06
Apr
12:38 UTC

MAX – Europe and the Americas Daily Summary – April 6, 2021

The following report reviews current events in the Europe and the Americas region and their possible effect on business continuity and security.

Highlights of the Day

Americas

  • Brazil: Fifth impeachment request to be filed against Bolsonaro on April 6; anti-government sentiments likely to persist in medium-term 
  • Chile: Senate approves bill to postpone elections from April 10-11 to May 15-16 due to health concerns on April 5; likely to spark protests
  • USA: Two Yemenis on ‘terror watchlist’ arrested at Californian border on April 5; militants likely to have capitalized on migrant influx

Europe

  • Bulgaria: Ruling GERB party wins most votes, opposition parties outperform, per April 6 reports; coalition agreement unlikely in near-term
  • Europe: Orange, red alerts issued for inclement weather in multiple locations regionwide on April 6-7; remain cognizant of updates
  • Russia: Putin signs law allowing him to run for Presidency until 2036 on April 5; highlights attempts to maintain consolidated power 

 

Americas Actionable items

Americas: Countries continue to extend restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge regionwide on April 6; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

In Argentina, as of April 6, authorities in Mendoza have implemented new restrictions due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. In Chile, authorities have announced that 18 more communes will enter quarantine from April 8. In Colombia, authorities will implement revised COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound air travelers from April 7. Under the new measures, all inbound travelers, including Colombian nationals and residents, will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test, carried out within 96 hours before departure. In Costa Rica, Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura announced on April 5 that Costa Rica would be reopening its land borders on the same date. In Honduras, authorities extended the current 22:00-05:00 curfew until at least April 11. In the USA, Miami-Dade County, FL Mayor Daniella Levina Cava announced that from April 12 there would no longer be any COVID-19 restrictions in the county, on April 5. The county had previously imposed a curfew between 00:00-06:00, with only essential businesses such as pharmacies and medical centers allowed to remain open during those hours.

Those operating or residing in the Americas on April 6 and the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of authorities’ instructions regarding quarantines and health procedures.

 

Argentina: Protest against insecurity to be held at Plaza Guemes in Buenos Aires at 20:00 (local time) on April 6; allot for disruptions

According to reports, a protest is slated to take place in Buenos Aires on April 6 to condemn the increased levels of insecurity in the Ciudad Evita neighborhood. Participants are expected to gather at Plaza Guemes at 20:00 (local time). Based on the nature of the protest issue, the demonstration is likely to attract a turnout in the low hundreds. The protest is expected to transpire largely peacefully and without instances of unrest. Regardless, a bolstered security deployment is liable to be deployed to monitor proceedings. Localized disruptions to vehicular and pedestrian traffic can be anticipated in the vicinity of Plaza Guemes during the evening hours.

Those operating or residing in Buenos Aires on April 6 are advised to allot for disruptions in the vicinity of Plaza Guemes during the evening hours due to the slated protest.

 

St Vincent & the Grenadines: Increased seismic activity recorded at La Soufriere volcano on April 5-6; remain abreast of local updates

On April 5, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) confirmed that a series of volcano-tectonic tremors had been recorded at La Soufriere volcano, located on the island St Vincent, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ largest island. A 3.5 magnitude volcano-tectonic earthquake occurred in the morning hours (local time) and was felt by individuals residing in the vicinity of the volcano. The government has issued an orange alert, the second-highest on a four-tier alert system, advising residents to avoid the area of La Soufriere and be prepared for evacuation in the event of a further escalation in volcanic activity. Although activities declined significantly in the afternoon hours on April 5, small volcano-tectonic earthquakes are still being recorded as of April 6.

Those operating or residing in St Vincent and the Grenadines on April 6 and in the coming days are advised to avoid the La Soufriere area and remain abreast of local authorities’ alerts for potential evacuation or safety information.

 

USA: 300 homes evacuated amid possible second breach at Piney Point reservoir, FL on April 5-6; remain cognizant of authorities updates

On April 5, representatives of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived at the Piney Point reservoir site in Manatee County, FL as concerns continue to grow over the wastewater leak at the site. Despite increased efforts to secure the site, authorities have detected new areas of concern that could cause another breach, as more than one billion liters of contaminated wastewater still threaten to be released and flood the surrounding areas. Furthermore, in addition to the state of emergency issued for Manatee County on April 3, authorities have extended the state of emergency for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. As of April 5, authorities have evacuated more than 300 homes and ordered the evacuation of all residents within 1.6 kilometers north of the site, as well as within 800 meters in all other directions. According to authorities, new pumps installed on April 4 will double the capacity of the existing pumps in the coming days. 

Those operating or residing in the aforementioned areas in the USA on April 6 and in the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of local authorities’ updates regarding phosphogypsum leak-related risks.

 

Americas Notable events

Brazil: Fifth impeachment request to be filed against Bolsonaro on April 6; anti-government sentiments likely to persist in medium-term 

On April 6, Movimento Nacional de Favelas e Periferias, an association advocating for favela communities, will file an impeachment request against President Jair Bolsonaro in the Chamber of Deputies. The request will be filed over the President’s alleged mismanagement of the health crisis. The request will be the fifth following Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) Federal Deputy Alexandre Frota’s March 5 request, filed over Bolsonaro’s alleged attack on democratic institutions by threatening governors who decreed lockdowns. The remaining impeachment requests have been made by members of opposition parties, student groups, and indigenous communities. 

The fifth impeachment request reflects an increasing trend of widespread public dissatisfaction with Bolsonaro’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and alleged authoritarian measures, as evidenced by disapproval ratings of 54 percent in March. While calls for Bolsonaro’s impeachment are likely to increase in the coming weeks, Bolsonaro is unlikely to be impeached, considering the appointment of his supporters in the recent cabinet reshuffle. With heightened anti-Bolsonaro sentiments, protests against him can be expected in urban centers, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, in the near-to-medium-term. 

