06
Jul
12:22 UTC

MAX – Europe and the Americas Daily Summary – July 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

  • Haiti: President Jovenel Moise appoints Ariel Henry as new Prime Minister on July 5; likely to trigger further anti-government protests
  • Nicaragua: Sixth presidential candidate, student, opposition group members detained nationwide on July 5; similar arrests to continue
  • Peru: Prosecutor opens alleged money laundering investigation against Fujimori on July 5; similar charges likely ahead of election results

Europe

  • Belarus & Lithuania: Vilnius grants diplomatic status to opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya’s team on July 5; EU members likely to follow
  • Belgium: Report outlines military intelligence agency’s faults over handling of Conings’ case on July 5; likely to prompt security reforms
  • UK: “Kill the Bill” protest will be held at Parliament Square in London at 12:30 (local time) on July 7; maintain heightened vigilance

 

Americas Actionable Items

Americas: Authorities modify restrictions as COVID-19 cases recorded regionwide on July 6; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

In Ecuador, authorities in Quito have restricted vehicular traffic from July 5 to July 9 under the ‘Hoy no circula’ plan. In Honduras, reports indicate that hospitals across the nation are close to saturation levels with ICU beds and other medical supplies at full capacity due to the surge in COVID-19 infections. In Mexico, authorities have maintained the current domestic restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak until at least July 18. Restrictions under the nation’s four-tiered ‘traffic light’ system can be found here. In Jalisco, vaccinations against COVID-19 for people in the age group of 30-39 years in 53 municipalities will begin on July 6. In Suriname, authorities have extended the nationwide nighttime curfew during the hours of 18:00-06:00 until further notice. The stay-at-home order and closure of businesses have been lifted as of July 6. In Trinidad and Tobago, unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter the country, effective from July 17. In Venezuela, authorities have imposed flexible quarantine measures as part of the nation’s ‘7+7 scheme’ for the week of July 5-11.

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

 

Puerto Rico (US): Environmentalist protest to be held outside DRNA office in San Juan at 10:00 (local time) on July 7; allot for disruptions

Several environmental organizations have called for a protest to be held in San Juan on July 7 against the government’s perceived failure to handle climate-related challenges. Protesters are expected to gather at the headquarters of the Departamento De Recursos Naturales Y Ambientales (DRNA) located in the district of El Cinco at 10:00 (local time). Climate activists are expected to deliver a petition to DRNA authorities containing all the demands from the organizations, including the shutdown of a coal-fired power plant in the city of Guayama.

Based on precedent and on the number of subscribers to the petition, the demonstration is expected to draw turnouts in the low-to-mid hundreds. While the demonstration has been organized as a peaceful event, a bolstered security presence can be expected in the DRNA building’s vicinity to monitor proceedings. As such, disruptions to vehicular and pedestrian traffic can be anticipated in the vicinity of the protest location, particularly along Highway 1 (PR-1) and Avenida Juan Ponce de Leon from the morning hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in San Juan on July 7 are advised to allot for disruptions to traffic in the vicinity of the DRNA headquarters from the morning hours. 

 

USA: Multiple wildfires active in Northern, Southern California as of July 6; remain cognizant of local weather updates

According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reports, there are four active fires of interest in California as of July 5. The Tumbleweed Fire started on July 4 and continues to burn in Los Angeles County with 50 percent containment as of the evening hours (local time) on July 5. No damage to property has been reported, although evacuation orders were issued for the Hungry Valley Recreation Area. Additionally, the Lava Fire (Siskiyou County, 71 percent containment), Tennant Fire (Siskiyou County, 53 percent containment), and Ysabel Fire (San Diego County, 90 percent containment) continue to burn as of writing. The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting hot and dry temperatures across Southern California in the coming days which is liable to exacerbate wildfire conditions.

Those operating or residing in the aforementioned counties in California on July 6 and in the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of local weather updates and allot for possible disruption of services.

 

Americas Notable Events

Haiti: President Jovenel Moise appoints Ariel Henry as new Prime Minister on July 5; likely to trigger further anti-government protests

On July 5, former Interior Minister Ariel Henry was appointed as the new prime minister. Henry is tasked with forming a consensus government until the end of Moise’s contested term in February 2022 and supporting the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) electoral agency in the general elections and the constitutional referendum scheduled for September. President Jovenel Moise appointed Henry without consultation with opposition parties, most of which do not recognize Moise’s legitimacy as president since February 2021.

