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World: 3 burned bodies found in Solomon Islands following days of violent protests

Australia sending troops, police to Solomons amid unrest

  Australia sending troops, police to Solomons amid unrest CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia says it is sending police, troops and diplomats to the Solomon Islands to help after anti-government demonstrators defied lockdown orders and took to the streets for a second day in violent protests. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday the deployment would include a detachment of 23 federal police officers and up to 50 more to provide security at critical infrastructure sites, as well as 43 defense force personnel, a patrol boat and at least five diplomats.

CANBERRA, Australia — Solomon Islands police found three bodies in a burned-out building and arrested more than 100 people in this week’s violence sparked by concerns about the Pacific nation’s increasing links with China.

Australian media reported the bodies were recovered late Friday after riots and protests subsided. No other details were given.

Authorities imposed a curfew in the capital Honiara, after a 36-hour lockdown ordered by the embattled Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare ended Friday.

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Riots in Solomon Islands, Australia deploys soldiers

 Riots in Solomon Islands, Australia deploys soldiers When Taiwan status creates tensions on the Solomon Islands. Australia sends peacekeeping forces. © Screenshot Aubc Via AP New riots shook the Solomon Islands Thursday, bringing Australia to deploy a peacekeeping force, on the background of rivalry between Taiwan and Beijing which is alarmed for its interests in the Pacific archipelago.

Sogavare blamed outside interference for stirring up the protests calling for his resignation, with a thinly veiled reference to Taiwan and the United States.

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Protest in Solomon Islands: Protests continue in Solomon Islands

A handout photo taken and received from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on November 27, 2021 shows an Australian Army soldier from the Joint Task Group 637.3 watched by local children during a community engagement patrol through the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara. © CPL BRANDON GREY, Australian Defence Force/AFP via A handout photo taken and received from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on November 27, 2021 shows an Australian Army soldier from the Joint Task Group 637.3 watched by local children during a community engagement patrol through the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara.

Sogavare has been widely criticized by leaders of the country’s most populous island of Malaita for a 2019 decision to drop diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of mainland China. Beijing claims the self-ruled island of Taiwan as part of its territory.

Some fear China could win from US spat with Marshall Islands

  Some fear China could win from US spat with Marshall Islands WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — For decades, the tiny Marshall Islands has been a stalwart American ally. Its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has made it a key strategic outpost for the U.S. military. But that loyalty is being tested amid a dispute with Washington over the terms of its “Compact of Free Association” agreement, which expires soon. The U.S. is refusing to engage the Marshallese on claims for environmental and health damage caused by dozens of nuclear tests it carried out in the 1940s and '50s, including a huge thermonuclear blast on Bikini Atoll.

His government, meanwhile, has been upset over millions in U.S. aid promised directly to Malaita, rather than through the central government on the largest island of Guadacanal, where Honiara is located. The two islands have been rivals for decades.

Andrew Yang, a professor at Taiwan’s National Sun Yat-sen University and former deputy defense minister, said China’s efforts to win diplomatic recognition from the Solomon Islands are part of a competition for regional dominance with the United States and its ally, Australia.

The Solomon Islands, with a population of about 700,000, are about 1,500 kilometers (1,000 miles) northeast of Australia. They are best known for the bloody fighting that took place there during World War II between the United States and Japan.

Papua New Guinea police arrive at the airport in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Solomon Islands police have found multiple bodies in a burned-out building and arrested more than 100 people in this week's violence sparked by concerns about the Pacific nation's increasing links with China. © Gary Ramage, AP Papua New Guinea police arrive at the airport in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Solomon Islands police have found multiple bodies in a burned-out building and arrested more than 100 people in this week's violence sparked by concerns about the Pacific nation's increasing links with China.

Riots and looting targeting Hoinara’s Chinatown and downtown precincts erupted Wednesday out of a peaceful protest in the capital by people from Malaita. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators, who set fire to the National Parliament, a police station and many other buildings.

EXPLAINER: Is China to blame for Solomon Islands unrest?

  EXPLAINER: Is China to blame for Solomon Islands unrest? CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Solomon Islands’ decision to switch its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to Beijing has been blamed for arson and looting in the national capital Honiara, where protesters are demanding the prime minister's resignation. Australian police, troops and diplomats are helping local police restore peace and order while trying to keep out of the domestic political dispute. Here's a look at some of the reasons behind the turmoil: ETHNIC TENSIONS OPEN OLD WOUNDS © Provided by Associated Press FILE - New Zealand troops stand guard over a crowd of more than 200 Solomon Islanders that gathered outside Honiara Magistrates court on th

Critics also blamed the unrest on complaints of a lack of government services and accountability, corruption and Chinese businesses giving jobs to foreigners instead of locals.

Since the 2019 shift in allegiance from Taiwan to China, there has been an expectation of massive infrastructure investment from Beijing — locally rumored to be in the range of $500 million — but with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic shortly after the shift, none of that has yet materialized.

An aerial view shows burnt-out buildings in Honiara's Chinatown on November 27, 2021, after calm returned to the Solomon Islands' capital after days of rioting left at least three dead and reduced sections of the city to smouldering ruins. © JAY LIOFASI, AFP via Getty Images An aerial view shows burnt-out buildings in Honiara's Chinatown on November 27, 2021, after calm returned to the Solomon Islands' capital after days of rioting left at least three dead and reduced sections of the city to smouldering ruins.

Malaita threatened to hold a referendum on independence over the issue, but that was quashed by Sogavare’s government.

This photo shows aftermath of a looted street in Honiara's Chinatown, Solomon Islands, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Violence receded Friday in the capital of the Solomon Islands, but the government showed no signs of addressing the underlying grievances that sparked two days of riots, including concerns about the country's increasing links with China. © Piringi Charley, AP This photo shows aftermath of a looted street in Honiara's Chinatown, Solomon Islands, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Violence receded Friday in the capital of the Solomon Islands, but the government showed no signs of addressing the underlying grievances that sparked two days of riots, including concerns about the country's increasing links with China.

A plane carrying Australian police and diplomats are in Honiara to help local police restore order. Up to 50 more Australian police and 43 defense force personnel were also deployed following a request by Sogavare under a bilateral treaty with Australia. The presence of an independent force, though small, seemed to help quell some of the violence.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been following the protests “with concern,” his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

“(Guterres) calls for an end to the violence and the protection of hard-won peacebuilding gains. He urges dialogue and ceful means to address differences,” Haq said in a statement on Friday.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 3 burned bodies found in Solomon Islands following days of violent protests

Solomon Islands PM survives no-confidence vote .
It comes after riots which were fuelled by a decision to switch relations from Taiwan to China.It comes just more than a week after riots rocked the Pacific Island nation for three consecutive days.

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