Sydney, 26 November 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Australia is sending members of its security forces to contain unrest in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
Members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) as well as diplomats were dispatched to the archipelago, located about 1,800 kilometres north-east of Australia, on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry announced. More members of the security forces were to follow in the coming days.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quoted by the news agency AAP as saying that they would help to ensure security in the country at the request of the Solomon Islands.
“The situation remains volatile with reasonably large crowds on the move,” Morrison said.
There have been riots there in recent days during protests against the government. The population felt neglected by the government and was frustrated, the newspaper Solomon Times reported.
Foreign policy has also played a role: the small South Sea island state broke with Taiwan in 2019 and instead established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. The decision had also led to domestic tensions on the island against the background of investments.
Despite a 36-hour lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare as a result of the riots, demonstrators looted and burned down shops in the capital Honiara, among other things, it was reported. In a statement, Sogavare refused to resign.