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19.02.19  /  High  /  France – Yellow Vest Protests Continue


19.02.19 France Yellow Vest Protests Continue

On 16 February 2019, thousands of people took to the streets across France for the 14th consecutive weekend of “yellow vest” protests. In Paris, several thousand protesters marched from the Champs-Elysees to the Park Esplanade des Invalides, where protesters threw projectiles at police officers, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. During the march, police officers also intervened when a group of protesters reportedly harassed and made anti-Semitic remarks toward a prominent philosopher, who had criticized the yellow vest movement. President Emmanuel Macron later called the philosopher to express his support and issued a statement condemning anti-Semitism. At least 15 people were detained during the protests in Paris. Outside of the capital, there were reports of clashes in Lyon and Bordeaux where protesters vandalized local businesses, set fire to trash and threw objects at police officers, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. In Toulouse, a group of protesters attempted to block a local depot belonging to Amazon, the American retail company. In Rouen, a motorist drove his vehicle through a crowd of protesters, injuring four people. Authorities stated that approximately 41,500 people participated in the protests nationwide, while 5,000 people took part in the protests in Paris. There were no reports regarding the overall number of people injured or detained in France.

16.02.19  /  High  /  Haiti – Defer All Non-Essential Travel


16.02.19 Haiti Defer All Non-Essential Travel

On 15 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued updated Travel Advisory for Haiti, which reads in part as follows: “Due to widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations throughout Haiti, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest. For U.S. citizens in Haiti, the Department advises U.S. citizens in Haiti to strongly consider departing as soon as they safely can do so. U.S. citizens wishing to depart Haiti should make their own travel arrangements. Commercial flights remain available, and flights are operating normally from international airports in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien. Do not travel to the airport unless it is safe to do so. If you encounter a roadblock or demonstration, turn around and do not try to pass. “Due to the demonstrations, on February 14, 2019, the U.S. government ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members, and upgraded the Travel Advisory to a Level 4 – Do Not Travel. The Embassy is open for emergency assistance to U.S. citizens, and all routine American Citizen Services appointments and all visa service appointments have been cancelled until further notice. “Do not seek shelter at the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy is only able to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens at this time, such as providing U.S. passports for travel out of Haiti. There are no evacuation efforts at this time, and U.S. citizens are encouraged to make their own arrangements to safely depart Haiti. “We are closely monitoring the situation and remain in close contact with Haitian authorities to verify the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in the area. We encourage you to closely monitor this site for important crisis information.” The full text of the advisory -- which contains emergency contact information -- can be viewed here.

16.02.19  /  High  /  France – Demonstration Alert


16.02.19 France Demonstration Alert

On 15 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Demonstration Alert regarding upcoming “yellow vest” protests that reads in part as follows: “Location: France, countrywide. Including, but not limited to: Paris, Amiens, Avignon, Bordeaux, Bourges, Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Nice, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg, and Toulouse. “Gathering points and routes in Paris include, but are not limited to, the following locations and surrounding areas: Champs-Elysées, Boulevard Saint-Germain, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Madeleine, Place de la Bastille, Place de la République, Place Saint-Michel, Assemblée Nationale, Porte Maillot affecting traffic on the Périphérique (ring road around Paris), the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower, and Porte de Versailles. Similar central locations in cities throughout France could also be settings for protests and police response. “Event: Saturday demonstrations by the 'Gilets Jaunes' (yellow vests) are expected to continue. The group is protesting fuel prices and taxes, and other government policies. Previous demonstrations have become violent with smaller groups splitting from the main demonstration and causing serious damage to private and public property. Police response has included water cannons and/or tear gas. In addition to the demonstrations in major cities, organizers continue to call for traffic interruptions and blockades throughout France. At highway toll stations, protesters have set up barricades and set fire to pallets.”

16.02.19  /  Extreme  /  India – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Warns Pakistan of Possible Repercussions


16.02.19 India Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Warns Pakistan of Possible Repercussions

On 15 February 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned Pakistan of possible repercussions following a suicide car bomb attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed at least 44 members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on 14 February. The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack, and India has accused the Pakistani government of failing to crack down on the militant group. Thus far, Indian authorities have withdrawn the most favored nation (MFN) trade privileges that had been accorded to Pakistan. It remains unclear what other steps India is considering, although it has stated that it plans to take “all diplomatic steps” to “ensure the complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan." Modi has warned that military options are also available. Pakistan has rejected allegations of its involvement in the attack. Following the attack, on 14 February, protesters gathered outside Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi and burned Pakistani flags. The protesters also attempted to enter the diplomatic facility, but police officers blocked them from entering. A curfew was also imposed in Jammu city following protests related to the attack.

15.02.19  /  High  /  United States – Flood Watch


15.02.19 United States Flood Watch

As of 14 February 2019, more than 30 million residents in the U.S. state of California are under a flood watch, as a winter storm brought heavy rain to parts of the state. Areas in major cities -- including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco -- are under the threat of flooding and subsequent landslides. Officials in Southern California issued mandatory evacuation orders for more than 1,000 residences and businesses near Los Angeles late on 13 February. Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes in Riverside County’s Lake Elsinore and Temescal Valley areas due to the increased threat of mudslides; the area near Trabuco Canyon was also under voluntary evacuation orders. Officials noted that the storm could bring more than 5 in (13 cm) of rain to those areas, increasing the risk of mudslides.

15.02.19  /  High  /  Germany – Heightened Security Presence


15.02.19 Germany Heightened Security Presence

As of 14 February 2019, a heightened security presence is expected in Munich as around 40 heads of state and dozens of government ministers attend the annual Munich Security conference at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel from 15-17 February. Approximately 4,400 police officers from across Germany will be deployed to Munich to provide security during the conference. Authorities will implement road closures and an exclusion zone around the hotel beginning at 0600 local time (0500 UTC) on 15 February to 1500 local time on 17 February. Additionally, authorities will briefly close roads as convoys of high-profile diplomats travel to the conference; several tram lines will also be disrupted during the conference. Eurocontrol has warned that disruptions should be anticipated at nearby airports from 13 to 18 February due to ramp congestion. Several groups have called for protests during the conference, with the largest known protest planned on 16 February. Approximately 4,000 people are expected to gather at Karlsplatz at 1300 local time and then march around the Bayerischer Hof Hotel to Marienplatz. Those in Munich during this time frame should avoid all gatherings as a precaution.
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