Solomon Islands asks NZ for assistance amid ongoing unrest

The Solomon Islands has asked New Zealand for assistance amid ongoing rioting and looting.

A building in the Solomon Island parliamentary compound was set on fire by protesters.

Unrest around the capital, Honiara, began on Wednesday last week during a protest outside Parliament.

Many Malaitans in the crowd were angry that there’s been a lack of development in their province.

They’re not supportive of their Government’s decision to switch diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to China.

Protesters have called for Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to resign.

A spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said it is “urgently looking at options” to respond to the Solomon Islands request.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta spoke with her counterpart in the islands, Jeremiah Manele, last night (Tuesday).

“The civil unrest and riots in Honiara are deeply concerning, and the New Zealand High Commission there continues to monitor the situation closely,” MFAT said.

Via SafeTravel, New Zealand’s High Commission in Honiara is advising New Zealanders in the Solomon Islands to avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and follow the instructions of the local authorities.

Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji have already deployed police and defence personnel.

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