16 Nov 2011

Solomon Islands police quell riot over election of new PM

7:38 pm on 16 November 2011

Solomon Islands police are maintaining a bolstered presence on the streets of Honiara after quelling a riot following the election of Gordon Darcy Lilo as Prime Minister.

Businesses in the capital shut their doors soon after it was announced that Mr Lilo had won the parliamentary vote to replace Danny Philip as Prime Minister.

Protestors, including a group of Malaitans, had threatened to continue their riot, if the newly elected Prime Minister wasn't removed by the Governor General.

The Governor General, Frank Kabui, addressed the protestors and told them he had no power to do that.

This triggered a rampage by a breakaway group of the protestors in central Honiara where some businesses were damaged.

Our correspondent Koroi Hawkins says a group of mainly opportunists began clashing with the police response team who managed to dispersed them without much further trouble.

"The group which took on the crowd was about twenty Solomon Islands riot police against about 500 rioters, protestors with rocks, and they prevailed. They pushed them back up nto the hill above Lawson Tama (stadium) and shot about eight cannisters of tear gas into the group up on the hill and they seem to have dispersed after that."

Koroi Hawkins says at least one police officer was injured from being hit with a rock.