Severity: Warning Alert

Security: Municipal and communal elections to take place across Benin, May 17. Heightened security, traffic disruptions, sporadic violence possible.

This alert affects Benin

This alert began 01 May 2020 00:01 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Municipal and communal elections
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 17
  • Impact: Increased security; commercial and transport disruptions; possible protests, violence

Municipal and communal elections will take place across Benin to elect new local leaders May 17. The official campaign period will run May 1-15. Ahead of the vote, several groups have called for the elections to be postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. Instead, authorities have stated that campaign messages will be disseminated mostly by media platforms as opposed to usual large campaign events to limit exposure to the disease.

Despite movement restrictions in place to halt the spread of COVID-19, spontaneous protests are possible, particularly in the run-up to the election. Protests are possible in major cities, including Cotonou, Port Novo, and Parakou, near government buildings, in city centers, and along major thoroughfares.

Increased numbers of security personnel will likely deploy to all protests and seek to disperse them quickly; clashes are possible if protesters ignore security force orders to disperse. Security force deployments near polling stations and National Independent Election Commission (Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome, CENA) facilities are also likely ahead of and on polling day.

Avoid all protests, polling stations, political party offices, large crowds, and areas with a heavy security presence due to the possibility of violence. To the extent possible, avoid prolonged exposure to markets, transport centers, and other crowded sites in the lead up to election day. Remain in contact with your diplomatic mission and put in place any contingency plans to exit the country if the security situation deteriorates.

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