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HOT SPOTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Hot Spots Report

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level - 2): On 30 April 2015, Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted for the third time in two weeks, sending ash and hot rock approximately 2.5 mi/4 km into the air. This latest blast was much smaller than the previous two eruptions, where ash reached a height of approximately 11 mi/18 km; however, the 30 April eruption did prompt officials to order the new evacuation of some 2,500 nearby residents. The area had been previously evacuated after the eruptions last week, but a number of residents had returned since then to clear their homes of debris and ash. The 12 mi/20 km exclusion zone around the volcano remains in place. Officials have stated that ash from the volcano in this latest blast will likely affect those living just south of the volcano, but that it should not cause other disruptions, including to Chile’s airspace.

ASIA

South Korea (Security threat level - 2): On 1 May 2015, protesters in Seoul clashed with riot police officers near the office of President Park Guen-hye during a three-hour worker’s rights demonstration. Officers erected barricades to try and impede the progress of approximately 10,000 demonstrators. Groups of protesters attempted to break through the barricades, and officers used water cannons mixed with a chemical irritant to push them back. Park is attempting to pass legislation that would make it easier for business owners to hire and fire people, a move that has angered organized labor groups and led to a series of nationwide protests in the last week, which have regularly attracted tens of thousands of participants.

EUROPE

Ireland (Security threat level - 2): A 48-hour transportation strike began on 1 May 2015. Workers from Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann called the strike in protest of the National Transport Authority’s plans to offer 10 percent of the existing bus routes to other companies. The strike began at midnight on 1 May. Approximately 1.1 million bus trips are expected to be disrupted by the strike, affecting more than 700,000 passengers.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Burundi (Security threat level - 4): Protests continued on 30 April 2015 for the fifth consecutive day in the capital city of Bujumbura. The protests have spread more broadly across the city. Reports indicate that police officers used live rounds to disperse crowds in several areas of Bujumbura; one soldier was allegedly killed and 15 civilians were injured in the clashes. The death of the soldier will likely increase tensions between police officers and military personnel, who have reportedly been at odds while attempting to stem the unrest. The police force has used heavy-handed tactics against the protesters, while the military has attempted to prevent the officers’ use of force against the population.

Meanwhile, the government ordered the closure of the University of Burundi, located in the capital, on 30 April. The move was likely made in an attempt to curtail the massive protests, as students are common participants in social actions. Hundreds of students spent the night outside the U.S. Embassy after the closure, requesting protection. Thousands of others have fled the capital amid the increasing violence. Bujumbura International Airport (HBBA/BJM) remains open and operational.
Gabon (Security threat level - 3): On 30 April 2015, supporters of the opposition National Union (NU) party gathered at Libreville International Airport (FOOL/LBV) as authorities attempted to transfer the body of the party’s leader Andre Mba Obame to the northern town of Oyme, located in Woleu-Netm region. According to reports, security forces failed to prevent the crowd from reaching the airport tarmac, and the flight was canceled. Following the news of the cancellation, supporters in Oyme protested by throwing rocks at buildings and setting fires in a local market; police officers responded by dispersing the protesters with batons and stun grenades.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Burundi (Security threat level - 4): On 30 April 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura issued a Security Message, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens of reports of gunfire in the area of Gatoke, and ongoing protests in Musaga and Nyakabiga. In the event that you hear gunfire nearby, find a safe place in an interior room and remain low to the ground. Do not go near windows. Political demonstrations and protests are expected to continue in Bujumbura and other locations in Burundi throughout the week.

“It is important to remember that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. The most recent demonstration resulted in police deployment of tear gas, water cannon, and the use of live ammunition. Follow current events via local and social media and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid areas of planned demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. If you find yourself near such an event, leave the area. If it is not safe to do so immediately, maintain a low profile until you are able to relocate.”

Chile (Security threat level - 2): On 30 April 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago issued the following Security Message: “The U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Santiago that on Friday, May 1st between 10:00 and 15:00 the Central Workers Union (CUT) has been granted authorization to march. The march will start from Plaza Los Heroes and continue along the road south of Alameda Avenue and Portugal Street. The march is to commemorate el dia de trabajador (the day of the worker). During the march a cultural event will also be in progress.

