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Solomon Islands PM calls for calm after looting and protests

November 25, 2021 4:01 pm

Authorities are calling for calm and accountability in Solomon Islands, after political protests developed into looting and buildings were burned in the capital Honiara.

Prime minister Manasseh Sogavare said those behind yesterday’s scenes of destruction in Honiara would be held accountable.

He gave a national address following the protests, which were led by citizens from Malaita Island, who voiced frustrations with the national government and called for Sogavare to step down.

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The initial unrest surrounding the protests was followed by crowds breaching parliament’s precinct and burnt a building next to the main chamber, and looting and burning of properties in town, including a school and a police station.

Sogavare announced a full lockdown for 36 hours until Friday, and assured the public of their safety.

“I assure you all that the people responsible for today’s events which lead to the destruction of properties will be taken to justice and they will face the full brunt of the law.

“No one is above the law.”

Sogavare said those involved in the unrest were being manipulated by others to create division.

“They were intent on destroying our nation and destroying the trust that was slowly building among our people.

“It is very sad that many of these people may have allowed themselves to be led astray by a few unscrupulous people.

“I had honestly thought that we had gone past the darkest days in the history of our country. However today’s events are a painful reminder that we have a long way to go.”

The prime minister said the lockdown would allow law enforcement agencies to investigate the perpetrators of the unrest and prevent further destruction.

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