Solomon Islands 'drifting to self-destruction' before unrest in capital


Australian police have been detained in the Solomon Islands demanding calm and demanding that the Prime Minister resign after protests rocked Honiara’s capital for the second day in a row, leaving fires burning and smoke rising above the city.

At least 40 members of the Australian Defense Force and naval fleet are expected to join the Federal Police later today to keep the peace as government officials struggle to deal with the turmoil which experts say stems from many hardships.

The disagreement is said to be due to long-standing divisions between Malaita, which has a large population in most parts of the Solomon Islands, and Guadalcanal, which is headquartered in Parliament.

Australian police appear to be boarding a RAAF C-130 Hercules en route to the Solomon Islands. (Alex Ellinghausen / Sydney Morning Herald)

Demonstrations from Malaita went to the capital and were outraged by a number of domestic issues including unfulfilled promises, local media reported.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced the suspension on Wednesday after about 1,000 people had gathered at Honiara’s capital to resign over a series of domestic violence issues.

The protesters ransacked the House of Commons and set fire to the thatched roof of a nearby house, the government said.

In the Solomon Islands, heavy smoke billows from the city, and people lash out at the streets.
In the Solomon Islands, heavy smoke billows from the city, and people lash out at the streets. (Issued)

Experts say the factors stem from concerns about resource allocation, deforestation and sustainability until the 2019 transition to diplomatic beliefs from Taiwan to China.

The Washington Post said other demonstrations burned down police and several houses in Chinatown.

Edvard Hviding, professor of sociology and co-founder of the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group, told 9News.com.au the conflict began in the early 2000s in Australia before leading the RAMSI peacekeeping mission on the islands.

People seem to be fleeing the streets as the fighting intensifies in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.
People seem to be fleeing the streets as the fighting intensifies in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. (Issued)

After experiencing “three or four or four such riots” while living in the Solomon Islands, he said he had “no doubt” about the problem.

“There are a lot of ideas on this but I think the people of Solomon Island are brave and awake, if not in the ashes, but this is going to happen,” he told 9News.com.au.

“But our hope, everyone’s hope is that the government of this country will talk to the people who are rioting.”

The Pacific Islands specialist, Transform Aqorau, described the riots as “unexpected but not surprising” and called for a change in the country’s politics.

Write on Devpolicy Blog, Dr Aqorau said that several flashpoints had been neglected in the past few months, with little communication between the central government and the Malaita government, of which President Daniel Suidani is the most popular.

But the man was quoted as saying that the next Solomon Islands envoy to the United Nations said that even outside Malaita, frustration was growing at the expense of foreign loggers, miners and other companies.

He wrote: “The Solomon Islands are falling apart.

“It is one of the countries most dependent on aid in the world. Most donor support is provided to its health and education sector.”

In the Solomon Islands, thick smoke rises and people fill the streets.
In the Solomon Islands, heavy smoke billows from the city, and people lash out at the streets. (Issued)

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called for calm in the capital and has refused to resign, saying he would be removed from Parliament, according to local media reports.

Mr Suidani, the Malaita’s prime minister, agreed with the prime minister to resign, saying he should listen to the protesters before calling for peace.

“People are there for what they want, and they want to be accountable to the Prime Minister or the cabinet for what they want,” he said. Island Sun.

Assistance from Australia comes through the 2017 agreement with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as I request assistance from Sogavare.

“We are here to assist them (local law enforcement) with what they are doing and to provide restitution, especially with regard to existing infrastructure,” he said.

“And it has been necessary for us to better understand our Pacific Islanders, especially the Prime Minister, about how we deal with them.”

All Australian workers have been counted, he said Thursday.

Former US ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Catherine Ebert-Gray said Australian security assistance was “of great importance to the Solomon Islands and the region.”

“The Prime Minister is a political survivor but he has no choice but to resign if the violence continues and he is detained at the Police Compound,” he said. 9News.com.au in email.

“The Australian military will find it difficult to bring lasting peace without following a change in national leadership.

“Malaitan MPs are numerous and should be part of every government. Many women need to compete for their positions and get the support they need to get into power.”

Opponents are gathering outside Parliament in Honiara, Solomon Islands, November 24, 2021, over a photo obtained by Reuters, from a TV video (CNN).
Opponents are gathering outside Parliament in Honiara, Solomon Islands, November 24, 2021, over a photo obtained by Reuters, from a TV video (CNN). (Georgina Kekea via REUTERS)

Dr Aqorau said it was important to tackle the notion of “separation, empowerment and neglect” which “has been a temporary construction”.

“Yesterday’s protests and riots are a testament to the magnitude of the waves that are being ignored,” he wrote.

“There must be a change in the political system, including the need for a more cohesive government.

“Those who are violent today may not get anything from the government. That needs to change, otherwise the Solomon Islands could be on the road to government.”


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