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Fiji Dispatches Troops to Honiara as Solomon Islands Announces State of Public Emergency Until March

© AP Photo / Piringi CharleyA building burns in Chinatown, in the capital city of Honiara, Solomon Islands, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021.
A building burns in Chinatown, in the capital city of Honiara, Solomon Islands, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.11.2021
Three people were killed and several injured in massive protests in Honiara that erupted last week, demanding Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's resignation. The four-term prime minister has blamed foreign powers for the violent rioting to topple his government.
A total of 50 Fijian troops will be sent to the Solomon Islands to maintain law and order in the wake of deadly anti-government riots, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced on Monday.
Bainimarama said that troops, led by Major Toni Keve, will be embedded with the Australian Defence Force present on the ground to assist the Solomon Islands Police in curbing the unrest.
The prime minister said that reinforcements are being sent "out of concern for the safety and well-being of our Pacific sisters and brothers in the Solomon Islands".
The PM has also put another 120 troops on standby for deployment to help maintain security in Honiara.
Papua New Guinea has also deployed 34 soldiers to the Pacific Island nation.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made a direct request for assistance from the Australian government on Thursday after rioters burned and destroyed houses and businesses in Honiara, primarily in Chinatown.
Smoke rises from burning buildings in Chinatown of Solomon Islands' capital Honiara, Solomon Islands, November 25, 2021 in this picture obtained from a social media video. @Zfm Radio My Favourite Music Station via REUTERS   - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
Solomon Islands Gripped by Anti-China Protests as US Keeps Largely Mum
On Sunday, Sogavare reiterated that the violent rioting that swept the capital Honiara had been "orchestrated to remove me as the prime minister for unsubstantiated reasons".
The prime minister additionally extended the state of public emergency for the next four months on Monday.

"I want to show the nation that the government is fully intent and nothing will move us. We must and will never bow down to the evil intention of a few people", Sogavare said in an address broadcast to the Pacific island nation.

During the three days of violent protests, which claimed at least three lives, demonstrators set alight the canteen of the parliament and police stations. They also attempted to torch the prime minister's private residence in the Lunga area.
As per the government's estimates, the violence has caused $28 million in damage and destroyed 1,000 jobs.
At present, the situation has somewhat stabilised, and residents and local authorities have started clean-up operations in the hard-hit district of Chinatown.
The protesters, primarily from the nation's most populous province Malaita, accused the Sogavare government of showing bias towards the region and neglecting their sentiments over foreign policy. Sogavare switched the country's diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to mainland China in 2019, angering the people of Malaita, who have a cultural relationship with Taipei.

'Tragic Situation' Has Political, Not Military Solution: Opposition Leader

On Saturday, the leader of the opposition, Matthew Wale, called for a vote of no confidence in the PM.
Wale said he still does not have the numbers for such a motion to pass, after only three resignations from Sogavare's government so far.
The opposition leader said this "tragic situation will remain without a political solution, even with foreign forces supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to regain control and maintain order in Honiara".
Without naming any country, Sogavare had earlier claimed that foreign powers opposed to his 2019 decision to switch the country's diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing, were behind the violence.
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