Australia announced on Thursday it was sending troops, police and diplomats to the Solomon Islands. It has taken this step after anti-government protesters violated the lockdown and violently demonstrated on the streets for the second consecutive day. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that as part of Australia’s deployment to the island country, 23 officers of the Federal Police and about 50 other security personnel will be deployed to protect critical infrastructure sites.
Along with this 43 soldiers of the armed forces, patrol boats and at least five diplomats will be sent. Morrison said the first deployment of officers would take place on Thursday night and more security personnel would take up their duties on Friday. Their deployment was being expected for the past several weeks. “The aim is to maintain stability and security,” he said.
PM imposed lockdown on Wednesday
Morrison said Australia was assisting Solomon under the bilateral security agreement at the request of the prime minister and did not intend to interfere in Solomon’s internal affairs. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Maniseh Sogware announced the lockdown on Wednesday. He took this step after about a thousand protesters gathered in the capital Honiara and demanded their resignation over domestic issues.
Plumes of smoke seen in the video
According to the Solomon Islands government, protesters entered the national parliament building and set fire to the roof of a nearby building. They also torched the police station and other buildings. A video of this also surfaced in which plumes of smoke and dark clouds can be seen after the fire. Rioters torched buildings in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara on Thursday, targeting the city’s Chinatown district on a second day of anti-government protests.