Travelers transiting the US-Mexico border should continue to reconfirm the status of crossings before setting out. Delays and disruption are possible following the arrival of a US-bound “migrant caravan” from Central America and enhanced security on the US side of the border. Passage through border crossings in San Diego, CA has been intermittently restricted and was shut down completely for several hours on November 25. Other crossings into the US have experienced longer wait times. Across the border, there is a heightened security presence as US troops assist with security; they are expected to stay in the area through January 31, 2019.
Travelers should avoid all demonstrations related to an ongoing port workers’ strike due to the risk of unrest. Demonstrations are anticipated in Santiago at 6:30 PM local time tomorrow at Plaza de Armas. A related protest is planned in Concepcion for 6:30 PM local time tomorrow at Plaza Tribunales de Justicia. Previous related protests have involved roadblocks and associated clashes between demonstrators and security forces; similar incidents would cause disruption and pose incidental risks to bystanders.
Travelers in Valparaiso should avoid all demonstrations around a port workers’ strike, following recent unrest. Demonstrations have resulted in roadblocks along Avenida Errazuriz and clashes with security forces, creating travel disruption and posing incidental risks to bystanders. On Thursday, December 13, security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators, after the latter erected barricades using burning tires. Further such incidents are likely, as workers and the operator of the commercial port have yet to reach an agreement.
Travelers should continue to avoid anti-government demonstrations due to a credible risk of unrest. Recent and widespread protests demanding President Jovenel Moise’s resignation have resulted in significant violence and disruption. Unannounced related gatherings have taken place in Port-au-Prince and other urban centers. Travelers should exercise caution, reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out, and remain abreast of spontaneous demonstrations.
Today, travelers in Mexico City should plan routes avoiding protests by students against university budget cuts, due to the risk of local unrest. Students of the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) and the National Polytechnic University (IPN) will march at 11:00 AM local time from the Angel of Independence towards the National Palace in the city center. Additionally, students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) plan to gather outside the Legislative Palace of San Lazaro in protest of the same issue. The protests are expected to be well attended and liable to turn disruptive.
Today, travelers should minimize movement during a 24-hour nationwide strike organized by the National Blue and White Unity (UNAB) opposition movement. UNAB is calling on President Daniel Ortega and his wife and Vice-President Rosario Murillo to step down. The strike comes amid increased crackdowns against NGOs and media outlets in the country. It will be the fourth nationwide strike since widespread anti-government protests began in April and the first since the government formally banned opposition protests.
Today, travelers in Panama City should plan journeys avoiding the US Embassy due to a planned demonstration. Participants will gather at 8:00 AM local time. The Consular section of the Embassy will be closed.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Travelers in the Middle East and North Africa should exercise enhanced caution and avoid all public gatherings during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. While the nature of observance and associated threats differ from country to country, there will likely be a heightened security force presence in countries with significant Christian populations, such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. In Egypt and Iraq, there is a heightened threat of militant attacks against Christian interests. In Turkey, authorities have previously placed restrictions on public gatherings on New Year’s Eve and increased security around key sites.
Today, travelers in Kinshasa and other urban centers should minimize movement and exercise caution. This comes after the Electoral Commission (CENI) announced a press conference for 3:00 PM local time in Kinshasa over a potential postponement of Presidential Elections due to take place on Sunday, December 23. Any delay is likely to trigger spontaneous demonstrations and unrest, as the opposition coalition Lamuka and civic group LUCHA have said they will not accept this. Travelers in main cities should anticipate heightened security presence. Those in Kinshasa should expect disruption in the city center and avoid the CENI building along Boulevard 30 June.
At least ten people were killed yesterday when the minibus they were traveling in struck a landmine near the border between the Benishangul-Gumuz and Oromia regions. The border region has seen an uptick in violence over the past several months; however, incidents involving landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) remain rare in the area. Travelers should closely monitor developments and anticipate further instances of retaliatory ethnic violence.
Today, travelers in Amman should avoid a protest set to begin at 5:00 PM local time in the Fourth Circle in Zahran district. The protest, organized under the slogan “Thursday is for the people,” is a continuation of demonstrations over a tax reform bill that have been ongoing since late November. The bill is due to come into effect on January 1, 2019. Around 2,000 people participated in a related protest on December 13, which degenerated into clashes with security forces. A heightened security force presence and traffic disruption should be expected in the area.
