More than 100 people have been arrested following days of rioting in the Solomon Islands. Police also found three bodies in a burned out building. Much of the violence has been in the Chinatown district of the capital. Tensions over links with China are largely behind the anger directed against the government.
Large parts of the capital Honiara have been reduced to ruins. The city’s Chinatown neighborhood was one of the main targets of violence.
Security has been stepped up outside Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s home after it came under attack. Protesters unhappy with his government are demanding his resignation.
Sogavare is seen by some islanders as beholden to Chinese interests.
The Solomon Islands archipelago is rife with ethnic tensions. Residents of the most populous island are particularly angry over the government’s decision to switch allegiance from Taiwan to mainland China.
There’s also widespread dissatisfaction over high youth unemployment.
So far, the government has shown little willingness to address the protesters’ concerns.
Neighboring Australia was quick to respond to a call for help in boosting security.
An overnight curfew and foreign troops have helped restore calm. But they won’t resolve the underlying tensions, to prevent a repeat of the unrest.
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