Prime Minister of Soloman Islands Manasseh Sogavare
Earthquake in Pacific's Solomon Islands Prompts Tsunami Warnings Photo by Eduardo Munoz - Pool/Getty Images

Three burned bodies were found in a building razed by fire in the Chinatown district of the Solomon Islands. Australian police reported the fatalities during a row of violent protests that have gripped the capital of Honiara in civil unrest for the third day Friday. Authorities are investigating the cause of death of the victims while they try to identify their bodies.

Solomon Islands police media officer Desmond Rave said they have no further information yet about the victims. "Honiara is quite tense at the moment, but the city is getting back to normal," he said.

Australian police have taken control of the capital since Friday as crowds gathered at Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s residence calling for his resignation. A spokesperson for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) said fire trucks have been sent to the Prime Minister’s residence as a safety measure while reassuring that the rioters had already moved out of Chinatown.

Looting and burning of shops have ensued leading to the arrest of more than 100 people. Troops from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) arrived in Honiara Friday with soldiers from the Army's 3rd Brigade, 6th Brigade, and 17th Brigade joining together as part of the "emergency assistance mission." Australian peacekeepers have been deployed after the Prime Minister's residence had come under attack as large parts of the capital have succumbed to chaos.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said he has also deployed a security team to the Solomon Islands at the request of their government.

Meanwhile, a nightly curfew has been imposed and officials have advised all public servants to stay home as the government pulls efforts to ease tensions in the streets. The new curfew which took effect Friday will run from 7 pm to 6 am whereby only authorized officers will be allowed to move around the city.

According to CNN, many of the protesters come from the province of Malaita who feel overlooked by the government.

Despite efforts from security forces, resistance in Honiara carries on as protesters voice out their resentment towards the government. Demonstrators are pushing for the rights of self-determination of the Malaita people as they call for the resumption of projects in the province. At the same time, they have also demanded the government to limit ties with China and resume diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

File picture of Manasseh Sogavare
Veteran politician Manasseh Sogavare speaks at a press conference inside the Parliament House in Honiara, Solomons Islands on April 24, 2019. - The election of veteran politician Manasseh Sogavare as the new prime minister of the Solomon Islands sparked violent protests in the capital Honiara, with riot police deployed in a bid to maintain order. Photo by Robert Taupongi / AFP via Getty Images

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