 

Canada: Multiple shootings reported near First Nation regions in Alberta on April 3-5; threat to First-Nation residents to persist 

Reports indicate that an officer-involved shooting in the O’Chiese First-Nation territory in south-central Alberta led to the death of an individual on April 3, however, no arrests have been made at this time. On April 5, two suspects were arrested after four were injured in separate shootings across central Alberta. The police had issued an ‘active threat’ alert to residents of the First-Nations territory, before capturing the suspects. 

The developments highlight an increased threat posed to the inhabitants of Alberta’s First Nation territories. This assessment is supported by reports suggesting that recent threats against First-Nation communities and activists have come in the form of death threats, physical attacks, racial profiling, and other forms of hostility. With this, public tensions in Alberta are likely to continue given the Coastal GasLink pipeline project is under construction, as First Nations oppose its construction while certain right-wing wing groups have supported it. As such, threats to individuals residing in the First-Nation regions of Alberta are likely to persist, with violent protests or other assaults on individuals liable in the near term.

 

Chile: Senate approves bill to postpone elections from April 10-11 to May 15-16 due to health concerns on April 5; likely to spark protests

On April 5, the Senate approved a bill to postpone the elections of mayors, governors, and an assembly to write the new constitution due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. However, the Senate’s decision must still be approved by Congress. The bill establishes that the vote, originally scheduled for April 10-11, will take place on May 15-16, while campaigning will be suspended until April 28. Chile’s ICUs are currently at 95 percent occupancy. 

Despite the opposition’s disagreement on certain issues during the negotiation of the bill, including whether candidates running for mayors could return to their positions during the impasse, that the proposal was approved by the Senate by 40 votes in favor, 0 against, and 2 abstentions, highlights the widespread consensus over the measure. With that, the bill is likely to receive final approval in Congress in the coming days. Regardless, given the prevailing heightened levels of social unrest, the decision to postpone the vote is likely to spark backlash among a more radical sector of the public, with violent protests expected in Plaza Italia in Santiago.

 

Honduras: Civil society groups demand President Hernandez resign on April 5; indicates growing domestic pressure against government

More than 35 Honduran civil society organizations issued a demand for the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez on April 5, accusing him and other national government officials of turning Honduras into a “narco-state”. The demand also called for the resignation of the Attorney General, the President of Congress, and the chair of the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as the establishment of a transitional government to oversee the November 2021 presidential elections. This follows the sentencing of Hernandez’s brother and former congressman, Juan Antonio Hernandez, in a US District Court on March 30.

The April 5 demand by dozens of civil society organizations indicates growing domestic pressure against the government, which is unlikely to abate in the near-to-medium term. In light of this, coupled with international criticism of Hernandez, the President is likely to push to repeal a 2012 extradition law, which would effectively shield him from extradition to the USA, before the upcoming presidential elections in November. With that being said, a protest movement is liable to develop moving forward, as disapproval for Hernandez increases. 

 

USA: Two Yemenis on ‘terror watchlist’ arrested at Californian border on April 5; militants likely to have capitalized on migrant influx

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on April 5 that border agents arrested two Yemeni nationals on a terror watchlist in separate incidents in recent months as they attempted to illegally cross the US border with Mexico. The recent arrests come amid a reported surge in migrant influx at the southwestern border. On March 16, the Homeland Security secretary stated that the country is facing the biggest surge of migrants at the southwestern border in 20 years, with 100,441 apprehensions or expulsions conducted at the border with Mexico in February alone.

The incidents at the southern border are indicative of militant groups now attempting to capitalize on the ongoing migrant influx to illegally enter the US territory, especially as COVID-19 flight restrictions have severely hampered international movement. Given that Republican lawmakers have been critical of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies and his handling of the alleged rise in illegal border crossings, the recent militant arrests are likely to put further pressure on the Biden administration to amend his border security policy.

 

Europe Actionable items

Belgium: Customs officers to hold strike at ports of entry nationwide from April 7; allot for disruptions

Customs officers affiliated with the Algemene Centrale de Openbare Diensten (ACOD), the General Union of Public Services, announced they will hold a nationwide strike at all ports of entry, including at airports across Belgium, from April 7 as part of a dispute over working conditions. The exact duration of the strike remains unknown as of writing. Members of ACOD have warned they could hold weekly 24-hour strikes if the dispute is not resolved in the coming days or weeks.

Given heightened sentiments over the dispute, the strikes are likely to be widely adhered to. While flights are unlikely to be canceled, potential delays and disruptions at international entry points are possible nationwide due to the planned labor action. Delays to maritime freight are also possible. In Brussels International Airport (BRU), extended waiting periods for security and passport screening points can be anticipated throughout the duration of the strike. While associated protests have not been announced, small demonstrations outside the airport and other ports of entry cannot be ruled out. Potential demonstrations are likely to transpire without major incidents of unrest.

Those operating or residing in Belgium on April 7 and the coming days are advised to reconfirm their itineraries and allot for disruptions to ground services at ports of entry nationwide due to the slated strike.

 

Europe: England announces plan to reopen economy, COVID-19 vaccination campaigns continue regionwide on April 6; remain cognizant of updates

In the Czech Republic, the government added Belgium and the Netherlands to its COVID-19 dark red high-risk list, as of April 5. In Denmark, experts reported the discovery of a new strain of mutated COVID-19 virus bearing similarities to the South African and Brazilian variants. The European Union’s vaccine chief Thierry Breton stated that the EU could achieve COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-July as incoming vaccines are expected to speed up the slow vaccine rollout, as per April 5 reports. In Germany, authorities in Berlin have announced free COVID-19 tests at any of the 200 test centers in the city. In Portugal, authorities have begun easing lockdown restrictions as part of the government’s second phase of the gradual decontamination plan. In the UK, authorities in England announced on April 5 that a planned reopening of the economy will take place in the coming week, with the opening of all shops, gyms, hairdressers, and outdoor hospitality areas expected. Residents in England will also be given access to two rapid COVID-19 tests a week from April 10 onwards.

