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The “darkest day” returns to the Solomon Islands as protesters burn the building

Tensions have increased between the two islands since the country switched diplomatic loyalty from Taiwan to China in 2019. The move claimed that Malaita Prime Minister Daniel Suidani was offered a bribe to assist in the switch. Sogavale denied the accusation.

Suidani promised that Malaita would never be involved with Beijing, terminated the license for a Chinese-owned business, and was criticized by the government. Tensions increased in May when Suidani sought treatment in Taiwan on a trip that the government said was “unlicensed.”

On Tuesday, Malaita MPs expressed fear of the planned protests in Honiara and told Suidani that “our people, brothers and sons would take such potentially dangerous and violent actions. Please remember. “

Mr. Suidani said the protests he did not attend were the result of the government ignoring people’s concerns about a variety of issues, including diplomatic switches and infrastructure projects.

“Whatever the government wants people to know, they have to stand and tell them,” he said. Parents On Wednesday in a riot. “They can’t get away from the problem. They don’t solve anything.”

Hundreds of protesters began to gather in front of the Capitol on Wednesday morning, screaming Sogavale to resign, according to a video posted online by a local journalist.

By noon, smoke was seen coming out of the lawn hut next to the parliament, where parliamentarians occasionally gather. Immediately, the hut was engulfed in flames.

On Wednesday, a building is burning next to the Capitol in Honiara, Solomon Islands.credit:AFP / Charlie Piringi

Sogavale said in a speech that protesters “broke” the Capitol and burned down huts, police stations and Chinatown buildings.

According to local journalist Charlie Piringi, the building is a Chinese-owned store, and photos of the fire show signs of Chinese characters licked in flames. A police station video showed a cleaner picking up the burnt ruins.

Another journalist, Georgia Kekea, tweeted that her previous school was also on fire.

Fijian pilot Sarote Matatini said she and her co-pilot were flying from Kiribati to the Solomon Islands when they landed in the midst of anxiety on Wednesday afternoon. The route to their quarantine hotel was blocked due to the turmoil of riot-equipped police using shipping containers to close access to the harbor. When the pilot arrived at another hotel, they found police officers clashing with protesters.

Buildings are burning in Chinatown, Honiara, Solomon Islands on Thursday. Screenshot ZFM99.5

Buildings are burning in Chinatown, Honiara, Solomon Islands on Thursday. Screenshot ZFM99.5credit:Screenshot / ZFM99.5

“I thought I heard the shooting, so when I first heard the rubber bullets and tear gas, I was shocked,” she said. Washington post With social media messages. “When we entered the room … we were told to leave the window.”

The violence continued into the evening, according to Matthew and Piringi, who saw a fire burning in the street when trying to buy food before the blockade began on Wednesday night.

Best known for the fierce Battle of World War II between the US and Japanese, the Solomon Islands are located in a politically unstable region where Beijing is expanding its influence through the Belt and Road Program and elsewhere.

Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manase Sogabare.

Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manase Sogabare.credit:UN / AP

Sogavale, his fourth term as prime minister, first came to power in the aftermath of the 2000 coup, boosted by tensions between the island’s ethnic groups. The conflict, which began in 1998, claimed the lives of about 200 people and continued until 2003, when Australian-led troops restored law and order.

The prime minister hinted at the history of violence in his speech.

“I honestly thought that the darkest days in the history of our country had passed,” he said. “But today’s event reminds us that we still have a long way to go.”

Washington Post, Reuters

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The “darkest day” returns to the Solomon Islands as protesters burn the building

Source link The “darkest day” returns to the Solomon Islands as protesters burn the building

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