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When Australian peacekeepers arrive, Solomon police fire warnings to disperse protesters

Thousands of people (several wielding axes and knives) struck Chinatown, Point Cruz, and the business district of the city, according to AFP reporters on site.

Prime Minister Manasesogabare’s house was also reportedly set on fire during the turmoil on Friday.

In Chinatown, a large warehouse ignited, an explosion occurred, and dozens of people panicked and fled the scene.

There were also reports that the cigarette warehouse was set on fire. The smoke of the previous day threw part of a devastated city of 80,000 into an exciting haze.

The small Pacific island nations have been shaken by the days of violent anti-government demonstrations.

Australia’s first rapid peacekeeping deployment arrived overnight, within hours of Prime Minister Sogavale’s appeal to his neighbors for emergency assistance to alleviate fears of overthrowing the government.

Australian Federal Police Special Operations members are preparing to leave Canberra for the Solomon Islands.

sauce: Australian Department of Defense

On Friday, Papua New Guinea sent a detachment of 34 peacekeepers to help stop violence.

Australia will send an additional 43 troops and police officers in the coming days, with 15 federal police officers arriving on Friday.

Interior Minister Karen Andrews said Australia’s mission, consisting of about 100 police and military personnel, aims to restore law and order.

“The situation is very volatile. At this point, we know the riots have escalated in the last few days,” she told Sky News, and the military secured critical infrastructure, including Honiara’s airports and ports. Then he added.

Ms Andrews said Australia’s latest developments are expected to last “weeks”, unlike Canberra’s previous peacekeeping mission, which cost about US $ 2.2 billion between 2003 and 2017.

“Our main goal is to restore law and public order and morals. We certainly do not intervene in the political problems that are occurring,” she said.

Sogavale blames foreign power for anxiety

Sogavale said the Solomon Islands had “kneeled” in the riots, but vowed to resist the call to resign.

Pro-Beijing leaders argued that foreign forces opposed his 2019 decision to switch Solomon’s diplomatic loyalty from Taiwan to China were behind the turmoil.

“Unfortunately, it’s influenced and encouraged by other forces … I don’t want to name it. I’ll leave it alone. I know who they are,” he told ABC. ..

Others have blamed pandemic-fueled economic frustration and the long-term competition between the country’s most populous residents of Malaita and the central government based on Guadalcanal.

About 700,000 archipelagic states have been plagued by ethnic and political tensions for decades.

A recent bout of anxiety began on Wednesday as thousands of protesters besieged Congress, set fire to a separate building, and attempted to expel Sogavare.

Then it went down for violent freedom as a stick-wielding youth mob ran around the capital, ignoring the curfew, stripped of merchandise stores, and clashed with police.

By the end of Thursday, thousands of predators openly opposed police blockades, carrying boxes, crates, and inflated bags of goods around the streets, and flames cracking around them. A thick black smoke swirled over the city.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed “grave concern” and called on the Solomon Islands government to “take all necessary steps to protect the security of Chinese citizens and organizations.”

In the late 1990s, Guadalcanal militants launched attacks targeting settlers, especially those from Malaita Island, and five years of anxiety plagued the country.

The so-called “tension” was alleviated only by the deployment of an Australian-led peacekeeping mission called the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.

Tension to boil for a long time

Residents of Malaita have long complained that their island has been ignored by the central government, and the division intensified when Sogavale admitted Beijing.

Malaita officials opposed the move and resolutely maintained contact with Taiwanese officials. As a result, the state continues to receive extensive aid from Taipei and Washington.

The state’s prime minister, Daniel Suidani, accused Sogavale of being in Beijing’s pocket, claiming that he “raised the interest of foreigners more than the people of the Solomon Islands.”

“People don’t know this and don’t want to be fooled anymore,” he said.

Solomon Islands opposition leader Matthew Wale said on Friday that he had “resolutely rejected” allegations that he had instigated or was responsible for the riots in Honiara.

Mr. Wale told ABC Radio that the people of Honiara feel that they have no power to change things in the country through a democratic process.

“The Prime Minister’s comment on the Malaitas not to hit their heads against the brick wall was culturally insensitive, which was even more emotional,” he said.

His comments came after he called on the Prime Minister to “do the right thing” and immediately resigned.

Experts say that geopolitical conflicts did not directly cause the crisis, but contributed to it.

Mihai Sora, a Pacific expert at the Lowy Institute in Australia, said:

“And, of course, the modern situation is one of the growing financial challenges of Covid’s state of emergency, Covid’s restrictions,” he told AFP.

Additional Report: SBS News

When Australian peacekeepers arrive, Solomon police fire warnings to disperse protesters

Source link When Australian peacekeepers arrive, Solomon police fire warnings to disperse protesters

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