Given that Henry was appointed by presidential decree without a parliamentary consensus, with the parliament inactive since January 2020, the new government is expected to face continuing pressure from oppositional leaders despite Henry having served opposition leaders in the past. While Henry is expected to face increasing pressure to ensure fair elections and on issues surrounding the referendum, given that the outgoing government has already passed a new electoral bill ahead of the upcoming elections, major electoral changes after Henry’s coming into office remain unlikely. Additionally, his appointment without consultation is likely to trigger backlash from citizens in the form of renewed anti-government demonstrations. 

 

Nicaragua: Sixth presidential candidate, student, opposition group members detained nationwide on July 5; similar arrests to continue

On July 5, the police detained leaders and members of the Alianza Universitaria Nicaraguense (AUN) student union and opposition group Movimiento Campesino (MC) nationwide. The detainees included MC’s presidential candidate, Medardo Mairena, making him the sixth candidate to be detained since June. The detainees who were reportedly involved in the 2018 anti-government protests, were arrested for violating the treason law passed in December 2020. Separate reports indicate that journalists have been fleeing Nicaragua to prevent potential detentions.

The elevated incidence of politically motivated detentions, despite sanctions and intense international criticism, reiterates President Daniel Ortega’s attempts to carry out targeted persecution of government critics. Additional detentions are likely to be carried out retroactively for involvement in the 2018 anti-government protests, facilitated by the treason and foreign agents law passed by the National Assembly dominated by Ortega’s allies. Separately, given the potential to detain members of the media deemed critical of the government under the cybercrime law, journalists are expected to continue to flee the country. Regardless, the incidence of politically motivated detentions is liable to remain high in the medium term.

 

Peru: Prosecutor opens alleged money laundering investigation against Fujimori on July 5; similar charges likely ahead of election results

On July 5, anti-corruption prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez launched a preliminary investigation into alleged money laundering against Fuerza Popular’s presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori. The investigation follows the publication of audio transcripts of former President Alberto Fujimori’s advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, who allegedly proposed bribing electoral juries to win the election’s second round held on June 6. The incident also comes after an investigation over money laundering linked to the criminal organization Los Dinamicos del Centro, in which leaders of the Peru Libre party are believed to be involved.

Given that Perez has made similar attempts against Fujimori recently, including requesting her pre-trial detention over money laundering charges, the latest is likely to be seen as sustained efforts aimed at obstructing Fujimori’s campaign. Additionally, Fujimori is likely to accuse Perez of covering up for the investigation launched against Peru Libre members with his latest challenge. Given Fujimori’s challenges to annul several vote ballots to overturn her narrow loss to Pedro Castillo, similar accusations propagated by both sides and subsequent investigations are likely in the run-up to the declaration of the election results.

 

Venezuela: Director, three members of human rights group detained, per July 5 reports; efforts to curb dissent expected to continue

According to July 5 reports, Javier Tarazona, the director of a prominent human rights group, and three other members of the said group have been detained on grounds of “terrorism and treason” and allegedly inciting hate. Tarazona is known to have reported extensively on the two month long confrontation between the Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana (FANB) and the Tenth front of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) dissident group. Additionally, the human rights group has often reported on Colombian armed groups operating in the Apure and Tachira border states.

The detentions reflect the sustained efforts of President Nicolas Maduro’s regime to crackdown on human rights groups and NGOs perceived as critical of the government. With that, the group’s persistent reporting on the Apure conflict, coupled with the fact that the group suggested an alliance between Colombian armed groups and the government, may have prompted the regime to detain its members. While the arrests are likely to result in increased backlash from the EU and USA, efforts to curb dissent are expected to continue going forward.

 

Europe Actionable Items

Europe: Countries modify restrictions as COVID-19 vaccination campaigns continue on July 6; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

Austria will change its risk designation for certain countries beginning July 8. In Belgium, Brussels has launched mobile vaccination drives in an effort to vaccinate more residents. Individuals will be able to access vaccinations at the drive without appointments daily between 10:00 and 17:00. Cyprus will change its entry restrictions on July 8. Spain and the UK will now be considered high-risk. Authorities lifted entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers from certain countries, including EEA-associated countries, as well as the UK and USA. In France, fully vaccinated individuals can now receive their certified vaccination certificate, in line with the EU Digital COVID Certificate. In Norway, the final phase of reopening the economy will be delayed until July 31. In Spain, regional authorities are reimposing curbs on nightlife. In Sweden, residents without a personnummer (personal ID number) will be excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine pass. In the UK, authorities in England expect to move to Step 4 of the reopening roadmap on July 19. Several measures, including the mask mandate, will potentially be eased on this date.