Those operating or residing in Europe on April 6 and the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of authorities’ instructions regarding quarantines, travel restrictions, and health procedures. 

 

Europe: Orange, red alerts issued for inclement weather in multiple locations regionwide on April 6-7; remain cognizant of updates

Meteoalarm, Europe’s weather agency, has issued multiple warnings across the region on April 6. The agency follows a four-tier system with green, yellow, orange, and red representing the lowest to highest levels of risk respectively. In Croatia, red alerts are in effect for Kvarner and Kvarneric, Velebit Channel, and the West Istrian Coast regions for gale-force winds and wind gusts. Split, Gospic, Karlovac, and Reijeka remain under orange alerts for snowfall and wind gusts. In Italy, orange alerts remain in place for 13 of 20 regions, including most central regions of the country. The alert has been issued for potential inclement weather and will remain in place until April 7. In Slovenia, an orange alert is in effect for the southwestern region of Jugozahod due to a snowstorm and related disruption.

Those operating or residing in the aforementioned areas in Europe on April 6 and the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of local authorities’ updates for weather-related risks and allot for possible disruption to services due to inclement conditions.

 

France: Public sector to stage 24-hour nationwide strike, associated protest to be held in Paris on April 6; maintain vigilance

The Solidaires Union Syndicale, a group of multiple trade unions, has reportedly called on public sector employees to stage a nationwide strike on April 6. An associated protest will be held at Place du President Edouard Herriot in Paris at 12:00 (local time). Considering the mobilization capabilities of the unions involved, the strike is likely to be widely adhered to, resulting in disruptions to public services nationwide on April 6. Based on precedent, the protest in Paris is expected to witness a turnout in the mid-to-high hundreds. Given current lockdown measures, a bolstered security presence is expected to be deployed in the vicinity of the protest to monitor proceedings. While the protest is expected to transpire largely peacefully, the demonstration holds a latent potential for unrest in the event of infiltration of radical elements. In the case of widespread unrest, police are liable to use forcible dispersal methods, including tear gas and water cannons. Significant disruptions to pedestrian and vehicular traffic can be anticipated in the vicinity of the Place du President Edouard Herriot during the afternoon hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in France on April 6 are advised to allot for disruptions to public services due to the strike. Those operating or residing in Paris on April 6 are advised to maintain vigilance and allot to disruptions to traffic in the vicinity of the slated protest.

 

Germany: Protest against deportations to be held at BER Airport Terminal 5 in Berlin at 18:00 (local time) on April 7; allot for disruptions

Reports indicate that Fluchtlingsrat Berlin, an organization campaigning for the rights of refugees in Berlin has called for a protest against deportations to Afghanistan on April 7. The protest will be held at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER) Terminal 5 on April 7 at 18:00 (local time). 

Based on precedent, the planned protest is likely to attract a turnout ranging in the high dozens to low hundreds. While the protests are likely to transpire peacefully, minor disruptions to travel can be anticipated during the evening hours at the BER Airport on April 7. As such, a bolstered security presence may be deployed to monitor the proceeding and as a precautionary measure.

Those operating or residing in Berlin on April 7 are advised to allot for disruptions to travel due to the planned protest during the evening hours.

 

Greece: Healthcare workers to hold nationwide strike, associated protest to be held in Athens on April 7; maintain vigilance

On April 7, healthcare workers will carry out a 24-hour nationwide strike for World Health Day. The strike is also protesting the government’s alleged mistreatment of medical professionals. Additionally, the Federation of Hospital Doctors Association of Greece (OENIE) has called for a protest in front of the Ministry of Health in Athens at 16:00 (local time) on April 7.

Given that the strike is likely to be largely adhered to, disruptions to medical services can be expected nationwide. Emergency services are unlikely to be affected. The protest in Athens is likely to witness a turnout in the mid-to-high hundreds. Given current COVID-19 restrictions, a bolstered security presence can be expected in the vicinity of the protest to monitor proceedings. Based on precedent, the protest on April 7 carries a latent potential for unrest in the form of localized clashes between protesters and security forces. In the event of unrest, security forces are likely to use forceful dispersal methods, including tear gas. Disruptions to traffic can be expected in the vicinity of the protest from the afternoon hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in Greece on April 7 and the coming days are advised to allot for disruptions  due to the slated labor action. Those operating or residing in Athens on April 7 are advised to maintain vigilance and allot for disruptions in the vicinity of the slated protest.

 

UK: IWGB calls on riders of prominent food delivery company to strike nationwide on April 7; allot for disruptions to delivery

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has called on riders of a prominent food delivery company to stage a nationwide strike on April 7, following the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange on March 31. The strike action is being encouraged to highlight dissatisfaction with the company’s business model and approach to workers’ rights. Unconfirmed reports suggest an associated rider demonstration beginning at Shoreditch High Street Station will be held in London at 11:00 (local time) on the day.

Based on organizers’ estimates, the strike will witness participation ranging in the low-to-mid hundreds. Delays or inability to order food delivery through the company’s application should be expected throughout the day on April 7. Although the associated protest is unconfirmed, in the event of a demonstration, the protest will transpire peacefully.

Those operating or residing in the UK on April 7 are advised to allot for disruptions to food delivery services throughout the day due to the strike action.

