Unrest continues in Solomons with PM blaming overseas powers

Looting and violence proceed for a 3rd day within the capital as Australian police arrive.

Foreign international locations are accountable for stoking the disaffection that has led to 3 days of violent protests within the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare mentioned on Friday, as police pushed again protesters attempting to reach Sogavare’s personal residence.

Police fired tear gasoline and warning pictures at protesters, the AFP information company reported, citing its journalists on the scene. The group had already set hearth to no less than one constructing within the space.

Sogavare on Wednesday declared a 36-hour curfew in Honiara, the nation’s capital, however protesters have paid little heed to the lockdown.

Many of them come from essentially the most populous province of Malaita, and have been against Sogavare’s abrupt determination in 2019 to interrupt off diplomatic ties with Taiwan and set up formal hyperlinks with China as an alternative. Malaita’s leaders nonetheless keep contact with Taiwan and obtain outsized support from Taipei and Washington.

Sogavare mentioned the anger had been stoked by unnamed overseas international locations.

“I feel sorry for my people in Malaita because they are fed with false and deliberate lies about the switch,” Sogavare mentioned in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“These very countries that are now influencing Malaita are the countries that don’t want ties with the People’s Republic of China, and they are discouraging Solomon Islands to enter into diplomatic relations and to comply with international law and the United Nations resolution.”

Flames rise from buildings in Chinatown within the Solomon Islands’s capital metropolis of Honiara on November 26, 2021. A government-imposed curfew has achieved little to discourage protesters who need the Prime Minister to resign [Charley Piringi/AFP]

The Solomons have been amongst a dozen Pacific islands that recognised Taiwan till the 2019 determination, with Taipei accusing Beijing of utilizing “dollar diplomacy” to strain international locations into reducing ties with the self-ruled island.

Solomon Islands resident Transform Aqorau mentioned greater than 100 individuals in Honiara have been looting retailers.

“The scenes here are really chaotic. It is like a war zone,” Aqorau informed the Reuters information company by phone. “There is no public transport and it is a struggle with the heat and the smoke. Buildings are still burning.”

The first Australian law enforcement officials arrived within the nation on Friday, after Sogavare requested assist.

The Solomon Islands, which lie east of Papua New Guinea, have struggled with unrest and political violence since gaining independence from Britain in 1978.

Rivalry between essentially the most populous island Malaita and the Guadalcanal-based central authorities has repeatedly led to clashes, with Malaita complaining that it has been uncared for.

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