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

 

Finland: Orange forest fire warning issued across multiple regions through July 10; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has issued orange forest fire warnings, the second-highest on a four-tier scale, in several regions as of July 6. The warnings will be in effect through July 10. The dangers of forest fires are especially high given the dry soil conditions. In the event that the regions experience strong gusts of winds, there is an increased risk of the fire spreading faster. In addition, heatwave warnings are in effect for the rest of the country. Authorities warn that individuals with chronic illnesses will experience more symptoms than usual due to heatwaves forecast through July 10. Further details on the regions affected and their corresponding levels of warning can be found here

Those operating or residing in Finland on July 10 are advised to remain cognizant of authorities’ updates regarding weather-related risks. In case of a fire in your area, prepare for evacuation, should it be ordered.

 

Greece: Education organizations to hold protest at Propylaea in Athens at 19:00 (local time) on July 7; maintain vigilance

Multiple student and teacher organizations, including Deputy Initiative, the Attica Students’ Coordinating Committee, and the State High School Teachers’ Association (ELME), among others, are slated to hold a pan-educational rally at the Propylaea at 19:00 (local time) in Athens on July 7. The demonstration is being held against the “School Upgrade Bill”, proposed legislation that activists believe will create “radical changes” to the operation of schools.

Based on recent education-related protests and the mobilization capacity of the organizations involved, the demonstration is expected to witness a turnout in the mid-to-high hundreds. A bolstered security presence is expected in the vicinity of the Propylaea to monitor proceedings and ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. Given precedent and the heightened sentiments against the new education bill, the protest carries an elevated potential for unrest. As such, clashes between protesters and security forces are likely, with security officials liable to use forcible dispersal methods, including tear gas and conducting mass arrests in case of widespread unrest. Significant traffic disruptions can be anticipated in the vicinity of the Propylaea from the evening hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in Athens on July 7 are advised to maintain vigilance in the vicinity of the Propylaea due to the potential for unrest and allot for disruptions to travel from the evening hours onwards.

 

UK: “Kill the Bill” protest will be held at Parliament Square in London at 12:30 (local time) on July 7; maintain heightened vigilance

Multiple activist groups, including All Black Lives UK, will hold a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest at 12:30 (local time) at Parliament Square in London on July 7. Participants will be protesting against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill, which is reportedly introducing new police powers regarding protests. Demonstrations under the ‘Kill the Bill’ banner have been ongoing across the UK since April. Based on precedent and social media estimates, the demonstration is likely to attract a turnout ranging in the mid-to-high hundreds. 

Judging by the elevated anti-government sentiments over the proposed bill, the demonstration carries a latent potential for unrest in the form of clashes between protesters and the police. A bolstered security presence is expected at Parliament Square to monitor proceedings and ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations. Security officials are liable to use forcible dispersal methods and conduct mass arrests in the event of escalating unrest. Significant disruptions to pedestrian and vehicular traffic can be expected in the vicinity of Parliament Square, with streets likely to be blocked during the afternoon hours due to the protest.

Those operating or residing in London on July 7 are advised to maintain heightened vigilance in the vicinity of Parliament Square during the afternoon hours due to the potential for unrest arising from the planned protest.

 

Europe Notable Events

Belarus & Lithuania: Vilnius grants diplomatic status to opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya’s team on July 5; EU members likely to follow

On July 5, Lithuania accredited opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya and her team as “Democratic Representation of Belarus” and became the first EU country to grant diplomatic status to her office. However, the accredited institution would not be considered as a diplomatic mission with usual rights and privileges. Tsikhanouskaya and many other opposition figures are currently in exile in Lithuania due to President Alexander Lukashenko’s extensive state-led crackdown following the controversial August 2020 elections. 

The official status reiterates Lithuania’s continued support to the Belarusian opposition movement amid its calls for intensified EU action against the Lukashenko regime and marks a symbolic step towards legal recognition of Tikhanovskaya’s team. As such, other EU member states are likely to follow suit in legally accrediting the Belarusian opposition movement in a bid to delegitimize the Lukashenko administration moving forward. The recognition is expected to support Tsikhanouskaya’s efforts to operate Belarusian people’s representation offices in other countries. Regardless, the move is likely to deteriorate relations between Minsk and Vilnius, with the state-led crackdown on foreign groups and diplomatic missions expected to continue.

