Canberra has sent police, soldiers and diplomats to the Solomon Islands to quell violent demonstrations about the county’s relations with China, and protesters have recently tried to attack the National Assembly.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the deployment on Thursday, saying that a detachment of about 75 federal police, 43 soldiers and at least 5 diplomats is heading to the islands. “Provide stability and security” And help local authorities protect important infrastructure.
Their mission is expected to last for several weeks. At the same time, unrest and protests related to a series of domestic issues have intensified-the most important of which may be the Solomon government’s decision to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2019 and turn to support China. China believes that Taiwan is part of its own territory.
However, Morrison insisted “It is not the intention of the Australian government to interfere in the internal affairs of the Solomon Islands in any way,” Added deployment “Does not express any position on internal issues” Of the nation.
After large-scale protests in the capital Honiara, the island’s prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, announced a 36-hour blockade on Wednesday, and demonstrators demanded his resignation. On one occasion, the protesters even tried to rush into the parliament building, and later lit a fire in a hut directly adjacent to the legislature.
Shops and other buildings in the city’s Chinatown district have also been Looted and set on fire, Despite the ongoing blockade and curfew. The damage was captured in footage circulating on the Internet, and damaged and smoldering buildings can be seen in a piece of rubble.
When the Australians arrived on Friday, the Prime Minister blamed the protests on an unspecified foreign country, stating that the demonstrators had already “Full of false and deliberate lies” Regarding the relationship between these islands and Beijing.
“These countries that are now influencing [the protesters] It’s a country that doesn’t want to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China. They are preventing the Solomon Islands from establishing diplomatic relations.” Sogavare said, but refused to disclose the name of any specific country.
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