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Situation Update - Argentina G20 Summit

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2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit to be held 30 November-1 December; heightened risk of large demonstrations

 

Summary

  • Leaders from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union expected to participate

  • Leaders’ summit to take place at the Costa Salguero convention centre in the Palermo neighbourhood

  • Agenda priorities include ‘the future of work, infrastructure for development, and a sustainable food future.’

  • Montevideo, Uruguay being utilised as security hub for visiting countries

  • Jorge Newbery International Airport, along with El Palomar, Moron, and San Fernando airports, to be closed for commercial flights from 29 November-1 December

  • An additional 25,000 security troops to be deployed across the city during the leaders’ summit

  • Friday, November 30 declared national holiday

Argentina G20 (2)

Situation 

Beginning on Friday, November 30, the leaders’ summit for the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires meeting will begin. The G20, comprised of 19 of the world’s major economies and the European Union, has held several meetings in Buenos Aires this year, but the leaders’ summit will be held from November 30 to December 1. The summit is scheduled to take place at the Costa Salguero convention centre, which is located adjacent to Jorge Newbery International Airport, in the Palermo neighbourhood.

The summit’s agenda priorities include discussing ‘the future of work, infrastructure for development, and a sustainable food future.’ Aside from the scheduled talks, several world leaders and delegates have indicated their desire to discuss regulation of the crypto-currency industry. Additionally, high-profile world leaders, such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, will use the time to meet with one another regarding other world matters.

In preparation for the event, the Argentine government will be implementing an additional 25,000 security personnel across the city- mostly near the convention centre and in popular protest locations. Government and G20 officials have indicated that the additional security units are being used in efforts to prevent the violent protests and riots that occurred during the 2017 G20 Leaders’ summit in Hamburg, Germany. The US military will also provide security for the event, with troops and equipment being stationed in Montevideo, Uruguay.

There will be an exclusion zone implemented around the Costa Salguero convention centre leading up to the summit. A three-ring security perimeter will be established, with restrictions tightening the closer one gets to the convention centre. A similar tactic was utilized in Hamburg in 2017 to prevent protesters from reaching the meeting hall. Additionally, Jorge Newbery International Airport, El Palomar Airport, San Fernando Airport, and Moron Airport will be closed to commercial flight traffic from 29 November to 1 December. Ezeiza International Airport will remain open during the summit, but heightened security provisions are expected.

Analysis 

There has been a recent history of large-scale protests in Argentina, most notably in Buenos Aires, over the government’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In light of this, as well as smaller protests during lesser G20 events, large demonstrations are highly likely to occur near the Costa Salguero convention centre and at prominent public locations in Buenos Aires. With the deployment of additional security officers, clashes amongst protesters and with officers cannot be ruled out. Thus, the use of tear gas, riot gear, and water cannons is to be expected in the event that such violence occurs.

Road closures and security checkpoints will be in place near the convention centre and likely along access roads leading to it as well. As a result, vehicle traffic will be congested in the area. It is likely that Buenos Aires Underground (Subte) stations near the convention centre will be closed and routes servicing those stations will terminate early.

Implications

  • Heightened security presence throughout Buenos Aires during the summit

  • Increased potential of protests/demonstrations

  • Likelihood of violence during protests heightened due to current economic situation in Argentina and general disapproval of IMF deal

  • Disruption to transport with road closures, security checkpoints, and airport closures

Advice

  • Prepare for route restrictions and increased travel time in Buenos Aires during the summit

  • Check with airline operators to ensure flight services will not be affected by the airport closures

  • Remain wary of gatherings in public places and exercise heightened situational awareness

  • Keep clear of large demonstrations in Buenos Aires due to the potential for confrontations and unrest

  • As protests can turn violent and police intervene quickly, you can be mistaken for a participant if caught near demonstrations

  • Monitor local and national media regularly for updated details

  • Expect stringent security measures in Buenos Aires during the summit, especially near the convention centre

  • Ensure personal travel agenda and security protocols are up-to-date before commencing journeys