More rioting in the Solomon Islands as the Prime Minister is called to resign.


More rioting in the Solomon Islands as the Prime Minister is called to resign.

New rioting erupted in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, on Thursday, as Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare called for an end to the inter-island hostilities that have thrown the Pacific nation into chaos.

Protesters broke a government-mandated curfew set following major disruption in the city on Wednesday, when protestors attempted to assault parliament and topple Sogavare.

The prime minister stated that his government remained in charge.

“Today, I stand before you to assure you that our country is safe — your government is in place and continues to lead our country,” Sogavare said, adding that those responsible “shall face the full force of the law.”

According to a local resident, the rioters regrouped and targeted Honiara’s Chinatown quarter, ransacking a police station.

Police had created barricades, according to the man, who did not want to be identified. However, the unrest showed no signs of abating.

As local media reported looting and police employing tear gas, a homeowner stated, “There are mobs swarming around, it’s really tense.”

Other witnesses shared photographs of smoke billowing from the capital on social media, claiming that Chinese-owned companies were being targeted.

The majority of the demonstrators in Honiara are said to be from Malaita, a neighboring island where residents have long complained of government neglect.

The local government on the island also spoke out against the Solomon Islands’ decision to switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in 2019, a move orchestrated by Sogavare, who critics claim is too close to Beijing.

Matthew Wale, the head of the opposition, called on the prime minister to resign, claiming that the violence was caused by discontent over unpopular policies taken during his tenure.

“Unfortunately, people’s frustrations and pent-up resentment toward the prime minister are overflowing unrestrained onto the streets, where opportunists have exploited the already critical and deteriorating situation,” Wale said in a statement.

Similar inter-island rivalry prompted the deployment of an Australian-led peacekeeping force in the Solomon Islands from 2003 to 2017, and Canberra and Wellington will keep a careful eye on the situation.

The Solomons’ government had not sought New Zealand for assistance, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. Officials from Australia have also been contacted for comment.

Following general elections in 2006, violence erupted, with much of Honiara’s Chinatown being leveled over allegations that businessmen with ties to Beijing corrupted the vote.

Those involved in the recent unrest, according to Sogavare, were “guided astray” by unscrupulous persons.

“I honestly thought we’d made it through the darkest days. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.


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