Australia sends troops to island hit by anti-Chinese riots

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Canberra has sent police, troops and diplomatic personnel to the Solomon Islands in an attempt to quell violent demonstrations over the country’s ties with China, and protesters have recently tried to storm the national parliament.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the deployment on Thursday and said a detachment of 75 federal police officers, 43 soldiers and at least five diplomats was heading to the islands to “provide stability and security” and help local authorities protect important infrastructure.

Their mandate is expected to last several weeks, and comes amid growing unrest and protests linked to a host of domestic issues – perhaps chief among these is the Solomon government’s decision in 2019 to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China, which considers diplomatic ties with Taiwan in mind. part of their territory.

However, Morrison insisted that “the Australian government does not intend to interfere in any way with the internal affairs of the Solomon Islands”, adding that the deployment “does not indicate any position in the internal affairs of the nation”.

The islands’ prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, declared a 36-hour curfew on Wednesday after a major protest in the capital, Honiara, where demonstrators demanded his resignation. At one point, protesters even tried to storm the parliament building and then set a fire in a booth just adjacent to the legislature.

Shops and other buildings in the city’s Chinatown district are also plundered and set on firedespite the ongoing quarantine and curfew orders. The destruction was captured in images circulating online, with damaged and smoldering buildings seen among a sea of ​​debris.

On Friday, when Australian staff arrived, the Prime Minister pinned the protests to unspecified foreign states, saying demonstrators were “fed with false and deliberate lies” about the islands’ relationship with Beijing.

“These countries that are currently influencing [the protesters] Countries that do not want ties with the People’s Republic of China and deter the Solomon Islands from entering into diplomatic relations.”



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