 

Belgium: Report outlines military intelligence agency’s faults over handling of Conings’ case on July 5; likely to prompt security reforms

On July 5, Committee I’s report, the body responsible for reviewing the activities of the intelligence services, noted serious mistakes by the Algemene Dienst Inlichting en Veiligheid (ADVI), the national security service, in the handling of the fugitive far-right soldier Jurgen Conings’ case. The report raised concerns about how the soldier was granted access to military quarters despite being classified as a level 3 threat and other shortcomings. A massive search operation was launched after Conings defected on May 18 after stealing heavy weaponry and issuing threats.

The report is likely to prompt reviews and changes to the current procedures of intelligence agencies, given the concerns emanating from growing far-right ideologies within the military force. That said, primary measures are likely to be focused on improving security screenings of military personnel, particularly their online behavior, in addition to investigations into alleged extremist ties of active and former military officials. Additionally, cooperation with security agencies at the pan-European level is expected to increase in the near term, given that similar cases have been observed in the security forces in other countries.

 

Poland: Donald Tusk elected as new leader of opposition PO party on July 3; likely to revive tensions with PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski

On July 3, former European Council President Donald Tusk became the new leader of the main opposition party Platforma Obywatelska (PO). Tusk’s return followed talks between his predecessor Borys Budka and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who had also been tipped for the party’s leadership. Tusk helped found the PO and was Prime Minister between 2007-2014. 

Tusk’s decision to return to domestic politics was likely prompted by Poland’s increased tensions with the EU amid its ongoing dispute over issues including the judicial reforms, which the EU asserts undermine Polish judges’ independence and the implementation of discriminatory policies, including LGBT rights. Tusk’s return is anticipated to revive tensions with his long-standing opponent and PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, being emblematic of the division between the pro-European economic and social liberalism of PO and the conservative social values and left-leaning policies of PiS. Tusk, under his leadership, will likely attempt to challenge PiS in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2023, with the latter witnessing a drop in poll numbers in 2021. That three legislators left PiS on June 25 amid infighting supports this. 

 

Spain: Thousands of LGBTQ+ activists protest in cities nationwide, including Barcelona, Madrid on July 5; protests liable to continue

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in cities nationwide on July 5 to condemn the alleged homophobic killing of 24-year-old Samuel Luiz in A Coruna, Galicia on July 3. A Coruna, Barcelona, and Madrid witnessed the largest turnouts, while smaller demonstrations were held in other major urban areas. Clashes between protesters and law enforcement were reported at the protest in Madrid. No arrests have been made as of writing, as police continue to investigate the motive for the attack. 

Given the high-profile nature of the murder and the unlikelihood that authorities will determine the motive for the incident in the immediate future, protests are liable to continue in major cities nationwide, including in Barcelona and Madrid, until the investigation concludes. While most of the protests transpired largely peacefully, future protests carry a latent potential for clashes between police and protesters, as witnessed in the demonstration in Madrid. While sporadic minor attacks against members of the LGBTQ+ community have occurred in the past, the latest killing is not reflective of a wider threat to the community in Spain.

 

Notable Dates

July 8

  • Uruguay: Protest in Montevideo

 

July 9

  • Argentina: Independence Day
  • Colombia: Protest in Bogota

 

July 10

  • Bahamas: Independence Day
  • Germany: Protest in Berlin
  • Greece: Labor union strike

 

July 11

  • Moldova: Parliamentary elections
  • Bulgaria: General elections

 

July 12

  • UK: The Twelfth 

 

July 13

  • Montenegro: Statehood Day

 

July 14

  • France & French territories: National Day 
  • Montenegro: Statehood Day

 

July 16

  • Chile: Lady of Carmen Day

 

July 17

  • Germany: Protest in Hamburg

 

July 18

  • Chile: Presidential primary elections
  • Uruguay: Constitutional Day

 

July 19

  • Nicaragua: Sandinista Revolution Anniversary
  • UK: Anti-lockdown protest in London

 

July 20

  • Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina: Feast of Sacrifice
  • Regionwide: Eid al Adha

 

