After two days of violent riots in his country, it was in Australia that the pro-Chinese Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, requested assistance on Thursday, November 25. Under a security agreement between the two countries since 2017, his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, at daggers drawn with Beijing, immediately responded and announced the deployment of more than a hundred police and military to help the forces of the Solomon Islands order to “Ensure stability and security” of the archipelago. The first men landed the same evening in the capital, Honiara. On Friday morning, Solomon Islands police used warning shots to disperse demonstrators trying to reach the prime minister’s private residence, and push them back to the center of Honiara, the archipelago’s capital.
“The Australian government has no intention whatsoever of intervening in the internal issues of the Solomon Islands, it is up to them to resolve them. I said it very clearly. Our presence there does not indicate any position “, had wanted to clarify, the day before, the Conservative Scott Morrison.
Between 2003 and 2017, Canberra had led the Ramsi peacekeeping force, established to stabilize the Melanesian country after five years of inter-ethnic violence. “Australia already has experience on the ground. Without his intervention, there is a risk of reliving a civil war which could cause regional instability ”, explains Alexandre Dayant, researcher at the Lowy Institute in Sydney.
On Wednesday, demonstrators demanding the resignation of Manasseh Sogavare tried to storm Parliament before sweeping through the streets of the capital, where they burned official buildings and looted shops. From 7 p.m., the head of government instituted a curfew but the police were completely overwhelmed by the ever-increasing rioters who continued to ransack the city and in particular the Chinatown district. Worried, Beijing diplomacy spokesman Zhao Lijian asked « the government of the Solomon Islands to take all necessary measures to ensure the security of Chinese entities and nationals ”.
Resentment towards China
This is not the first time that this community, owner of most of the businesses in Honiara, has suffered from the anger of the Solomonais, some of whom say they have been invaded. In 2006, protesters had already attacked Chinatown.
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