 

Europe Notable Events

Bulgaria: Ruling GERB party wins most votes, opposition parties outperform, per April 6 reports; political instability likely in near-term

Preliminary results, with 98.9 percent of the votes counted, indicate that the GERB-SDS electoral alliance won the most votes with 26.1 percent in the April 4 parliamentary elections. GERB-SDS was followed by the anti-government Ima takuv narod (There Is Such A People) party with 17.7 percent and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 15.0 percent. The remaining parties to cross the 4 percent electoral threshold are the pro-minority rights Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with 10.3 percent, Democratic Bulgaria (DB) with 9.5 percent, and Stand Up! Mafia Out! with 4.7 percent. 

Given the heightened public discontent with the GERB-SDS-led government before the general elections, the decline in votes in favor of the party was largely anticipated. Despite winning, the GERB-SDS party is liable to face difficulties in forming a coalition government, with political instability likely to ensue in the near-term. Further, the anti-government, opposition parties There Is Such A People party, DB, and Stand Up! Mafia Out! will likely push for a ruling coalition with the support of the BSP moving forward.

 

Denmark: Jewish cemetery vandalized in Aalborg over Passover, per April 5 reports; reiterates heightened threat of anti-Semitism

According to April 5 reports, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in Aalborg on April 2 over the Passover holiday. Baby dolls with red paint on them, along with flyers calling Passover a “celebration of death”, were found on the grounds. The flyers bore a reference to a website associated with the Pan-Nordic neo-nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM). The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, and security around Jewish interests has been elevated. On March 28, a similar incident was carried out outside a synagogue in Norrkoping, Sweden. 

Considering that the Jewish cemetery was specifically targeted and that the NRM has perpetrated similar acts in Denmark in recent years, this development reiterates increased anti-Semitic views, likely stemming from increased far-right activity in recent years. That the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti (DF) was the third largest party at the 2019 elections and that the far-right Nye Borgerlige (NB) party was elected into parliament for the first time further supports this. Moreover, the incident highlights a regionwide trend in anti-Semitism, as evidenced by the incident in Sweden on March 28.

 

France: Business tycoon assaulted in robbery at home in Combs-la-Ville on April 4; likely premeditated attack

Business tycoon Bernard Tapie and his wife were attacked during a robbery in their home in Combs-la-Ville, outside of Paris on April 4. Four assailants reportedly entered the residence at 00:30 (local time), when the couple was asleep, despite the residence having private security. The perpetrators stole jewelry and physically assaulted the pair. Tapie’s wife sustained injuries and was hospitalized. Tapie has been the subject of multiple scandals, including corruption, tax fraud, and misuse of corporate assets. Tapie was also involved in legal suits with a high-profile athletics company, as well as a French bank. 

The attack is notable, given the subject of the robbery as well as the location, as the incident took place in an affluent Paris suburb. Given Tapie’s high profile, the attack is likely to have been an isolated incident, with assailants targeting Tapie due to his perceived wealth. That the perpetrators were able to break into Tapie’s home despite private security further suggests the attack was premeditated. Regardless, the incident reiterates the threat posed to individuals perceived as wealthy, particularly in affluent neighborhoods. 

 

Russia: Putin signs law allowing him to run for Presidency until 2036 on April 5; highlights attempts to maintain consolidated power 

On April 5, President Vladimir Putin signed legislation that formally granted him the power to run for the presidency for two more terms, potentially holding onto power until 2036. The bill was approved by the State Duma on March 24 and was part of the constitutional reforms that 78.56 percent of citizens voted in favor of during the July 1, 2020 referendum. The legislation limits Russian citizens to two presidential terms, however, specifically does not count terms served until the law entered into force.

Despite wide speculations regarding Putin’s decision on whether to run for president beyond the end of his current term in 2024, the latest development is indicative of his intention to maintain consolidated power after 2024, potentially as the President, given that no imminent challenges have emerged to his leadership. Despite the increased criticism against the legislation over Putin’s abuse of powers, the bill is unlikely to negatively affect his popularity ratings. Putin is now likely to focus on consolidating electoral support for the Kremlin-backed United Russia party ahead of the upcoming general elections moving forward.

 

UK: New IRA announced intention to continue armed campaign, per April 5 reports; PSNI likely to increase operations targeting group

According to April 5 reports, the New Irish Republican Army (New IRA) declared it will continue its armed campaign to unite Ireland, despite challenges related to Brexit and the alleged rise in Ulster loyalism. The declaration comes amid investigations into the New IRA’s involvement in the 2019 murder of a journalist during a riot in Londonderry (Derry), as well as the MI5 and Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) joint Operation Arbacia, which has targeted the group since August 2020. This development comes amid three days of riots in Belfast carried out by loyalists between April 2-4. 

The declaration is likely to have been made in response to the violence perpetrated by loyalists during the protests in Belfast from April 2-4. Further, the PSNI is likely to strengthen operations targeting the New IRA, particularly in the dissident group’s strongholds in County Tyrone, Londonderry, and Strabane in the near-to-medium-term. Given the rise in targeted operations against the New IRA, coupled with New IRA’s declaration, the PSNI are likely to remain the prime targets of the group’s violence in the medium term. 

 

Notable Dates

April 7

  • UK: Nationwide protests

 

April 8

  • France: Health workers strike in Paris

 

April 9

  • Kosovo: Kosovo Constitution Day

 

April 10

  • France: Protest in Paris
  • Germany: Rally in Berlin
  • UK: Protest in Bristol

 

April 11

  • Chile: Public Holiday
  • Costa Rica: Juan Santamaria Day
  • Peru, Ecuador: General Elections

 

April 11

  • Germany: Protest in Berlin

 

April 13

  • France: Inter-union strike in Paris

 

April 14

  • Cayman Islands: Public Holiday – General Elections

 

April 19

  • Honduras: Americas’ Day Holiday
  • Venezuela: Independence Declaration Day

 

The following report reviews current events in the Europe and the Americas region and their possible effect on business continuity and security.