July 21

  • Belgium: National 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

  • Haiti: President Jovenel Moise appoints Ariel Henry as new Prime Minister on July 5; likely to trigger further anti-government protests
  • Nicaragua: Sixth presidential candidate, student, opposition group members detained nationwide on July 5; similar arrests to continue
  • Peru: Prosecutor opens alleged money laundering investigation against Fujimori on July 5; similar charges likely ahead of election results

Europe

  • Belarus & Lithuania: Vilnius grants diplomatic status to opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya’s team on July 5; EU members likely to follow
  • Belgium: Report outlines military intelligence agency’s faults over handling of Conings’ case on July 5; likely to prompt security reforms
  • UK: “Kill the Bill” protest will be held at Parliament Square in London at 12:30 (local time) on July 7; maintain heightened vigilance

 

Americas Actionable Items

Americas: Authorities modify restrictions as COVID-19 cases recorded regionwide on July 6; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

In Ecuador, authorities in Quito have restricted vehicular traffic from July 5 to July 9 under the ‘Hoy no circula’ plan. In Honduras, reports indicate that hospitals across the nation are close to saturation levels with ICU beds and other medical supplies at full capacity due to the surge in COVID-19 infections. In Mexico, authorities have maintained the current domestic restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak until at least July 18. Restrictions under the nation’s four-tiered ‘traffic light’ system can be found here. In Jalisco, vaccinations against COVID-19 for people in the age group of 30-39 years in 53 municipalities will begin on July 6. In Suriname, authorities have extended the nationwide nighttime curfew during the hours of 18:00-06:00 until further notice. The stay-at-home order and closure of businesses have been lifted as of July 6. In Trinidad and Tobago, unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter the country, effective from July 17. In Venezuela, authorities have imposed flexible quarantine measures as part of the nation’s ‘7+7 scheme’ for the week of July 5-11.

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

 

Puerto Rico (US): Environmentalist protest to be held outside DRNA office in San Juan at 10:00 (local time) on July 7; allot for disruptions

Several environmental organizations have called for a protest to be held in San Juan on July 7 against the government’s perceived failure to handle climate-related challenges. Protesters are expected to gather at the headquarters of the Departamento De Recursos Naturales Y Ambientales (DRNA) located in the district of El Cinco at 10:00 (local time). Climate activists are expected to deliver a petition to DRNA authorities containing all the demands from the organizations, including the shutdown of a coal-fired power plant in the city of Guayama.

Based on precedent and on the number of subscribers to the petition, the demonstration is expected to draw turnouts in the low-to-mid hundreds. While the demonstration has been organized as a peaceful event, a bolstered security presence can be expected in the DRNA building’s vicinity to monitor proceedings. As such, disruptions to vehicular and pedestrian traffic can be anticipated in the vicinity of the protest location, particularly along Highway 1 (PR-1) and Avenida Juan Ponce de Leon from the morning hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in San Juan on July 7 are advised to allot for disruptions to traffic in the vicinity of the DRNA headquarters from the morning hours. 

 

USA: Multiple wildfires active in Northern, Southern California as of July 6; remain cognizant of local weather updates

According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reports, there are four active fires of interest in California as of July 5. The Tumbleweed Fire started on July 4 and continues to burn in Los Angeles County with 50 percent containment as of the evening hours (local time) on July 5. No damage to property has been reported, although evacuation orders were issued for the Hungry Valley Recreation Area. Additionally, the Lava Fire (Siskiyou County, 71 percent containment), Tennant Fire (Siskiyou County, 53 percent containment), and Ysabel Fire (San Diego County, 90 percent containment) continue to burn as of writing. The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting hot and dry temperatures across Southern California in the coming days which is liable to exacerbate wildfire conditions.

Those operating or residing in the aforementioned counties in California on July 6 and in the coming days are advised to remain cognizant of local weather updates and allot for possible disruption of services.

 

Americas Notable Events

Haiti: President Jovenel Moise appoints Ariel Henry as new Prime Minister on July 5; likely to trigger further anti-government protests

On July 5, former Interior Minister Ariel Henry was appointed as the new prime minister. Henry is tasked with forming a consensus government until the end of Moise’s contested term in February 2022 and supporting the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) electoral agency in the general elections and the constitutional referendum scheduled for September. President Jovenel Moise appointed Henry without consultation with opposition parties, most of which do not recognize Moise’s legitimacy as president since February 2021.

