Solomon Islands protesters challenge capital lockdown
The Solomon Islands imposed a 36-hour lockdown in their capital Honiara on Wednesday evening. This decision comes following violent protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. Solomon Islands defied the lockdown and demonstrated in the capital for a second day on Thursday. A day earlier, a video obtained by Reuters showed crowds demonstrating near the parliament of the Pacific nation. Buildings were also set on fire, including a police station, and shops were reportedly looted. Protesters are angry at a host of national issues, including broken infrastructure pledges. But civil unrest is also linked to a larger geopolitical struggle. The government has come under pressure from Malaita province, where many protesters came from, following its decision to sever ties with Taiwan two years ago while establishing formal relations with China. Malaita, the most populous island in the country, had rejected the change in diplomatic relations, aligning instead with the United States and calling for its own independence. Beijing and Washington have sought Pacific allies in order to accumulate influence in the region.