Skip to Content
LIVE
News|Protests
Curfew in Solomon Islands as anti-government protests flare
Authorities in Honiara impose a curfew after protesters set alight buildings, including a police station.
The violence reportedly involved a group of protesters who travelled to Honiara from the neighbouring island of Malaita [Jeremy Gwao/AFP]
24 Nov 2021
The Solomon Islands’ capital Honiara has been placed under curfew after protesters attempted to storm the Pacific island nation’s parliament.
Police on Wednesday fired tear gas at the demonstrators who set alight buildings, partly burning down a police station near the parliament building, a police spokesman said.
“A crowd formed in front of the parliament, I don’t know the exact numbers but it was a huge crowd,” the unnamed policeman told the AFP news agency.
“They intended to make the prime minister resign – that’s the public speculation – but we’re still investigating the motives. The important thing is police now have control of the situation and no one is out on the streets.”
He said police were unaware of any injuries.
Canberra’s official Smart Traveller advice service warned Australian nationals in the Solomons’ capital to be cautious.
“The situation is evolving in Honiara with civil unrest. Please exercise care, remain where you are if it is safe to do so and avoid crowds,” it said.
The violence reportedly involved a group of protesters who travelled to Honiara this week from the neighbouring island of Malaita.
Deep ties with Taipei
Their grievances are believed to involve perceived neglect by the central government and lingering dissatisfaction at the Solomons’ decision to switch diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to China in 2019.
Many communities in Malaita had forged deep ties with Taipei and the island’s local government has repeatedly complained about embracing China.
Such inter-island tensions spurred unrest that led to the deployment of an Australian-led peacekeeping force from 2003 to 2017.
There was rioting following general elections in 2006, with much of Honiara’s Chinatown razed amid rumours businesses with links to Beijing had rigged the vote.
Honiara-based lawmakers from Malaita issued a statement this week calling for protesters from their home island to refrain from violence.
“The devastating consequences that such actions will have on our people and future will take this country back 20 years,” it said.
Sogavare’s office has been approached for comment.
SOURCE: AFP
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
 
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.