“Simultaneously, there will reportedly be approximately 2,000 protesters from the Communist Party who will gather at Brazil Avenue and Alameda Avenue (downtown) to march to the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) located in West downtown. This protest is not authorized by the government and the route can easily change. Local law enforcement authorities advise avoiding these areas during the protest event, due to the potential for violence during these demonstrations. The Embassy advises to monitor the media for the latest information on the location of the demonstrations and be alert to your surroundings. …”

Peru (Security threat level - 3): On 30 April 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Lima issued the following Security Message: “The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens traveling or living in Peru that the department of Loreto in northern Peru has declared a state of emergency for the next 60 days. This is due to inordinate seasonal rainfall which has triggered severe flooding in some areas, creating problems with roads and transportation around Iquitos and the region.

“Specific districts cited in the declaration are: Balsapuerto, Jeberos, Lagunas, Santa Cruz, Teniente César López Rojas, Yurimaguas, Nauta, Parinari, Trompeteros, Urarinas, Belén, Iquitos, Indiana, Las Amazonas, Punchana, San Juan Bautista, Requena, Contamana, Parque Márquez, Pampa Hermosa, Sarayucu and Vargas Guerra, all collectively in the provinces of Alto Amazonas, Loreto, Maynas, Requena and Ucayali.

“U.S. citizens traveling in Peru are advised to avoid these areas if possible. Travel is likely to be delayed and may be hazardous due to precarious road conditions and the possibility of severe flooding or other natural disasters. If you do travel to these areas, make a plan for how to maintain contact with family and friends, and keep them informed of your itinerary. Stay in close contact with tour and transportation organizers as well, in case delays or changes to your plans become necessary.

“Travel to other popular tourist destinations in the southern part of the country, such as Machu Picchu, have not been affected. …”


SIGNIFICANT DATES

1 May

Denmark: Common Prayer Day (Public holiday)
Haiti: Labor and Agriculture Day
Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan People's Unity Day (Public holiday)
Slovenia: Reformation Day
Worldwide: May Day / International Labor Day

2 May

Bhutan: Birthday of 3rd Druk Gyalpo
Georgia: Kutaisi City Day (Public celebrations held in Kutaisi)
Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Spain: Day of the Autonomous Community (Madrid Province and city only)
United States: Kentucky Derby in Louisville

3 May

Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Japan: Constitution Memorial Day (Public holiday; businesses and government offices close)
Poland: Constitution Day (Public holiday; government and business offices closed.)

4 May

Afghanistan: Memorial Day for Martyrs and the Disabled
Australia: Labour Day (Northern Territory)
Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Latvia: Declaration of Independence Day
Namibia: Cassinga Day
United Kingdom: Early May Bank Holiday

5 May

Ethiopia: Patriots' Victory Day
Guyana: Indian Heritage Day (Arrival Day)
Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Japan: Children's Day (Public holiday; youth events throughout the country)
Kyrgyzstan: Constitution Day
Mexico: "Cinco de Mayo" - Victory Over French (1867)
Netherlands: Liberation Day
South Korea: Children's Day (Public holiday)

6 May

Buddhism: Buddha Purnima (Commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha and literally means the "full moon day of Buddha.")
Bulgaria: St. George's Day/ Army Day
Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Lebanon: Martyrs' Day
Syria: Martyrs' Day

7 May

Italy: World Expo Opening Day

8 May

Czech Republic: Prague Uprising (1945) (Not a public holiday, but commemorations held.)
Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Slovakia: Victory in Europe Day

9 May

Belgium: "Welcome Brussels" and Iris Day held on same weekend; higher threat of crime and protests
Eastern Europe: Victory Day
Italy: World Expo Opening Day
Kosovo: Europe Holiday
Uzbekistan: Memorial/Remembrance Day (public holiday)

10 May

Belgium: "Welcome Brussels" and Iris Day held on same weekend; higher threat of crime and protests
Italy: World Expo Opening Day

11 May

Italy: World Expo Opening Day

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