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Solomon Islands PM blames foreign powers for unrest as protests spread -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Smoke can be seen following the setting of fire to buildings in Chinatown. This still is taken from a video that was provided by Reuters.

Colin Packham and Kirsty Neham

CANBERRA, (Reuters) – Foreign countries have stoked unrest in the Solomon Islands that led to violent protests, Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVER said Friday. The small South Pacific island nation is struggling to end the unrest.

Sogavare ordered a lockdown of 36 hours in Honiara on Wednesday to keep protestors out of buildings burning and looting.

Protestors are mostly from Malaita province, which is the largest in population. Many feel ignored by the government after it opposed the 2019 Solomon Island decision to cut diplomatic ties to Taiwan and to establish formal relations with China.

Sogavare stated that foreign governments have stoked the fury.

Sogavare stated to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he felt sorry for Malaita’s people because of the lies being fed about the switch.

“These are exactly the countries which are influencing Malaita. These are the countries who don’t wish ties to the People’s Republic of China. And they discourage Solomon Islands to establish diplomatic relations with China.

Protests continued to grip Solomon Islands and Sogavare was reluctant to give the names of the countries.

Transform Aqorau from Solomon Island said over 100 looters were seen on Friday, and police had no response.

“The scene here is really chaotic. It is like a war zone,” Aqorau told Reuters by telephone.

It is difficult to find public transport, and there is little else. Some buildings are still on fire.

Sogavare spoke as Australian police arrived on the Solomon Islands.

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, stated that he had accepted Sogavare’s request for assistance and Canberra would send just over 100 people to assist Solomon Islands authorities with their guarding of critical infrastructure.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.