Solomon riots intensify

PROTESTOR efforts to storm the parliament of Solomon Islands in a bid to unseat Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare prompted a call to Australia for help to suppress the unrest.
Solomon riots intensify Solomon riots intensify Solomon riots intensify Solomon riots intensify Solomon riots intensify

Protestors gather outside Solomon Islands parliament. Picture from US news outlet CNN

Staff Reporter

Australia has agreed to send peace-keeping troops to Solomon Islands, as riots rocked the capital city of Honiara for a second day on November 25.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said police and army personnel would provide stability and security to the Pacific Island nation.
The violence began on November 24 when protestors stormed parliament in a bid to topple Sogavare.
The next day, crowds defied a lockdown and set fire to government buildings, a police station and businesses.
Most of the protestors are reportedly from the neighbouring island of Malaita, which has long complained of neglect from the central government.
A 36-hour curfew was imposed following the unrest, however rioters defied it to take to the streets on in the Honiara's Chinatown district.
Malaita has also strongly opposed Sogavare's switch in diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China in 2019, leading rioters to target Chinese-owned businesses in the unrest.
Beijing's embassy has in turn expressed "serious concerns" to the Solomon Islands government.
Sogavare has made assurances that his government is still in control, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported.
"Today I stand before you to inform you all that our country is safe - your government is in place and continues to lead our nation," Sogavare said, adding that those responsible "will face the full brunt of the law".
He also condemned the protestors, saying "those involved in the latest unrest had been led astray by unscrupulous people".
Long-simmering inter-island rivalries between the capital city of Honiara and Malaita led to the deployment of Australian-led peacekeeping forces in the Solomons from 2003 to 2017.
This is not the first time Honiara has faced violent unrest.
Riots also broke out following general elections in 2006, with much of Honiara's Chinatown levelled amid speculation that businesses with links to Beijing had rigged the vote.


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