Highlights of the Day

Americas

  • Brazil: Fifth impeachment request to be filed against Bolsonaro on April 6; anti-government sentiments likely to persist in medium-term 
  • Chile: Senate approves bill to postpone elections from April 10-11 to May 15-16 due to health concerns on April 5; likely to spark protests
  • USA: Two Yemenis on ‘terror watchlist’ arrested at Californian border on April 5; militants likely to have capitalized on migrant influx

Europe

  • Bulgaria: Ruling GERB party wins most votes, opposition parties outperform, per April 6 reports; coalition agreement unlikely in near-term
  • Europe: Orange, red alerts issued for inclement weather in multiple locations regionwide on April 6-7; remain cognizant of updates
  • Russia: Putin signs law allowing him to run for Presidency until 2036 on April 5; highlights attempts to maintain consolidated power 

 

Americas Actionable items

Americas: Countries continue to extend restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge regionwide on April 6; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

In Argentina, as of April 6, authorities in Mendoza have implemented new restrictions due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. In Chile, authorities have announced that 18 more communes will enter quarantine from April 8. In Colombia, authorities will implement revised COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound air travelers from April 7. Under the new measures, all inbound travelers, including Colombian nationals and residents, will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test, carried out within 96 hours before departure. In Costa Rica, Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura announced on April 5 that Costa Rica would be reopening its land borders on the same date. In Honduras, authorities extended the current 22:00-05:00 curfew until at least April 11. In the USA, Miami-Dade County, FL Mayor Daniella Levina Cava announced that from April 12 there would no longer be any COVID-19 restrictions in the county, on April 5. The county had previously imposed a curfew between 00:00-06:00, with only essential businesses such as pharmacies and medical centers allowed to remain open during those hours.

Those operating or residing in the Americas on April 6 and the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of authorities’ instructions regarding quarantines and health procedures.

 

Argentina: Protest against insecurity to be held at Plaza Guemes in Buenos Aires at 20:00 (local time) on April 6; allot for disruptions

According to reports, a protest is slated to take place in Buenos Aires on April 6 to condemn the increased levels of insecurity in the Ciudad Evita neighborhood. Participants are expected to gather at Plaza Guemes at 20:00 (local time). Based on the nature of the protest issue, the demonstration is likely to attract a turnout in the low hundreds. The protest is expected to transpire largely peacefully and without instances of unrest. Regardless, a bolstered security deployment is liable to be deployed to monitor proceedings. Localized disruptions to vehicular and pedestrian traffic can be anticipated in the vicinity of Plaza Guemes during the evening hours.

Those operating or residing in Buenos Aires on April 6 are advised to allot for disruptions in the vicinity of Plaza Guemes during the evening hours due to the slated protest.

 

St Vincent & the Grenadines: Increased seismic activity recorded at La Soufriere volcano on April 5-6; remain abreast of local updates

On April 5, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) confirmed that a series of volcano-tectonic tremors had been recorded at La Soufriere volcano, located on the island St Vincent, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ largest island. A 3.5 magnitude volcano-tectonic earthquake occurred in the morning hours (local time) and was felt by individuals residing in the vicinity of the volcano. The government has issued an orange alert, the second-highest on a four-tier alert system, advising residents to avoid the area of La Soufriere and be prepared for evacuation in the event of a further escalation in volcanic activity. Although activities declined significantly in the afternoon hours on April 5, small volcano-tectonic earthquakes are still being recorded as of April 6.

Those operating or residing in St Vincent and the Grenadines on April 6 and in the coming days are advised to avoid the La Soufriere area and remain abreast of local authorities’ alerts for potential evacuation or safety information.

 

USA: 300 homes evacuated amid possible second breach at Piney Point reservoir, FL on April 5-6; remain cognizant of authorities updates

On April 5, representatives of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived at the Piney Point reservoir site in Manatee County, FL as concerns continue to grow over the wastewater leak at the site. Despite increased efforts to secure the site, authorities have detected new areas of concern that could cause another breach, as more than one billion liters of contaminated wastewater still threaten to be released and flood the surrounding areas. Furthermore, in addition to the state of emergency issued for Manatee County on April 3, authorities have extended the state of emergency for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. As of April 5, authorities have evacuated more than 300 homes and ordered the evacuation of all residents within 1.6 kilometers north of the site, as well as within 800 meters in all other directions. According to authorities, new pumps installed on April 4 will double the capacity of the existing pumps in the coming days. 

Those operating or residing in the aforementioned areas in the USA on April 6 and in the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of local authorities’ updates regarding phosphogypsum leak-related risks.

 

Americas Notable events

Brazil: Fifth impeachment request to be filed against Bolsonaro on April 6; anti-government sentiments likely to persist in medium-term 

On April 6, Movimento Nacional de Favelas e Periferias, an association advocating for favela communities, will file an impeachment request against President Jair Bolsonaro in the Chamber of Deputies. The request will be filed over the President’s alleged mismanagement of the health crisis. The request will be the fifth following Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) Federal Deputy Alexandre Frota’s March 5 request, filed over Bolsonaro’s alleged attack on democratic institutions by threatening governors who decreed lockdowns. The remaining impeachment requests have been made by members of opposition parties, student groups, and indigenous communities. 

The fifth impeachment request reflects an increasing trend of widespread public dissatisfaction with Bolsonaro’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and alleged authoritarian measures, as evidenced by disapproval ratings of 54 percent in March. While calls for Bolsonaro’s impeachment are likely to increase in the coming weeks, Bolsonaro is unlikely to be impeached, considering the appointment of his supporters in the recent cabinet reshuffle. With heightened anti-Bolsonaro sentiments, protests against him can be expected in urban centers, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, in the near-to-medium-term. 

