Son dakika Solomon Islands' capital under curfew after three days of riots SonDakika-Haberleri.Net
A night-time curfew has entered into force in the Solomon Islands' restive capital Honiara, after a third day of violence that saw the prime minister's home come under attack and swathes of the city reduced to smouldering ruins.
Police fired warning shots and tear gas on Friday to scatter rioters who marched on the house of embattled leader Manasseh Sogavare in the east of the usually sleepy seaside capital.
The mob set fire to at least one nearby building before being driven back towards the city centre, reporters witnessed.
Later, freshly arrived Australian police and soldiers moved to restore order, protecting critical infrastructure and providing a highly visible and heavily armed presence on the streets.
As rain fell in the early evening, local authorities moved to stamp out the embers of violence, declaring a night-time curfew in Honiara that will remain in force "until revoked".
Mobs had ignored an earlier 36-hour lockdown, with thousands of people ≠ some brandishing axes and knives – roaming through the city's Chinatown, Point Cruz and business districts, according to AFP correspondents on the scene.
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"Most people are barely getting one meal a day, there are no tourists and very little economic stimulus," Douglas Kelson, chief officer at St John Ambulance Service, told AFP news agency.
"People do things they normally wouldn't when they are hungry," Kelson said, though he had seen very few injuries.
The explosion of violence is partly a result of frustrations with Sogavare's government and chronic unemployment – made worse by a two-year-old pandemic.
In an address to the nation Sogavare told citizens the Solomons had been "brought to its knees" by the rioting, but vowed to resist call s for his resignation.
The pro-Beijing leader claimed foreign powers opposed to his 2019 decision to switch the Solomons' diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China were behind the disturbances.