Friday, November 26, 2021

Unrest continues in Solomons with PM blaming foreign powers | Al Jazeera

Foreign countries are responsible for stoking the disaffection that has led to three days of violent protests in the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Friday, as police pushed back protesters trying to reach Sogavare’s private residence.



Police fired tear gas and warning shots at protesters, the AFP news agency reported, citing its journalists at the scene. The group had already set fire to at least one building in the area.

Sogavare on Wednesday declared a 36-hour curfew in Honiara, the country’s capital, but protesters have paid little heed to the lockdown.

Many of them come from the most populous province of Malaita, and were opposed to Sogavare’s abrupt decision in 2019 to break off diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal links with China instead. Malaita’s leaders still maintain contact with Taiwan and receive outsized aid from Taipei and Washington.

Sogavare said the anger had been stoked by unnamed foreign countries.

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

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