 

Canada: Multiple shootings reported near First Nation regions in Alberta on April 3-5; threat to First-Nation residents to persist 

Reports indicate that an officer-involved shooting in the O’Chiese First-Nation territory in south-central Alberta led to the death of an individual on April 3, however, no arrests have been made at this time. On April 5, two suspects were arrested after four were injured in separate shootings across central Alberta. The police had issued an ‘active threat’ alert to residents of the First-Nations territory, before capturing the suspects. 

The developments highlight an increased threat posed to the inhabitants of Alberta’s First Nation territories. This assessment is supported by reports suggesting that recent threats against First-Nation communities and activists have come in the form of death threats, physical attacks, racial profiling, and other forms of hostility. With this, public tensions in Alberta are likely to continue given the Coastal GasLink pipeline project is under construction, as First Nations oppose its construction while certain right-wing wing groups have supported it. As such, threats to individuals residing in the First-Nation regions of Alberta are likely to persist, with violent protests or other assaults on individuals liable in the near term.

 

Chile: Senate approves bill to postpone elections from April 10-11 to May 15-16 due to health concerns on April 5; likely to spark protests

On April 5, the Senate approved a bill to postpone the elections of mayors, governors, and an assembly to write the new constitution due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. However, the Senate’s decision must still be approved by Congress. The bill establishes that the vote, originally scheduled for April 10-11, will take place on May 15-16, while campaigning will be suspended until April 28. Chile’s ICUs are currently at 95 percent occupancy. 

Despite the opposition’s disagreement on certain issues during the negotiation of the bill, including whether candidates running for mayors could return to their positions during the impasse, that the proposal was approved by the Senate by 40 votes in favor, 0 against, and 2 abstentions, highlights the widespread consensus over the measure. With that, the bill is likely to receive final approval in Congress in the coming days. Regardless, given the prevailing heightened levels of social unrest, the decision to postpone the vote is likely to spark backlash among a more radical sector of the public, with violent protests expected in Plaza Italia in Santiago.

 

Honduras: Civil society groups demand President Hernandez resign on April 5; indicates growing domestic pressure against government

More than 35 Honduran civil society organizations issued a demand for the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez on April 5, accusing him and other national government officials of turning Honduras into a “narco-state”. The demand also called for the resignation of the Attorney General, the President of Congress, and the chair of the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as the establishment of a transitional government to oversee the November 2021 presidential elections. This follows the sentencing of Hernandez’s brother and former congressman, Juan Antonio Hernandez, in a US District Court on March 30.

The April 5 demand by dozens of civil society organizations indicates growing domestic pressure against the government, which is unlikely to abate in the near-to-medium term. In light of this, coupled with international criticism of Hernandez, the President is likely to push to repeal a 2012 extradition law, which would effectively shield him from extradition to the USA, before the upcoming presidential elections in November. With that being said, a protest movement is liable to develop moving forward, as disapproval for Hernandez increases. 

 

USA: Two Yemenis on ‘terror watchlist’ arrested at Californian border on April 5; militants likely to have capitalized on migrant influx

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on April 5 that border agents arrested two Yemeni nationals on a terror watchlist in separate incidents in recent months as they attempted to illegally cross the US border with Mexico. The recent arrests come amid a reported surge in migrant influx at the southwestern border. On March 16, the Homeland Security secretary stated that the country is facing the biggest surge of migrants at the southwestern border in 20 years, with 100,441 apprehensions or expulsions conducted at the border with Mexico in February alone.

The incidents at the southern border are indicative of militant groups now attempting to capitalize on the ongoing migrant influx to illegally enter the US territory, especially as COVID-19 flight restrictions have severely hampered international movement. Given that Republican lawmakers have been critical of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies and his handling of the alleged rise in illegal border crossings, the recent militant arrests are likely to put further pressure on the Biden administration to amend his border security policy.

 

Europe Actionable items

Belgium: Customs officers to hold strike at ports of entry nationwide from April 7; allot for disruptions

Customs officers affiliated with the Algemene Centrale de Openbare Diensten (ACOD), the General Union of Public Services, announced they will hold a nationwide strike at all ports of entry, including at airports across Belgium, from April 7 as part of a dispute over working conditions. The exact duration of the strike remains unknown as of writing. Members of ACOD have warned they could hold weekly 24-hour strikes if the dispute is not resolved in the coming days or weeks.

Given heightened sentiments over the dispute, the strikes are likely to be widely adhered to. While flights are unlikely to be canceled, potential delays and disruptions at international entry points are possible nationwide due to the planned labor action. Delays to maritime freight are also possible. In Brussels International Airport (BRU), extended waiting periods for security and passport screening points can be anticipated throughout the duration of the strike. While associated protests have not been announced, small demonstrations outside the airport and other ports of entry cannot be ruled out. Potential demonstrations are likely to transpire without major incidents of unrest.

Those operating or residing in Belgium on April 7 and the coming days are advised to reconfirm their itineraries and allot for disruptions to ground services at ports of entry nationwide due to the slated strike.

 

Europe: England announces plan to reopen economy, COVID-19 vaccination campaigns continue regionwide on April 6; remain cognizant of updates

In the Czech Republic, the government added Belgium and the Netherlands to its COVID-19 dark red high-risk list, as of April 5. In Denmark, experts reported the discovery of a new strain of mutated COVID-19 virus bearing similarities to the South African and Brazilian variants. The European Union’s vaccine chief Thierry Breton stated that the EU could achieve COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-July as incoming vaccines are expected to speed up the slow vaccine rollout, as per April 5 reports. In Germany, authorities in Berlin have announced free COVID-19 tests at any of the 200 test centers in the city. In Portugal, authorities have begun easing lockdown restrictions as part of the government’s second phase of the gradual decontamination plan. In the UK, authorities in England announced on April 5 that a planned reopening of the economy will take place in the coming week, with the opening of all shops, gyms, hairdressers, and outdoor hospitality areas expected. Residents in England will also be given access to two rapid COVID-19 tests a week from April 10 onwards.

