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InvestmentsAustralian police take control of Solomon Islands capital after days of unrest-witnesses...

Australian police take control of Solomon Islands capital after days of unrest-witnesses By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Smoke is seen after buildings had been set on hearth in Chinatown, as Solomon Islanders defied a government-imposed lockdown and protested within the capital, in Honiara, Solomon Islands November 25, 2021, on this nonetheless picture taken from video supplied o

By Colin Packham and Kirsty Needham

CANBERRA (Reuters) -Australian police started taking control of the Solomon Islands capital Honiara on Friday after days of violent protests within the South Pacific island nation, witnesses mentioned.

Tear gasoline was deployed in Chinatown the place looting and the burning of buildings continued on Friday morning and a brand new curfew was anticipated to be imposed later within the day, a resident advised Reuters.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who requested assist from Australia, on Friday blamed overseas nations for stoking the violent protests, however didn’t title any.

Many of the protesters come from probably the most populous province Malaita and really feel missed by the federal government in Guadalcanal province and oppose its 2019 determination to finish diplomatic ties with Taiwan and set up formal hyperlinks with China.

“I feel sorry for my people in Malaita because they are fed with false and deliberate lies about the switch,” Sogavare advised 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.”

China and Taiwan have been rivals within the South Pacific for many years with some island nations switching allegiances.

China views Taiwan as a wayward province with no proper to state-to-state ties, which the federal government in Taipei hotly disputes. Only 15 nations keep formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The final two to ditch Taipei in favour of Beijing had been the Solomon Islands and Kiribati in September 2019.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou mentioned in a press release to Reuters: “We have nothing to do with the unrest”.

Solomon Island resident Transform Aqorau mentioned greater than 100 folks had been on Friday looting outlets, earlier than Australian Federal Police officers arrived.

“The scenes here are really chaotic. It is like a war zone,” Aqorau told Reuters by telephone on Friday morning.

“There isn’t any public transport and it’s a wrestle with the warmth and the smoke. Buildings are nonetheless burning.”

He said later Australian police were “taking control of Chinatown”.

A statement on the Solomon Islands government website said public servants with the exception of essential workers should stay at home “as a result of present unrest in Honiara City”.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia was sending 100 police personnel and was “clearly centered on stability in our area”.

Australian police had been beforehand deployed to the Solomon Islands in 2003 underneath a peace conserving mission authorised by a Pacific Island Forum declaration and stayed for a decade.

Severe inner unrest and armed battle from 1998 to 2003 concerned militant teams from Guadalcanal and the neighbouring island of Malaita, and combating on the outskirts of Honiara.

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