Friday night’s rioting is well planned - Solomon Star News

Friday night’s rioting is well planned

17 May 2014

The rioting that occurred on Friday night seemed well planned and speaks volume of the lawlessness that still exists in the country and especially in certain communities like Burns Creek.

Late Friday afternoon, it was reported that certain individuals went and stole some money from one of the shops at the King George area.

In Chinatown, shop owners who were alerted of the threat quickly closed their doors and called it a day.

By 7.30pm disgruntled men broke into shops just opposite to the King George bus stop(formerly known as Uncle Alick) and started looting.

The looters went and served themselves with whatever they can get hold of.

Along the road to Burns Creek you can see men, women and children carrying what are believed to be stolen from the shops.

After the looters emptied the shop around 8.30pm, they set the building on fire.

Eye witnesses said they were surprised to see these looters loot with ease, comfort, without fearing anything.

“They acted like people just walking away with something they own and went back home,” one eye witness said.

“Surprisingly there was no presence of the police the whole time this incident happened. Police came nearly four hours later when the building was already emptied and set alight,” another eye witness said.

Describing it as a moment of madness, the police and authorities totally failed the business people whose properties were destroyed.

Sources close to this paper revealed that those involved in the Friday night rioting were disgruntled men from the recent flash floods who used to reside at the Panatina pavilion, whose demands were not met by the government and relevant authorities.

The incident seemed to have shocked and caught the police by surprise.

On their arrival the Police Response team managed to move the angry mob back to the Burns Creek Area.

The fire service too were there trying to put out the fire, but they came too late.

The Sunday Star closely followed the police as they took on the mob.

As fire fighters worked to put off the fire, the Police Response Team (PRT) too was facing resistance from the angry mob who put a few road blocks starting from the SIFF academy and on towards Burns Creek.

Although the fire fighters tried to save part of the building, they couldn’t for reasons that they were only using two fire trucks and that they havd to ran all the way to collect water from an outlet near Tanakake road close to Bishop Brothers warehouse which took too much time.

Two fire trucks were seen on the night but could not save the building. However the fire fighters managed to control the fire from spreading to other nearby buildings.

Whilst the fire fighters were struggling with the fire, the Police Response Team(PRT) continued to push the angry mob backwards using tear gas.

It was a very tense and dangerous situation ever to happen at night and in the mob’s territory which posed a very high risk to police' lives.

The assistance of a chopper flying over the scene helped the police to find their targets.

During the course of the encounter, the rioters nearly overthrew the PRT, forcing them to retreat from the King George Market to the King George bus stop a much safer place for the police to station with watchful eyes.

It was a really tense and testing time for the PRT who for the first time faced such a situation, having to do all they could to keep the angry mob from causing any more problems to innocent people and properties.

 The PRT remained alert for the entire night till day break.

The roads were cleared for traffic at 7am on Saturday.

The incident left many people stranded on both ends of town.

This paper, which is printed at our Lungga centre, could not make it to print until 8am yesterday.

The rioters made several road blocks from the KG Sixth school to Burns Creek but these were cleared off by daybreak.