Given that Henry was appointed by presidential decree without a parliamentary consensus, with the parliament inactive since January 2020, the new government is expected to face continuing pressure from oppositional leaders despite Henry having served opposition leaders in the past. While Henry is expected to face increasing pressure to ensure fair elections and on issues surrounding the referendum, given that the outgoing government has already passed a new electoral bill ahead of the upcoming elections, major electoral changes after Henry’s coming into office remain unlikely. Additionally, his appointment without consultation is likely to trigger backlash from citizens in the form of renewed anti-government demonstrations. 

 

Nicaragua: Sixth presidential candidate, student, opposition group members detained nationwide on July 5; similar arrests to continue

On July 5, the police detained leaders and members of the Alianza Universitaria Nicaraguense (AUN) student union and opposition group Movimiento Campesino (MC) nationwide. The detainees included MC’s presidential candidate, Medardo Mairena, making him the sixth candidate to be detained since June. The detainees who were reportedly involved in the 2018 anti-government protests, were arrested for violating the treason law passed in December 2020. Separate reports indicate that journalists have been fleeing Nicaragua to prevent potential detentions.

The elevated incidence of politically motivated detentions, despite sanctions and intense international criticism, reiterates President Daniel Ortega’s attempts to carry out targeted persecution of government critics. Additional detentions are likely to be carried out retroactively for involvement in the 2018 anti-government protests, facilitated by the treason and foreign agents law passed by the National Assembly dominated by Ortega’s allies. Separately, given the potential to detain members of the media deemed critical of the government under the cybercrime law, journalists are expected to continue to flee the country. Regardless, the incidence of politically motivated detentions is liable to remain high in the medium term.

 

Peru: Prosecutor opens alleged money laundering investigation against Fujimori on July 5; similar charges likely ahead of election results

On July 5, anti-corruption prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez launched a preliminary investigation into alleged money laundering against Fuerza Popular’s presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori. The investigation follows the publication of audio transcripts of former President Alberto Fujimori’s advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, who allegedly proposed bribing electoral juries to win the election’s second round held on June 6. The incident also comes after an investigation over money laundering linked to the criminal organization Los Dinamicos del Centro, in which leaders of the Peru Libre party are believed to be involved.

Given that Perez has made similar attempts against Fujimori recently, including requesting her pre-trial detention over money laundering charges, the latest is likely to be seen as sustained efforts aimed at obstructing Fujimori’s campaign. Additionally, Fujimori is likely to accuse Perez of covering up for the investigation launched against Peru Libre members with his latest challenge. Given Fujimori’s challenges to annul several vote ballots to overturn her narrow loss to Pedro Castillo, similar accusations propagated by both sides and subsequent investigations are likely in the run-up to the declaration of the election results.

 

Venezuela: Director, three members of human rights group detained, per July 5 reports; efforts to curb dissent expected to continue

According to July 5 reports, Javier Tarazona, the director of a prominent human rights group, and three other members of the said group have been detained on grounds of “terrorism and treason” and allegedly inciting hate. Tarazona is known to have reported extensively on the two month long confrontation between the Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana (FANB) and the Tenth front of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) dissident group. Additionally, the human rights group has often reported on Colombian armed groups operating in the Apure and Tachira border states.

The detentions reflect the sustained efforts of President Nicolas Maduro’s regime to crackdown on human rights groups and NGOs perceived as critical of the government. With that, the group’s persistent reporting on the Apure conflict, coupled with the fact that the group suggested an alliance between Colombian armed groups and the government, may have prompted the regime to detain its members. While the arrests are likely to result in increased backlash from the EU and USA, efforts to curb dissent are expected to continue going forward.

 

Europe Actionable Items

Europe: Countries modify restrictions as COVID-19 vaccination campaigns continue on July 6; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

Austria will change its risk designation for certain countries beginning July 8. In Belgium, Brussels has launched mobile vaccination drives in an effort to vaccinate more residents. Individuals will be able to access vaccinations at the drive without appointments daily between 10:00 and 17:00. Cyprus will change its entry restrictions on July 8. Spain and the UK will now be considered high-risk. Authorities lifted entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers from certain countries, including EEA-associated countries, as well as the UK and USA. In France, fully vaccinated individuals can now receive their certified vaccination certificate, in line with the EU Digital COVID Certificate. In Norway, the final phase of reopening the economy will be delayed until July 31. In Spain, regional authorities are reimposing curbs on nightlife. In Sweden, residents without a personnummer (personal ID number) will be excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine pass. In the UK, authorities in England expect to move to Step 4 of the reopening roadmap on July 19. Several measures, including the mask mandate, will potentially be eased on this date.

