Solomon Islands locked down for 36 hours after protests turned violent

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare called for the blockade in an address broadcast late on Wednesday, after police earlier deployed tear gas to break up protests.

Media reports say people from the country’s most populous island, Malaita, have arrived in the capital in anger over a host of domestic problems, including unfulfilled infrastructure promises presently.

“Our country has witnessed another sad and regrettable event aimed at bringing down a democratically elected government,” Sogavare said.

“I honestly thought we were going through the darkest days in our country’s history, but today’s events are a painful reminder that we have a long way to go. .”

A holdover in Honiara, which lasts until 7am local time, “will allow our law enforcement agencies to fully investigate the perpetrators of today’s events,” he said. and prevent further unlawful destruction.”

As well as looting shops, protesters burned a thatched-roof building on the grounds of Parliament – while it was sitting – and a police station, the Prime Minister said.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is urging those attending schools and businesses around Honiara to stay home to avoid being affected by the unrest.

“We want to ensure that our streets, schools and businesses reopen as soon as possible after the lockdown,” RSIPF Deputy Commissioner Juanita Matanga said in a statement.

“I am asking for your cooperation until the situation becomes normal.”


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