Solomon Islands prime minister blames foreign powers for unrest

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has on Friday blamed foreign interference over his government’s decision to switch alliances from Taiwan to Beijing for anti-government protests, arson and looting that have ravaged the capital Honiara in recent days.

But critics also blamed the unrest on complaints of a lack of government services and accountability, corruption and foreign workers taking locals’ jobs.

Sogavare angered many in 2019, particularly leaders of the Solomon Islands’ most populous province, Malaita, when he cut the country’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

A plane carrying Australian police and diplomats arrived late on Thursday in Honiara, where they will help local police efforts to restore order after a second day of violent anti-government protests, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said.

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