Thursday, November 25, 2021

Solomon Islands: Australia sends peacekeeping troops amid riots - BBC News

Australia is sending peace keeping troops to the Solomon Islands, as riots rocked the capital city of Honiara for a second day.

PM Scott Morrison said police and army personnel would provide stability and security to the Pacific Island nation.

The violence began on Wednesday when protestors stormed parliament in a bid to topple the PM.

On Thursday crowds defied a lockdown and set fire to government buildings, a police station and businesses.

Mr Morrison said he had received a request for assistance from the prime minister Manasseh Sogavare under a security treaty the country signed with Australia in 2017.

Australia and the Solomon Islands have a 2017 bilateral security treaty that allows Australian police, defence and associated civilian personnel to be deployed rapidly to the Solomon Islands in the event of an emergency.

1 comment :

  1. (FNA)- Australia is to deploy more than 70 security personnel to the Solomon Islands’ as two days of violent unrest continued to escalate in Honiara, the capital.

    Responding to a formal request from Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Australia’s Scott Morrison announced the deployment on Thursday, Al-Jazeera reported.

    “Our purpose is to provide security and stability,” Morrison said.

    Some 23 Australian Federal Police will be deployed immediately, with a further 50 Australian soldiers arriving in the coming days, where they will be stationed for several weeks.

    Riots began in Honiara on Wednesday morning, with protesters arriving on the steps of Solomon Islands’ national parliament demanding the prime minister’s resignation.

    While initially peaceful, the protests became heated, with some attendees attempting to storm the parliament.

    Met with heavy police resistance, which included the use of tear gas, the demonstration descended into rioting, with several structures – including a building within the parliamentary complex – razed to the ground or looted.

    Many of the protesters had arrived from Malaita, the country’s most populous island.

    For two years, tensions between the Malaita Provincial Government and the Solomon Islands’ national government, led by Sogavare, have been growing.

    Much of the tension relates to the 2019 decision of Sogavare to extend diplomatic recognition to China – a decision that was deeply unpopular in Solomon Islands.

    Since 2019, the Malaitan Premier, Daniel Suidani, has become known for his vocal opposition to the country’s China policy. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Suidani has even maintained an informal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, which has delivered Malaita consignments of COVID-19 equipment, angering both China and the Sogavare Government.

    Premier Suidani also spent five months in Taiwan earlier this year, ostensibly to receive medical treatment for an undisclosed brain condition.

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