Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that they will be deploying defence force personnel to Solomon Island. This was after the Island’s citizens started protesting against the newly set parliament, Chinese entrepreneurs and specific buildings set in the capital, Honiara.
Over 100 Military Personnel to Be Sent for Peace Keeping
Morrison said that he is going to send 23 Australiana Federal Police’s Special Response Group with immediate effect to try and curb the riot protests taking place. Also, 50 officers will be sent to help in supporting the heavily affected infrastructures.
To top it off, an additional 43 Defense Force personnel will be sent to give a helping hand in the peacekeeping efforts.
In a meeting with the National Security Committee of the cabinet, Morrison highlighted that the efforts are there to make sure that Solomon Island is stable and secure. And, the sent troops will last for several weeks until this mission is accomplished.
The Story Behind the Solomon Island Protests
Initially, the Solomon Island protests started peacefully in Malaita Province. The Protests were against the newly elected parliament and Chinese businesses on the island. Also, according to the civilians, the government is incompetent, corrupt and shouldn’t be aligned with the Chinese.
But, on the 24th of November, the crowd of over 1000 people became more violent. In efforts to try and curb the protest, the police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets. But, some buildings had already been stoned down and others were engulfed in flames.
What is Next for the Island?
Because of the Security treaty signed in 2017, the Australian Government will have to step in and help the Solomon Island Government. Meantime, the current Prime Minister of the Island, Manasseh Sogavare has announced a 36-hour immediate lockdown of the island.
On the other hand, Morrison has highlighted that the deployment of troops is not meant to interfere in the internal affairs of the island. Instead, they are just there to help in maintaining the peace.
The head of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce, the protests are being a setback to the Island’s already ailing economy.
The Relationship Between China And the Solomon Island Protests
The Solomon Islands has been recorded to be much aligned to Taiwan. But, in 2019 Sogavare decided to form an alliance with China. In turn, the Chinese were going to award the island US$500 million as a form of financial aid.
But, the Island lost its long time allegiance to Taiwan. Therefore, a lot of the Solomons were not happy about this.
This is not the first time that Australia is lending hand to the Solomon Island government. In 2003, a peacekeeping mission was deployed by Australia as part of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
Eventually, things seemed to have gotten back to normal and it was aborted. Hopefully, the Island can find a common standing and everything goes back to normal.
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