3 Dec 2007

Honiara unrest not politically motivated, say Solomons police

7:10 pm on 3 December 2007

The Solomon Islands deputy police commissioner says that violence in Honiara's Chinatown area at the weekend was not politically or racially motivated.

This follows an incident on Saturday night when a large crowd who had just attended a soccer match at Lawson Tama stadium began fighting and throwing rocks while moving towards Chinatown.

Peter Marshall says that local police were out-numbered and had to call for assistance from their RAMSI counterparts who then helped them bring the crowd of around 500 under control.

Mr Marshall says police have had an increased presence around Honiara in recent weeks due to the political situation.

"So we've had high visibility policing over the last three and a half weeks and Saturday was a situation whereby we were well prepared for what happened because of that lead-up period. But again I want to stress there was no suggestion of any political... what we had was a number of people under the influence of liquor, a little bit rubbery-lipped, shall we say, about the final soccer result, nothing more, nothing less."

Peter Marshall