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PNG police join Australian effort to calm Solomon Islands unrest

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November 27, 2021

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Police from Papua New Guinea joined an Australian-led effort to help restore calm in the Solomon Islands on Friday, where the capital Honiara was placed under curfew following three days of violent protests in the South Pacific island nation.

Some 50 officers from the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary arrived in Honiara, a day after Australia sent its own forces to the capital, both in response to a request by the Solomon Islands government.

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“Australia and Papua New Guinea are concerned about the violent turn that protests have taken in Honiara and jointly emphasise the importance of resolving tensions peacefully,” Papua New Guinea’s minister for foreign affairs Soroi Eoe, and Australian foreign minister Marise Payne said.

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“We are aiming to help restore calm and allow normal constitutional processes to operate,” they said in a joint statement. 

Buildings in the Chinatown neighbourhood were looted and burnt during the rioting in the capital. Many of the protesters come from the most populous province of Malaita, where there is resentment toward the government in Guadalcanal province and opposition to its 2019 decision to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal links with China.

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(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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