese Professionals Association. Earlier in the day, hundreds of people participated in a pro-government rally attended by President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum. Travelers should avoid further gatherings, including any nightly anti-government protests in urban centers, due to the risk of unrest.
On Sunday, January 12, travelers should avoid protests organized by the C14 opposition parties and civil society groups coalition due to the potential for local unrest. In Lome, participants will gather at the Adidogome Catholic Mission, the Totsi pharmacy, and the Badohoun building on Boulevard 13 Janvier; all groups will converge in the TokoinCasablanca area, in front of the Grignotine on Boulevard 30 Aout. The protests come after the Constitutional Court confirmed the results of the recent Legislative Elections on December 31.
Yesterday, police arrested a man on charges of sending packages containing suspicious substances to diplomatic missions in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney. Twentynine of the 38 identified packages have been recovered since Monday, January 7; authorities said they are working to recover the rest, and there is no ongoing threat to the public.
High levels of air pollution have affected several locations across the country. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying heart or lung disease are particularly vulnerable. To lessen the risk of potential health problems, travelers are advised to reduce exposure by decreasing time and physical activity outdoors.
Travelers in Fiji should expect intermittent disruption and maintain flexible itineraries during the country’s rainy season, which is expected to last through April. Tropical storms can also affect the country during this period. The passage of former Tropical Cyclone Mona disrupted flight and ferry services across Fiji yesterday; national carrier Fiji Airways canceled several flights due to poor weather. Landslides and flooding occurred on Queens Road and Kings Road, two main highways serving Suva, and several roads were closed in Central, Northern, and Eastern divisions.
Travelers in northeastern states should avoid all gatherings linked to two controversial bills. A shutdown strike has been called for tomorrow in Asom state in protest of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Amendment Bill, which would give Scheduled Tribe status to six indigenous tribal groups, granting them legal protections and advantages. There is also widespread discontent over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which would grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Previous protests on the issue have led to unrest; travelers should anticipate heightened security.
Travelers in Kerala state should avoid all gatherings related to a contentious Supreme Court (SC) verdict to revoke a ban on women entering the Sabarimala Temple. The entry of two women into the temple on January 2 sparked incidents of unrest across Kerala. At least one person was killed, and 100 others injured during a related shutdown strike on January 3. Tens of thousands of women devotees staged statewide protests in support of the verdict on January 1, after the temple reopened for the Hindu festival of Makara Vilakku, which runs through January 20. The SC is expected to hear petitions to review its judgment on January 22.
Passengers of national carrier Tajik Air should reconfirm flights following the suspension of multiple routes due to their unprofitability. Services to Khujand, St Petersburg, Delhi, and Tehran have been halted. Other cancellations are possible throughout and beyond January. Yesterday, Tajik Air employees were told to take indefinite unpaid leave. Another Tajik carrier, Somon Air, has stated that it will take over the Dushanbe-Moscow route and may assume other routes operated by Tajik Air in the near future.
Today, travelers intending to undertake ferry travel should anticipate disruption and reconfirm bookings due to adverse weather conditions. Istanbul’s Fast Ferry and Sea Bus Company (IDO) and Bursa Sea Buses (BUDO) have temporarily suspended a number of domestic ferry services between Istanbul and Bursa, Bandirma and Istanbul, Bursa and Armutlu, and Armutlu and Istanbul.
The Gudauri-Kobi section of the Georgian Military Highway, which connects Tbilisi with Vladikavkaz, has been indefinitely closed due to the threat of avalanches. Travelers should make alternative arrangements and reconfirm the status of the route before setting out.
Today, travelers in Brussels should avoid Place du Luxembourg during a protest by truck drivers from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM local time. The drivers are protesting proposed changes to EU legislation on road transportation. The demonstration is expected to be well attended, with drivers from various countries announcing their intention to attend. Travelers should anticipate disruption around the European Parliament building, adjacent to the protest site.
Today, passengers transiting Dusseldorf (DUS), Cologne Bonn (CGN), and Stuttgart (STR) international airports should anticipate disruption and reconfirm flights due to a planned strike by security staff. The walkout is scheduled to take place between 3:00 AM and 12:00 AM local time and follows an earlier “warning strike” at Schoenefeld (SXF) and Tegel (TXL) international airports on Monday, January 7. That action forced the cancellation of more than 50 flights.