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Violence on the decline in Solomon Islands


CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (AP) – Violence eased yesterday in the Solomon Islands capital, but the government showed no signs of resolving the underlying grievances that sparked two days of riots, including concerns over the links croissants of the country with China.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has sought to distract from domestic issues by accusing outside interference of stoking protesters.

External pressures have had a “very great … influence.” I don’t want to name names. We will stop there, ”said Sogavare.

Honiara’s Chinatown and its city center were hotbeds of rioters, looters and protesters who demanded the resignation of Sogavare, who has been intermittently prime minister since 2000.

“Most of the drivers of tension have been in the country for many decades and generations, and much of it arose out of the country’s abject poverty, limited economic development opportunities, and inter-ethnic and inter-island rivalry. between the two most populous islands, ”said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at Sydney-based think tank Lowy Institute.

“So everyone is pointing fingers, but some must also point fingers at the political leadership of Solomon Islands.”

People walk the looted streets of Chinatown in Honiara, Solomon Islands. PHOTO: AP

The Solomon Islands, with a population of approximately 700,000, are located approximately 1,500 kilometers northeast of Australia.

Internationally, they are probably even better known for the bloody fighting that took place there during World War II between the United States (US) and Japan.

Riots and looting broke out on Wednesday following a peaceful protest in Honiara, mainly by people from Malaita demonstrating over a number of grievances.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, which set the National Parliament, a police station and many other buildings on fire.

Protesters defied a lockdown declared by Sogavare on Wednesday to take to the streets again on Thursday.

A plane carrying Australian police and diplomats arrived in Honiara on Thursday evening to help local police restore order. Up to 50 other Australian police officers as well as 43 members of the defense force with a navy patroller arrived yesterday.