Disturbing scenes as anti-China riots erupt in the Solomon Islands with protesters BURNING DOWN a police station – as PM announces Australia is sending TROOPS
Australia will send troops to the Solomon Islands as the South Pacific nation descends into chaos following anti-China riots.
The Australian National Security Committee held crisis talks on Thursday afternoon after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare asked the Australian Government for assistance under the 2017 bilateral security agreement.
Scott Morrison announced 23 Australian Federal Police officers are already on their way with a further 43 defence force personnel also set to make the trip to reinstate law and order.
‘Our purpose here is to provide security and stability to enable the normal constitutional processes within the Solomon Islands to be able to deal with the various issues that have arisen,’ the Prime Minister said.
Protesters for a second day in the capital of Honiara demanded the resignation of the Mr Sogavare, voicing their concerns about Chinese influence in the country.
Shops and businesses in Chinatown have been targeted by rioters as well as government buildings and police stations.
An angry mob were captured on video smashing windows and hurling projectiles at the Kukum Traffic Police station before some rioters entered the building and set it alight.
Huge flames billowed from the building before a lone firefighter moved in to try and extinguish the blaze.
A 36-hour lockdown has been ordered in Honiara to quell the civil unrest, but so far it has had little effect.
‘The situation remains volatile with reasonably large crowds on the move. The Royal Solomon Islands Police force has been stretched,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘We have received reports of more buildings burning on the main road in the centre of Honiara including a large commercial building and a bank branch.’
Tensions have been brewing in the nation of about 700,000 people after Mr Sogavare in September 2019 broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favour of Beijing.
The move angered many locals who fear the country’s natural resources – mainly fishing, palm oil and logging – are being fleeced by the authoritarian power.
Beijing handed over about $730million dollars to the Solomon Islands government after the diplomatic switch was made.
Public sentiment is that this money was paid in exchange for a piece of their sovereignty including access to politicians and backdoors to ownership of both and public businesses.
MORE TO COME.