Solomon Islands PM blames foreign powers for unrest as protests spread

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CANBERRA: Foreign countries are responsible for stoking unrest that has led to violent protests in the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Friday (Nov 26), as the small South Pacific island country struggles to quell the unrest.

Sogavare declared a 36-hour lockdown in the country’s capital, Honiara, on Wednesday as authorities struggled to stop widespread looting and prevent protesters from burning buildings.

Many of the protesters have come from the most populous province Malaita, where many feel overlooked by the government in the wake of its opposition to the Solomon Islands’ 2019 decision to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal links with China.

Sogavare said that the anger has been stoked by unnamed foreign countries.

“I feel sorry for my people in Malaita because they are fed with false and deliberate lies about the switch,” Sogavare told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“These very countries that are now influencing Malaita are the countries that don’t want ties with the People’s Republic of China, and they are discouraging Solomon Islands to enter into diplomatic relations and to comply with international law and the United Nations resolution.”

Sogavare declined to name the countries, as protests continued to grip the Solomon Islands.

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