Foreign powers blamed for Solomon Islands unrest

Manasseh Sogavare

Canberra: Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday blamed foreign interference over his government’s decision to switch alliances from Taiwan to Beijing for anti-government protests that have ravaged the capital Honiara.

But critics also blamed the unrest on complaints of a lack of government services and accountability, corruption and Chinese businesses giving jobs to foreigners instead of locals.

External pressures were a very big … influence. I don’t want to name names. We’ll leave it there, Sogavare said.

I’m not going to bow down to anyone. We are intact, the government’s intact and we’re going to defend democracy, he added.

Some observers argue Australia intervened quickly to avoid Chinese security forces moving in to restore order.

But Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sogavare had asked for help because he trusted Australia.

That is our region and we’re standing up to secure our region with our partners, our friends, our family and allies, he added.