The Solomon Islands burn with an attempted assault at Parliament and the Chinatown

A couple of years ago, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands traveled to Beijing to shake hands at his Chinese counterpart after the Pacific archipelago broke t

The Solomon Islands burn with an attempted assault at Parliament and the Chinatown

A couple of years ago, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands traveled to Beijing to shake hands at his Chinese counterpart after the Pacific archipelago broke ties with Taiwan (an old ally) to establish diplomatic relations with China.

A day after that meeting, it was learned that Manasseh Sogavare, the leader of the nation located north of the East Coast of Australia, had rented for military purposes to a Chinese company the island of Tulagi, former Japanese naval base during World War II and home of 1,200 people, which is one of the 900 islands that make up the insular country, located at a strategic point in the midst of the dispute between China, the United States and Australia for influence on waters full of small islands that harbor less than 10 million people and whose combined GDP does not reach 1% of the total GDP of the Asian giant.

Solomon Islands was not the first country of the Pacific who supported Taiwan who ended up succumbing to Beijing's checkbook diplomacy. But it is the only one who has a rebellious province that does not renounce strange ties with the island that China considers a separatist province.

The island of Malaita, aligned with the United States and home approximately a quarter of the population of Solomon Islands (650,000 inhabitants), came to announce last year that would make a referendum to separate from the rest of the country because it did not recognize the change of Diplomatic relations of your Government in favor of Beijing. There were protests but the matter was no more. Up to now.

The capital of Solomon Islands, Honaria, dawned this Thursday confined after the violent protests that from Wednesday shake the city. A thousand people who asked for the resignation of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, arrived until the doors of Parliament with the intention of burning it. The police avoided it by launching tear gas and rubber balls. But he did not manage to stop looting and that several buildings from the city burn, including a high school.

The biggest damage occurred in the known as Chinese neighborhood of Honaria, where they even entered and looted a police station. The protesters, according to local authorities, had mostly arrived from the island of Malaita. Not even the touch of is decreed by the government when the protests began, it stopped them in their attempt to assault Parliament to overthrow the government.

A limit situation that led to Sogavare to ask for help from its neighboring Australia. This Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has announced the rapid deployment in Honaria of police and military forces, around 100 agents and soldiers, to "provide stability and safety".

From the Chinese Embassy in Solomon Islands, they also pronounced seeing how businesses runched by the Chinese community on the island were being looted and burned. "The Embassy made steps requesting Solomon Islands to take all necessary measures to strengthen the protection of companies and Chinese staff," they said in a statement. This Thursday, the protests and fire continue. The protesters have returned to take the streets challenging the confinement decreed by the government.

From Malaita, where they have been denouncing the "corruption" and "dictatorial practices" of the central executive, legislators also asked their citizens involved in the protests that are "abstain" of violence. "The devastating consequences that such actions will have in our people and in the future will make this country go back to 20 years," the letter prayed.

It is not the first time that neighbors of Rebel Island go to the capital to star in disturbances. Tensions with Malaita have already pushed the intervention of a small detachment from the Australian Army, which remained in Solomon Islands from 2003 until 2017 with the aim of what they called "a deployment of a peacekeeping force". After the general elections of 2006, the Chinese neighborhood of Honiara has already been devastated because the protesters because they believed that companies with bonds with Beijing had manipulated the vote.

Updated Date: 25 November 2021, 07:40

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