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

 

Finland: Orange forest fire warning issued across multiple regions through July 10; remain cognizant of authorities’ updates

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has issued orange forest fire warnings, the second-highest on a four-tier scale, in several regions as of July 6. The warnings will be in effect through July 10. The dangers of forest fires are especially high given the dry soil conditions. In the event that the regions experience strong gusts of winds, there is an increased risk of the fire spreading faster. In addition, heatwave warnings are in effect for the rest of the country. Authorities warn that individuals with chronic illnesses will experience more symptoms than usual due to heatwaves forecast through July 10. Further details on the regions affected and their corresponding levels of warning can be found here

Those operating or residing in Finland on July 10 are advised to remain cognizant of authorities’ updates regarding weather-related risks. In case of a fire in your area, prepare for evacuation, should it be ordered.

 

Greece: Education organizations to hold protest at Propylaea in Athens at 19:00 (local time) on July 7; maintain vigilance

Multiple student and teacher organizations, including Deputy Initiative, the Attica Students’ Coordinating Committee, and the State High School Teachers’ Association (ELME), among others, are slated to hold a pan-educational rally at the Propylaea at 19:00 (local time) in Athens on July 7. The demonstration is being held against the “School Upgrade Bill”, proposed legislation that activists believe will create “radical changes” to the operation of schools.

Based on recent education-related protests and the mobilization capacity of the organizations involved, the demonstration is expected to witness a turnout in the mid-to-high hundreds. A bolstered security presence is expected in the vicinity of the Propylaea to monitor proceedings and ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. Given precedent and the heightened sentiments against the new education bill, the protest carries an elevated potential for unrest. As such, clashes between protesters and security forces are likely, with security officials liable to use forcible dispersal methods, including tear gas and conducting mass arrests in case of widespread unrest. Significant traffic disruptions can be anticipated in the vicinity of the Propylaea from the evening hours onwards.

Those operating or residing in Athens on July 7 are advised to maintain vigilance in the vicinity of the Propylaea due to the potential for unrest and allot for disruptions to travel from the evening hours onwards.

 

UK: “Kill the Bill” protest will be held at Parliament Square in London at 12:30 (local time) on July 7; maintain heightened vigilance

Multiple activist groups, including All Black Lives UK, will hold a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest at 12:30 (local time) at Parliament Square in London on July 7. Participants will be protesting against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill, which is reportedly introducing new police powers regarding protests. Demonstrations under the ‘Kill the Bill’ banner have been ongoing across the UK since April. Based on precedent and social media estimates, the demonstration is likely to attract a turnout ranging in the mid-to-high hundreds. 

Judging by the elevated anti-government sentiments over the proposed bill, the demonstration carries a latent potential for unrest in the form of clashes between protesters and the police. A bolstered security presence is expected at Parliament Square to monitor proceedings and ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations. Security officials are liable to use forcible dispersal methods and conduct mass arrests in the event of escalating unrest. Significant disruptions to pedestrian and vehicular traffic can be expected in the vicinity of Parliament Square, with streets likely to be blocked during the afternoon hours due to the protest.

Those operating or residing in London on July 7 are advised to maintain heightened vigilance in the vicinity of Parliament Square during the afternoon hours due to the potential for unrest arising from the planned protest.

 

Europe Notable Events

Belarus & Lithuania: Vilnius grants diplomatic status to opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya’s team on July 5; EU members likely to follow

On July 5, Lithuania accredited opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya and her team as “Democratic Representation of Belarus” and became the first EU country to grant diplomatic status to her office. However, the accredited institution would not be considered as a diplomatic mission with usual rights and privileges. Tsikhanouskaya and many other opposition figures are currently in exile in Lithuania due to President Alexander Lukashenko’s extensive state-led crackdown following the controversial August 2020 elections. 

The official status reiterates Lithuania’s continued support to the Belarusian opposition movement amid its calls for intensified EU action against the Lukashenko regime and marks a symbolic step towards legal recognition of Tikhanovskaya’s team. As such, other EU member states are likely to follow suit in legally accrediting the Belarusian opposition movement in a bid to delegitimize the Lukashenko administration moving forward. The recognition is expected to support Tsikhanouskaya’s efforts to operate Belarusian people’s representation offices in other countries. Regardless, the move is likely to deteriorate relations between Minsk and Vilnius, with the state-led crackdown on foreign groups and diplomatic missions expected to continue.

