Looting and violence continue for a third day in the capital as Australian police arrive.
Foreign countries are responsible for inciting discontent that has led to three days of violent protests in the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Friday as police pushed protesters trying to reach Sogavare’s private residence.
Policia hodhi gaz lotsjellës dhe të shtëna paralajmëruese ndaj protestuesve, njoftoi agjencia e lajmeve AFP, duke cituar gazetarët e saj në vendngjarje. The group had set fire to at least one building in the area.
Sogavare on Wednesday announced a 36-hour curfew in Honiara, the country’s capital, but protesters have paid little attention to the blockade.
Many of them come from the most populous province of Malaita and were against Sogavare’s sudden decision in 2019 to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan and establish formal ties with China. Malaysian leaders continue to maintain contacts with Taiwan and receive great help from Taipei and Washington.
Sogavare said the anger was sparked by unnamed foreign countries.
I feel sorry for my people in Malaita because they are fed up with false and deliberate lies about change, Sogavare said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
It is these countries that are now influencing Malaita that are the countries that do not want ties with the People’s Republic of China and are discouraging the Solomon Islands from entering into diplomatic relations and respecting international law and the United Nations resolution.
The Solomons were among a dozen Pacific islands that recognized Taiwan until the 2019 ruling, with Taipei accusing Beijing of using dollar diplomacy to pressure countries to sever ties with the self-governing island.
Solomon Islands resident Transform Aqorau said more than 100 people in Honiara were looting shops.
The scenes here are really chaotic. It’s like a war zone, Aqorau told Reuters by telephone. There is no public transport and it is a fight with heat and smoke. The buildings are still burning.
The first Australian police arrived in the country on Friday after Sogavare asked for help.
The Solomon Islands, which lie east of Papua New Guinea, have struggled with unrest and political violence since gaining independence from Britain in 1978.
The rivalry between the most populous island of Malaita and the central government based in Guadalcanal has led to constant clashes, with Malaita complaining that it has been neglected.
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