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Riots in the Soloman islands to oust pro-Chinese Prime Minister.

Image Credit: Twitter account new27brigade

Severe riots broke out in the tiny Pacific nation of Solomon islands. The Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare blamed the violence in the recent riots on foreign interference, a move which has been rejected by critics. People are protesting the rampant corruption, lack of government services and accountability. To make matters worse, back in 2019, the island’s Prime Minister cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, a move that has angered many citizens, especially those located in the most populous province, Malaita.

The rioters yesterday took to the streets to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister, but today the riots expanded and in the capital Honiara, arson and looting is everywhere. The area has been described as a war zone, with several houses on fire. A Solomon Island resident said that more than a hundred people were seen looting from shops today. Tear gas was fired on the protesters in Chinatown by Australian police.

The scenes here are really chaotic. It is like a war zone. There is no public transport and it is a struggle with the heat and the smoke. Buildings are still burning.

Solomon Island resident.

The Prime Minister said that the violence was a result of his decision to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan back in 2019, and not due to corruption. He said that he will continue to embrace China over Taiwan. The PM Sogavare said that external influence from other powers are having an effect on the country, but he ‘will not bow down to anyone.’ The Australian foreign minister Marise Payne said that she does not agree that other countries stirred up unrest in the nation. Yesterday, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that more troops, police and diplomats have been committed to aid police in restoring order and protect critical infrastructure. Some believe that Australia intervened fast to prevent Chinese security forces from moving in to restore order. The Australian Prime Minister denies this.

The Solomon Islands reached out to us first … as family because they trust us and we’ve worked hard for that trust in the Pacific. That is our region and we’re standing up to secure our region with our partners, our friends, our family and allies.

Australian PM Scott Morrison.

Australia are requested to aid Soloman Islands if requested under a bilateral security treaty that has existed since 2017. More details to follow.

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