Police in Canberra, Australia-Solomon Islands have found three bodies in a burnt-out building and arrested more than 100 people in this week’s violence, triggered by concerns over growing ties with China in the Pacific countries.
Australian media reported that the body was recovered late Friday after the riots and protests subsided. No other details are given.
Authorities imposed a curfew on the capital Honiara after the 36-hour blockade ordered by the embarrassed Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavale on Friday.
Sogavale accused external interference of agitating protests demanding his resignation in a thin veiled reference to Taiwan and the United States.
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Sogavale has been widely criticized by the leaders of Malaita, the country’s most populous island, for the 2019 decision to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of mainland China. Beijing claims Taiwan’s autonomous island as part of its territory.
Meanwhile, his government is upset by the millions of US aid promised directly to Malaita, not through the central government of Guadalcanal, the largest island in which Honiara is located. The two islands have been rivals for decades.
Professor Andrew Yang of National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, a former deputy defense minister, said China’s efforts to obtain diplomatic approval from the Solomon Islands are part of the competition for regional domination between the United States and its ally Australia. Said there is.
The Solomon Islands, with a population of about 700,000, are located about 1,500 kilometers (1,000 miles) northeast of Australia. They are best known for the bloody battles that took place between Japan and the United States during World War II.
A peaceful protest in the capital by the people of Malaita broke out on Wednesday in a riot and looting aimed at the precincts of Chinatown and downtown in Hoinara. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators, who fired at the Capitol, police stations, and many other buildings.
Critics also blamed anxiety for lack of government services and accountability, corruption, and complaints that Chinese companies are giving jobs to foreigners rather than locals.
Since the shift of loyalty from Taiwan to China in 2019, large-scale infrastructure investment from Beijing is expected, and it is rumored to be in the range of $ 500 million locally, but the COVID-19 pandemic immediately after the shift Due to the occurrence of, among them, it has not been realized yet.
Maraita threatened to hold a referendum on this issue, which was shattered by the Sogavale government.
There is a plane in Honiara carrying Australian police and diplomats to help local police restore order. At the request of Sogavale under a bilateral treaty with Australia, up to 50 more Australian police and 43 defense personnel were deployed. The presence of an independent unit, albeit small, seemed to help quell some of the violence.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has continued to protest “with concern,” said his deputy spokesman, Farhan Haku.
“(Guterres) wants to end the violence and protect the hard-earned peacebuilding interests. He urges dialogue and clever means to deal with the differences,” Haku said. Said in a statement on Friday.
Solomon Islands police find three bodies after violent protest
Source link Solomon Islands police find three bodies after violent protest