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Protests continue in Solomon Islands (CR)

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Solomon Island protesters defy capital lockdown

The Solomon Islands imposed a 36-hour lockdown in its capital Honiara on Wednesday evening.The move comes in the wake of violent protests calling for Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to resign. Solomon Islanders defied the lockdown and protested in the capital for a second day on Thursday.A day earlier, video obtained by Reuters showed crowds demonstrating near the Pacific nation’s parliament.Buildings were also set on fire including a police station, and shops were reportedly looted.The protesters are angry about a host of domestic issues, including unrealised infrastructure promises. But the civil unrest is also linked to a broader geopolitical tussle. The government has faced pressure from the province of Malaita, where many protesters had travelled from, over its decision to cut ties with Taiwan two years ago while establishing formal relations with China. Malaita, the country’s most populous island, had rejected the change in diplomatic ties, instead aligning itself with the United States and calling for its own independence.Both Beijing and Washington have sought Pacific allies in order to amass influence in the region.

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