Travelers should continue to avoid all political gatherings following yesterday’s Presidential Election run-off. While voting passed off peacefully, there remains a risk of unrest, especially around the release of results. The run-off was contested between former Presidents Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana; both have since declared victory. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said provisional results will only be available between Wednesday, December 26 and Tuesday, January 1. Official results are likely to be announced by the High Constitutional Court (HCC) by January 9.
Today, travelers in Kasunga should avoid a demonstration planned to condemn persistent water shortages. The Kasungu Citizens and Kasungu Civil Society Network groups intend to protest the Regional Water Board’s inability to resolve the issue in the town, which is located between the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Kasungu National Park. While no exact time has yet been announced, the Water Board’s offices are a likely location. Travelers should confirm the status of routes before setting out.
Today, travelers in urban centers should anticipate disruption and avoid gatherings associated with a 48-hour strike by the Moroccan Union of Technicians. The events, inspired by the ongoing “Yellow Vests” movement in France, are being organized over working conditions and other grievances. Related sit-in protests are likely near government offices and on main squares in urban centers. Demonstrations are liable to be forcibly dispersed by police, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
A recent armed robbery at a Chinese work site in Nicoadala district underlines the persistent crime risks and the need to adopt suitable security measures. At least seven armed criminals forcibly entered the premises and tied up security guards and the owner, before escaping with cash and electronic devices on Saturday, December 15.
Today, President Muhammadu Buhari will officially open the new international terminal at Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) at 10:00 AM local time. Checkpoints will be in place on roads leading to the airport, and heightened security can be expected around the facility. Passengers transiting the airport should allow additional time for journeys.
Today, travelers in Cape Town should avoid a rally by the South African Federation of Trade Unions in the central business district (CBD). Participants will march from Kaizersgracht Street to the Department of Labor at 9:30 AM local time. The demonstration is being held in solidarity with an ongoing strike by labor unions to demand better wages and working conditions.
Travelers in urban centers should anticipate and avoid all protests over various socio-economic issues. Local rallies have been reported in Khartoum over the past week, including on al-Safa Road, despite authorities urging residents not to protest. In Atbara, a State of Emergency is in effect, including a nightly curfew from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM local time, following large protests and unrest yesterday. Rallies have also occurred in Port Sudan and al-Nuhud. Spontaneous protests are likely to continue.
Passengers of Fastjet should make alternative travel plans after the airline announced the suspension of all flights through January 31, 2019. The decision follows an announcement by Tanzania’s Civil Aviation Authority that it is considering revoking the airline’s license amid operational and financial difficulties.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid all protests due to the potential for unrest during today’s Legislative Election. A Constitutional Referendum and Local Elections on Sunday, December 16 passed off peacefully. The C14 opposition coalition is boycotting the polls and has called for protests. Authorities have banned all demonstrations, including in Lome.
Travelers in the southeastern outskirts of Harare should plan routes bypassing an ongoing teachers’ march from Mutare. The rally, by members of the ARTUZ teachers’ union, began on December 10 and is expected to arrive in Harare today; however, delays are possible. Protesters plan to camp outside the Finance Ministry once in Harare. Scuffles between participants and police occurred in Macheke on Sunday, December 16; nine demonstrators were arrested. Yesterday, 14 participants were arrested in Ruwa, located 16 miles from central Harare. Teachers are demanding that their salaries be paid in US dollars.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Tomorrow and Monday, December 24, travelers in Dhaka should avoid election campaign rallies by the ruling Awami League (AL) in the Gulshan and Kamrangirchar areas respectively. The timing and location of the rallies has not been confirmed, though they are likely to draw large crowds due to the expected attendance of Prime Minister and AL President, Sheikh Hasina. An increased security presence should be expected at both rallies, with security forces liable to forcibly disperse any unruly crowds, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Tomorrow, travelers in Kuala Lumpur should plan journeys bypassing a protest outside the Australian High Commission. The diplomatic mission will be closed to the public beginning at 12:00 PM local time. Although the exact timing of the demonstration is not available, it is most likely to be held after Friday midday prayers. The protest is being held against Australia’s recent recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Today, travelers in Seoul should anticipate disruption and increased demand for alternative modes of transportation during a planned strike and protest by taxi drivers. Up to 100,000 protesters are expected to gather at the National Assembly at 2:00 PM local time and subsequently march to Mapo Bridge at 4:00 PM local time. The action is being organized against ride-sharing app Kakao T, which taxi drivers say threaten their jobs. While the protest is expected to pass off peacefully, large crowds and attendant security measures, including traffic restrictions, are likely to cause disruption near the affected areas.