 

Belgium: Report outlines military intelligence agency’s faults over handling of Conings’ case on July 5; likely to prompt security reforms

On July 5, Committee I’s report, the body responsible for reviewing the activities of the intelligence services, noted serious mistakes by the Algemene Dienst Inlichting en Veiligheid (ADVI), the national security service, in the handling of the fugitive far-right soldier Jurgen Conings’ case. The report raised concerns about how the soldier was granted access to military quarters despite being classified as a level 3 threat and other shortcomings. A massive search operation was launched after Conings defected on May 18 after stealing heavy weaponry and issuing threats.

The report is likely to prompt reviews and changes to the current procedures of intelligence agencies, given the concerns emanating from growing far-right ideologies within the military force. That said, primary measures are likely to be focused on improving security screenings of military personnel, particularly their online behavior, in addition to investigations into alleged extremist ties of active and former military officials. Additionally, cooperation with security agencies at the pan-European level is expected to increase in the near term, given that similar cases have been observed in the security forces in other countries.

 

Poland: Donald Tusk elected as new leader of opposition PO party on July 3; likely to revive tensions with PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski

On July 3, former European Council President Donald Tusk became the new leader of the main opposition party Platforma Obywatelska (PO). Tusk’s return followed talks between his predecessor Borys Budka and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who had also been tipped for the party’s leadership. Tusk helped found the PO and was Prime Minister between 2007-2014. 

Tusk’s decision to return to domestic politics was likely prompted by Poland’s increased tensions with the EU amid its ongoing dispute over issues including the judicial reforms, which the EU asserts undermine Polish judges’ independence and the implementation of discriminatory policies, including LGBT rights. Tusk’s return is anticipated to revive tensions with his long-standing opponent and PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, being emblematic of the division between the pro-European economic and social liberalism of PO and the conservative social values and left-leaning policies of PiS. Tusk, under his leadership, will likely attempt to challenge PiS in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2023, with the latter witnessing a drop in poll numbers in 2021. That three legislators left PiS on June 25 amid infighting supports this. 

 

Spain: Thousands of LGBTQ+ activists protest in cities nationwide, including Barcelona, Madrid on July 5; protests liable to continue

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in cities nationwide on July 5 to condemn the alleged homophobic killing of 24-year-old Samuel Luiz in A Coruna, Galicia on July 3. A Coruna, Barcelona, and Madrid witnessed the largest turnouts, while smaller demonstrations were held in other major urban areas. Clashes between protesters and law enforcement were reported at the protest in Madrid. No arrests have been made as of writing, as police continue to investigate the motive for the attack. 

Given the high-profile nature of the murder and the unlikelihood that authorities will determine the motive for the incident in the immediate future, protests are liable to continue in major cities nationwide, including in Barcelona and Madrid, until the investigation concludes. While most of the protests transpired largely peacefully, future protests carry a latent potential for clashes between police and protesters, as witnessed in the demonstration in Madrid. While sporadic minor attacks against members of the LGBTQ+ community have occurred in the past, the latest killing is not reflective of a wider threat to the community in Spain.

 

Notable Dates

July 8

  • Uruguay: Protest in Montevideo

 

July 9

  • Argentina: Independence Day
  • Colombia: Protest in Bogota

 

July 10

  • Bahamas: Independence Day
  • Germany: Protest in Berlin
  • Greece: Labor union strike

 

July 11

  • Moldova: Parliamentary elections
  • Bulgaria: General elections

 

July 12

  • UK: The Twelfth 

 

July 13

  • Montenegro: Statehood Day

 

July 14

  • France & French territories: National Day 
  • Montenegro: Statehood Day

 

July 16

  • Chile: Lady of Carmen Day

 

July 17

  • Germany: Protest in Hamburg

 

July 18

  • Chile: Presidential primary elections
  • Uruguay: Constitutional Day

 

July 19

  • Nicaragua: Sandinista Revolution Anniversary
  • UK: Anti-lockdown protest in London

 

July 20

  • Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina: Feast of Sacrifice
  • Regionwide: Eid al Adha

 

July 21

  • Belgium: National Day

 

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