Those operating or residing in Europe on April 6 and the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of authorities’ instructions regarding quarantines, travel restrictions, and health procedures. 

 

Europe: Orange, red alerts issued for inclement weather in multiple locations regionwide on April 6-7; remain cognizant of updates

Meteoalarm, Europe’s weather agency, has issued multiple warnings across the region on April 6. The agency follows a four-tier system with green, yellow, orange, and red representing the lowest to highest levels of risk respectively. In Croatia, red alerts are in effect for Kvarner and Kvarneric, Velebit Channel, and the West Istrian Coast regions for gale-force winds and wind gusts. Split, Gospic, Karlovac, and Reijeka remain under orange alerts for snowfall and wind gusts. In Italy, orange alerts remain in place for 13 of 20 regions, including most central regions of the country. The alert has been issued for potential inclement weather and will remain in place until April 7. In Slovenia, an orange alert is in effect for the southwestern region of Jugozahod due to a snowstorm and related disruption.

Those operating or residing in the aforementioned areas in Europe on April 6 and the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of local authorities’ updates for weather-related risks and allot for possible disruption to services due to inclement conditions.

 

France: Public sector to stage 24-hour nationwide strike, associated protest to be held in Paris on April 6; maintain vigilance

The Solidaires Union Syndicale, a group of multiple trade unions, has reportedly called on public sector employees to stage a nationwide strike on April 6. An associated protest will be held at Place du President Edouard Herriot in Paris at 12:00 (local time). Considering the mobilization capabilities of the unions involved, the strike is likely to be widely adhered to, resulting in disruptions to public services nationwide on April 6. Based on precedent, the protest in Paris is expected to witness a turnout in the mid-to-high hundreds. Given current lockdown measures, a bolstered security presence is expected to be deployed in the vicinity of the protest to monitor proceedings. While the protest is expected to transpire largely peacefully, the demonstration holds a latent potential for unrest in the event of infiltration of radical elements. In the case of widespread unrest, police are liable to use forcible dispersal methods, including tear gas and water cannons. Significant disruptions to pedestrian and vehicular traffic can be anticipated in the vicinity of the Place du President Edouard Herriot during the afternoon hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in France on April 6 are advised to allot for disruptions to public services due to the strike. Those operating or residing in Paris on April 6 are advised to maintain vigilance and allot to disruptions to traffic in the vicinity of the slated protest.

 

Germany: Protest against deportations to be held at BER Airport Terminal 5 in Berlin at 18:00 (local time) on April 7; allot for disruptions

Reports indicate that Fluchtlingsrat Berlin, an organization campaigning for the rights of refugees in Berlin has called for a protest against deportations to Afghanistan on April 7. The protest will be held at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER) Terminal 5 on April 7 at 18:00 (local time). 

Based on precedent, the planned protest is likely to attract a turnout ranging in the high dozens to low hundreds. While the protests are likely to transpire peacefully, minor disruptions to travel can be anticipated during the evening hours at the BER Airport on April 7. As such, a bolstered security presence may be deployed to monitor the proceeding and as a precautionary measure.

Those operating or residing in Berlin on April 7 are advised to allot for disruptions to travel due to the planned protest during the evening hours.

 

Greece: Healthcare workers to hold nationwide strike, associated protest to be held in Athens on April 7; maintain vigilance

On April 7, healthcare workers will carry out a 24-hour nationwide strike for World Health Day. The strike is also protesting the government’s alleged mistreatment of medical professionals. Additionally, the Federation of Hospital Doctors Association of Greece (OENIE) has called for a protest in front of the Ministry of Health in Athens at 16:00 (local time) on April 7.

Given that the strike is likely to be largely adhered to, disruptions to medical services can be expected nationwide. Emergency services are unlikely to be affected. The protest in Athens is likely to witness a turnout in the mid-to-high hundreds. Given current COVID-19 restrictions, a bolstered security presence can be expected in the vicinity of the protest to monitor proceedings. Based on precedent, the protest on April 7 carries a latent potential for unrest in the form of localized clashes between protesters and security forces. In the event of unrest, security forces are likely to use forceful dispersal methods, including tear gas. Disruptions to traffic can be expected in the vicinity of the protest from the afternoon hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in Greece on April 7 and the coming days are advised to allot for disruptions  due to the slated labor action. Those operating or residing in Athens on April 7 are advised to maintain vigilance and allot for disruptions in the vicinity of the slated protest.

 

UK: IWGB calls on riders of prominent food delivery company to strike nationwide on April 7; allot for disruptions to delivery

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has called on riders of a prominent food delivery company to stage a nationwide strike on April 7, following the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange on March 31. The strike action is being encouraged to highlight dissatisfaction with the company’s business model and approach to workers’ rights. Unconfirmed reports suggest an associated rider demonstration beginning at Shoreditch High Street Station will be held in London at 11:00 (local time) on the day.

Based on organizers’ estimates, the strike will witness participation ranging in the low-to-mid hundreds. Delays or inability to order food delivery through the company’s application should be expected throughout the day on April 7. Although the associated protest is unconfirmed, in the event of a demonstration, the protest will transpire peacefully.

Those operating or residing in the UK on April 7 are advised to allot for disruptions to food delivery services throughout the day due to the strike action.

