Riots, fires and looting in Solomon Islands, Australia sends soldiers

New riots rocked Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands on Thursday, November 25, the day after violent protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, which led Australia to deploy a peacekeeping force. “Our goal here is to ensure stability and security”Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, claiming to have received a request for assistance from Manasseh Sogavare.

Protesters defied the curfew imposed following Wednesday’s incidents, and took to the streets again, targeting police and businesses in the capital’s Chinatown, a resident of Honiara told AFP. “There are several crowds moving, it’s very tense”a resident told AFP as local media reported looting and tear gas use by police. This witness said that he saw the police setting up roadblocks. Without any sign of lull on the side of the rioters, more than 24 hours after the start of the disturbances in front of Parliament.

Hundreds of people demonstrated on Wednesday demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manassah Sogavare, before heading to Honiara Chinatown, where they burned down a police station and looted businesses until police intervened. with tear gas. Following these incidents, Manassah Sogavare ordered an immediate curfew in Honiara, deploring a “Sad and unfortunate event aimed at bringing down a democratically elected government”.

Solomon Islands – Google Maps

Recurring tensions

Demonstrators from the neighboring island of Malaita are said to have taken part in the violence to protest against the decision, in 2019, to transfer its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. The Solomons had chosen to recognize Taiwan in 1983, and many residents of Malaita had close ties with Taipei. The government of this island has regularly criticized Honiara for having approached Beijing in this way.

This Pacific archipelago, independent from Great Britain since 1978, had sunk into inter-ethnic violence in the early 2000s. New tensions led to the deployment between 2003 and 2013 of a peace force led by Australia.

Riots notably broke out in Honiara’s Chinatown during the 2006 legislative elections, following rumors that companies close to Beijing had rigged the vote.

By choosing this promotional subscription route, you accept the deposit of an analysis cookie by Google.

Opposition leader Matthew Wale urged Manasseh Sogavare to resign, assuring that the unrest would not end with a police-framed curfew. “Unfortunately, the frustrations and the anger returned by the people against the Prime Minister are spreading uncontrollably in the streets, where opportunists are taking advantage of the situation”, he said in a statement obtained by AFP.

Leave a Comment