Americas: Hundreds protest Las Bambas mine expansion in Peru

Sectors: mining
Key Risks: civil unrest; business disruption

In Peru, on 2 April indigenous community members from the Velille district began an indefinite protest at the Las Bambas open-pit copper mine – owned by Chinese firm MMG Ltd. – in the Apurimac district, Cusco region. This came after in December 2023 MMG proposed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) amendment to expand the mine’s Ferrobamba pit by 285.3 hectares – which would generate more than 2m tonnes of waste and require a potential loss of 12.36 hectares of wetlands. The protesters claim MMG did not comply with its EIA commitments and the agreement to consult the community on the proposed changes to the mine’s operations – producing up to 2 per cent of the world’s copper – which the firm denied. Protests – expected to count hundreds of participants – are likely to cause significant business disruption, and will have the potential to turn violent.

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Asia Pacific: South Korean President Yoon faces political headwinds in legislative election

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; policy uncertainty; political polarisation

In South Korea, on 10 April voters will head to the polls in a legislative election that will determine the composition of the 300-seat unicameral National Assembly. The midterm vote will see President Yoon Suk-yeol’s conservative People Power Party (PPP) attempt to wrest control of the legislature from the opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) which has stymied much of Yoon’s legislative priorities since he narrowly won the 2022 presidential election. This period of divided government has plummeted public trust in the Assembly and further intensified political polarisation, culminating in the 2 January assassination attempt against DPK leader Lee Jae-myung. While the DPK has maintained a narrow poll lead in recent weeks, the election outcome remains contested and the participation of newly-formed breakaway parties – such as the New Future Party (NFP) and the Rebuilding Korea Party (RKP) – will further heighten political uncertainty ahead of the vote.

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Eurasia: Civil unrest risks increased in Georgia after foreign agent bill reintroduced

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest

In Georgia, the risk of civil unrest increased after on 3 April the ruling Georgian Dream party announced that it would reintroduce the contentious ‘foreign agent’ bill. The Executive Secretary of the party, Mamuka Mdinaradze, stated that the bill’s new version would be similar to the previous one, with only minor changes, including changing the phrase “agent of influence” to “organisation carrying the interests of a foreign power”. Critics of the bill – which is similar to the foreign agent bill enacted in Russia in 2012 – claim the legislation would weaken the country’s civil society. The European Union (EU) criticised the decision, claiming that it was undermining the country’s EU accession efforts. The government first proposed the legislation in March 2023 but massive protests forced its withdrawal. The decision to revive the bill will likely trigger protests with the potential to turn violent.

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Europe: New opposition force emerges in Hungary

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability

In Hungary, on 6 April hundreds of thousands protested against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government in Budapest. The demonstration – which according to some estimates involved up to 250,000 people – was organised by former Fidesz’s insider Peter Magyar. Magyar is planning to establish a new party which could become the third most popular in the country with around 15 per cent, according to surveys. Magyar capitalised on the recent major political crisis triggered by the presidential pardon of the deputy head of an orphanage who covered up the sexual abuse of children. The crisis resulted in the resignation of former president Katalin Novak and former justice minister Judit Varga – Magyar’s ex-wife. The large protest is indicative of Magyar’s positive momentum – should he sustain it, he could emerge as a strong opposition force to Orban. Further protests are likely ahead of the June European elections.

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MENA: Domestic and international pressure on Israeli government escalates

Sectors: all
Key risks: political instability, war, civil unrest

In Israel, on 6 April tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv and across the country against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his government and its handling of the war in Gaza. Protesters called on Netanyahu to resign and on Israeli authorities to prioritise negotiations to secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza – around 130 people. Anti-Netanyahu protests led by liberal Zionists and relatives of hostages have been held nationwide for weeks. Relatedly, on 8 April the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) began hearing a case presented by Nicaragua against Germany for “facilitating the commission of genocide” against Palestinians in Gaza through the supply of military aid. The case implicitly targets broader Western support for Israel and could have a chilling effect on the unconditional backing afforded to Tel Aviv by its allies.

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Sub-Saharan Africa: Planned opposition protests in Togo will increase risk of political instability

Sectors: all
Key risks: political instability; civil unrest

In Togo, on 3 April the government indefinitely postponed the 20 April legislative and regional elections. According to the presidency, the postponement is aimed at ensuring further consultations on the controversial constitutional amendment passed by the National Assembly on 25 March. The amendment gives parliament the power to choose the president for a single six-year term. On 4 April opposition parties and civil society groups called for nationwide protests from 11-13 April against the constitutional amendments and the postponement of the elections. The planned protests will likely draw significant opposition supporters in the main urban centres of Lome and Sokode. The protests will likely cause traffic disruptions on major roads. Potential clashes between protesters and security forces will increase the risk of incidental threats to personnel and assets in the vicinity.

Click here to access Togo’s Global Intake country profile.