 

Europe Notable Events

Bulgaria: Ruling GERB party wins most votes, opposition parties outperform, per April 6 reports; political instability likely in near-term

Preliminary results, with 98.9 percent of the votes counted, indicate that the GERB-SDS electoral alliance won the most votes with 26.1 percent in the April 4 parliamentary elections. GERB-SDS was followed by the anti-government Ima takuv narod (There Is Such A People) party with 17.7 percent and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 15.0 percent. The remaining parties to cross the 4 percent electoral threshold are the pro-minority rights Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with 10.3 percent, Democratic Bulgaria (DB) with 9.5 percent, and Stand Up! Mafia Out! with 4.7 percent. 

Given the heightened public discontent with the GERB-SDS-led government before the general elections, the decline in votes in favor of the party was largely anticipated. Despite winning, the GERB-SDS party is liable to face difficulties in forming a coalition government, with political instability likely to ensue in the near-term. Further, the anti-government, opposition parties There Is Such A People party, DB, and Stand Up! Mafia Out! will likely push for a ruling coalition with the support of the BSP moving forward.

 

Denmark: Jewish cemetery vandalized in Aalborg over Passover, per April 5 reports; reiterates heightened threat of anti-Semitism

According to April 5 reports, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in Aalborg on April 2 over the Passover holiday. Baby dolls with red paint on them, along with flyers calling Passover a “celebration of death”, were found on the grounds. The flyers bore a reference to a website associated with the Pan-Nordic neo-nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM). The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, and security around Jewish interests has been elevated. On March 28, a similar incident was carried out outside a synagogue in Norrkoping, Sweden. 

Considering that the Jewish cemetery was specifically targeted and that the NRM has perpetrated similar acts in Denmark in recent years, this development reiterates increased anti-Semitic views, likely stemming from increased far-right activity in recent years. That the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti (DF) was the third largest party at the 2019 elections and that the far-right Nye Borgerlige (NB) party was elected into parliament for the first time further supports this. Moreover, the incident highlights a regionwide trend in anti-Semitism, as evidenced by the incident in Sweden on March 28.

 

France: Business tycoon assaulted in robbery at home in Combs-la-Ville on April 4; likely premeditated attack

Business tycoon Bernard Tapie and his wife were attacked during a robbery in their home in Combs-la-Ville, outside of Paris on April 4. Four assailants reportedly entered the residence at 00:30 (local time), when the couple was asleep, despite the residence having private security. The perpetrators stole jewelry and physically assaulted the pair. Tapie’s wife sustained injuries and was hospitalized. Tapie has been the subject of multiple scandals, including corruption, tax fraud, and misuse of corporate assets. Tapie was also involved in legal suits with a high-profile athletics company, as well as a French bank. 

The attack is notable, given the subject of the robbery as well as the location, as the incident took place in an affluent Paris suburb. Given Tapie’s high profile, the attack is likely to have been an isolated incident, with assailants targeting Tapie due to his perceived wealth. That the perpetrators were able to break into Tapie’s home despite private security further suggests the attack was premeditated. Regardless, the incident reiterates the threat posed to individuals perceived as wealthy, particularly in affluent neighborhoods. 

 

Russia: Putin signs law allowing him to run for Presidency until 2036 on April 5; highlights attempts to maintain consolidated power 

On April 5, President Vladimir Putin signed legislation that formally granted him the power to run for the presidency for two more terms, potentially holding onto power until 2036. The bill was approved by the State Duma on March 24 and was part of the constitutional reforms that 78.56 percent of citizens voted in favor of during the July 1, 2020 referendum. The legislation limits Russian citizens to two presidential terms, however, specifically does not count terms served until the law entered into force.

Despite wide speculations regarding Putin’s decision on whether to run for president beyond the end of his current term in 2024, the latest development is indicative of his intention to maintain consolidated power after 2024, potentially as the President, given that no imminent challenges have emerged to his leadership. Despite the increased criticism against the legislation over Putin’s abuse of powers, the bill is unlikely to negatively affect his popularity ratings. Putin is now likely to focus on consolidating electoral support for the Kremlin-backed United Russia party ahead of the upcoming general elections moving forward.

 

UK: New IRA announced intention to continue armed campaign, per April 5 reports; PSNI likely to increase operations targeting group

According to April 5 reports, the New Irish Republican Army (New IRA) declared it will continue its armed campaign to unite Ireland, despite challenges related to Brexit and the alleged rise in Ulster loyalism. The declaration comes amid investigations into the New IRA’s involvement in the 2019 murder of a journalist during a riot in Londonderry (Derry), as well as the MI5 and Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) joint Operation Arbacia, which has targeted the group since August 2020. This development comes amid three days of riots in Belfast carried out by loyalists between April 2-4. 

The declaration is likely to have been made in response to the violence perpetrated by loyalists during the protests in Belfast from April 2-4. Further, the PSNI is likely to strengthen operations targeting the New IRA, particularly in the dissident group’s strongholds in County Tyrone, Londonderry, and Strabane in the near-to-medium-term. Given the rise in targeted operations against the New IRA, coupled with New IRA’s declaration, the PSNI are likely to remain the prime targets of the group’s violence in the medium term. 

 

Notable Dates

April 7

  • UK: Nationwide protests

 

April 8

  • France: Health workers strike in Paris

 

April 9

  • Kosovo: Kosovo Constitution Day

 

April 10

  • France: Protest in Paris
  • Germany: Rally in Berlin
  • UK: Protest in Bristol

 

April 11

  • Chile: Public Holiday
  • Costa Rica: Juan Santamaria Day
  • Peru, Ecuador: General Elections

 

April 11

  • Germany: Protest in Berlin

 

April 13

  • France: Inter-union strike in Paris

 

April 14

  • Cayman Islands: Public Holiday – General Elections

 

April 19

  • Honduras: Americas’ Day Holiday
  • Venezuela: Independence Declaration Day