Australian police caused Solomon Islands Riot – Part II

I have been searcing the news archive for the story last week that the Australian police caused the riot.

The first story I read is this one:
“Australian Solomons police criticised”

Disorganisation and cultural insensitivity among Australian police deployed in the Solomon Islands turned a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation on Tuesday, according to an Australian aid worker who witnessed the incident.

Mr Johnston, who was speaking to The Age by telephone from his home in Kukum, an Eastern suburb of Honiara, said the crowd were protesting peacefully until RAMSI officers tried to physically break the blockade.

“It appears that that’s when things got out of hand, when there were some more aggressive approach to the crowd while they were still negotiating through their own local representatives,” Mr Johnston said.

“When they brought a riot squad in and a lot of riot gear there was a noticeable change in tone,” he said.

“In Melanesian culture, you can shout as much as you want, but once you start shoving somebody… physical confrontation is a whole new level,” he said.

RAMSI officers, which includes police from Australia and other Pacific nations, fired tear gas on demonstrators who were blocking a driveway at the Parliament to prevent the departure of Prime Minister-elect Snyder Rini on Tuesday night.

The speaker of the Parliament, Sir Peter Kenilorea, had specifically ordered that tear gas not be used, as reported here on ABC:

Sir Peter Kenilorea says he asked RAMSI officers not to use tear gas against the protesters.

“I specifically spoke to the RAMSI police officers not to take hasty actions as they did,” he said.

“They should allow time for us to keep talking to the protesters at the Parliament House, not to use tear gas on them because it would simply aggravate the situation and it would simply take the Parliament situation or scene to the street.”

Sir Peter says he had to order the officers out of his office.

“They were trying to organise themselves in the Parliament building,” he said.

“I had to tell them to get the thing out of my office. It was Parliament House it’s not an army barracks, they should organise themselves outside.”

Australian Police Comissioner Mick Keelty has defended the riot police saying “I think they did a fantastic job.”


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