Today, ferry travelers should anticipate disruption and reconfirm bookings due to adverse weather conditions. Istanbul’s Fast Ferry and Sea Bus Company (IDO) has temporarily suspended a number of domestic ferry services between Istanbul and Bursa, as well as between Bandirma and Istanbul.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Larnaca should expect a visibly heightened police presence during two security drills. The first exercise, “Zenon 2018,” will simulate an armed incident in the city’s Vlachos residential district from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM local time today. A separate “Ermis 2018” drill will be under way from 12:01 AM to 2:30 AM local time tomorrow at Larnaca International Airport (LCA). This is designed to prepare against a terrorist attack scenario. Authorities have said that regular airport operations will not be affected.
Travelers in Paris should plan journeys bypassing separate protests organized by the CGT union confederation and students. Tomorrow, civil servants will rally at Place Saint-Gervais at 12:00 PM local time. In addition, students have occupied Paris Nanterre and Pantheon-Sorbonne universities with plans to continue their protest through tomorrow.
Travelers in Budapest should expect and avoid further protests against a disputed labor law and judicial reform. A related gathering is planned at Kossuth Square at 8:00 PM local time tomorrow. The Two-tailed Dog Party (MKKP) is organizing a separate opposition march at the same location beginning at 6:00 PM local time tomorrow. Travel disruption and heightened security are likely around the gatherings.
Today, travelers in Rome should plan journeys avoiding Piazza Venezia due to an ongoing protest by tourist bus drivers. The drivers have blocked Piazza Venezia, causing disruption on nearby roads. They are protesting restrictions on tourist bus movement in the Old Town area.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Catalonia should exercise caution and avoid all protests during a meeting of the central government’s Council of Ministers in Barcelona. Several groups, including the Comites de Defensa de la Republica (CDR) and Black Flag organizations have called for protests and the blocking of key roads across the region from 5:14 PM local time today through 10:00 PM tomorrow. All related events should be avoided due to the credible risk of unrest. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.
All flights have temporarily been canceled at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) after two drones were spotted flying over the facility yesterday. Investigations by police and airport officials are under way. Passengers transiting the airport should anticipate disruption and reconfirm schedules prior to setting out. Flights have been suspended until at least 4:00 PM local time today.
Macau: Macau S.A.R. Establishment Day
Reunion: Abolition of Slavery
Macedonia: Turkish Language Day
Sri Lanka: Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day
Nigeria: Sambisa Memorial Day
Ukraine: Special Working Day
Zimbabwe: Unity Day
Germany, Norway, Sweden: Fourth Advent Sunday
Japan: Emperor’s Birthday
Argentina: Bridge Public Holiday
Micronesia: Yap Constitution Day
Japan: Emperor’s Birthday (Observed)
North Korea: Birth Date of Kim Jong Suk
Libya: Independence Day
Philippines: Additional Special Non-Working Day
Ukraine: Catholic Christmas Holiday
United States: Washington’s Birthday
Pakistan: Quaid-e-Azam Day
Taiwan: Constitution Day
Solomon Islands: National Day of Thanksgiving
Slovenia: Independence and Unity Day
South Africa: Day of Goodwill
North Korea: Constitution Day
South Sudan: Republic Day
eSwatini: Incwala Day
Kazakhstan: Special Working Day
Mongolia: Independence Day
Ukraine: Special Working Day
Spain: Feast of the Holy Family
Philippines: Rizal Day
New Year’s Eve
Argentina: Bridge Public Holiday
Azerbaijan: World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day
Switzerland: Restoration Day
Japan: December 31 Bank Holiday
Kazakhstan: New Year (Extra Holiday)
Russia: Extra Holiday in lieu of
New Year’s Day
Cameroon: Independence Day
Cuba: Liberation Day
Czech Republic: Restoration of the
Czech Independence Day
Egypt: January 1 Bank Holiday
Pakistan: January 1 Bank Holiday
Sudan: Independence Day
Slovakia: Republic Day