–Planned protest foiled
-Honiara-based Malaita group to resubmit petition
-Group denies yesterday’s crowd
BY JARED KOLI
Another petition is in the works directed at the Prime Minister.
This outcome follows yesterday’s successful quelling of a planned protest march by police.
Leaders of the so-called Honiara-based Malaitans group, which was reportedly behind yesterday’s planned march, say they are working to include their names and signatures and resubmit their petition.
Interestingly, the ad hoc Honiara-Malaitans group have denied any part in the rowdy crowd which gathered at the Kukum market area yesterday, geared up to march for the prime minister’s office.
A spokesman for the group, Noxly Atu said they have been in dialogue since Thursday last week because the Prime Minister reportedly did not receive the petition they had handed his office on July 23, 2021. It was also reported that the petition was not properly signed.
“Because of this we are working on it to have our group leaders to sign it, and we will resubmit it to the Prime Minister tomorrow [today],” said Mr Atu.
The initial petition was reportedly submitted to the Prime Minister two weeks ago, July 23 and copied to the Opposition leader, Police Commissioner and the Honiara City Mayor.
Only Opposition Leader Matthew Wale and the Honiara City Mayor have acknowledged receiving their copies of the petition.
On Sunday a crowd of Honiara-Malaitans met with senior officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at the new Kukum market where they dialogued following the petition.
Police told the crowd and leaders of the Honiara-based Malaitan group to allow time to sort things out.
Yesterday, a rowdy crowd gathered again at the Kukum market area with plans to stage a protest march to the Office of the Prime Minister.
A heavy police presence was at the scene and officers managed to calm the crowd and disperse them with help of the group leaders.
Inspector Tex Tafoa told the crowd that public assembly is not allowed while the State of Public Emergency (SOPE) exists.
He said Police will work together with leaders of the Honiara-Malaitans to give the signed petition to the Commissioner of Police, who will then submit it to the Prime Minister when it is ready.
Another spokesman of the group, Lawrence Makili appealed to the crowd not to take the law into their own hands.
“Let us respect the law ….and do things lawfully and within the law.
“We must do things proper, don’t rush with it, now we the organising group will put our names in that petition so that they respond to the group. We will sit and put names and signatories in the petition,” Makili said.
Meanwhile, Atu said the large gathering of the rowdy crowd at Kukum yesterday was not from them.
He appealed to his good people of Malaita in Honiara to calm down and keep out from involving in such unlawful gathering and allow them to sort out the petition and resubmit to the Prime Minister.
Commissioner of Police Mostyn Mangau in a media statement yesterday strongly asked those who intend to join the protest to refrain.
“The planned protest was illegal under the Procession Act and the current State of Public Emergency Regulation. RSIPF will not tolerate such illegal activities that threatens Public Safety and National Security. The Police is on top of the situation and have advice the organisers not to progress with any protest whatsoever.
Commissioner Mangau said there are factors that we must take into consideration when people want to stage protest or wish to march through the streets of Honiara. Request for permission to stage any public protest must be received by the Provincial Secretary and the Provincial Police Commander (PPC) within 48 hours before the event takes place. In the case of Honiara, the request must be received by the Honiara Council City Clerk and the PPC Honiara City for further assessments before any protest could be allowed to take place “I assure the good citizens of Solomon Islands especially in Honiara that the situation in the capital city is ‘business as usual’ but police will continue to closely monitor the situation.”