Monday, 3 December 2007 9:40 AM

Police Move Quickly to Settle Violent Crowd

The Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) have responded quickly to settle a potentially violent situation in Honiara on Saturday night.

This follows the violent behaviour by some members of the crowd after the Malaita Eagles and West Honiara match of the current Under-23 Our Telekom Cup Football tournament on Saturday at Lawson Tama.

According to General Secretary of the Solomon Islands Football Federation, Eddie Ngava, the unforeseen violent incident stemmed from lack of understanding by some spectators who do not know the rules of the game and how game officials made decisions.

Some spectators reacted moments following the final whistle for the end of the game, which saw West Honiara defeating Malaita Eagles one-nil.

A large crowd of people were fighting and throwing rocks near Lawson Tama around 7:00pm after the soccer game.

It was reported that patrolling police were outnumbered by the crowd and were forced to retreat to Chinatown Police Post to call for assistance from their RAMSI counterparts.

As part of a well practiced plan, RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF) and RAMSI military response teams arrived as the crowd was moving into Chinatown.

The PPF and RAMSI military response teams joined with the SIPF officers who then quickly brought the situation under control.

Police then appealed to the crowd to disperse which they did.

Two men were taken to Central Police Station for questioning but were later released.

SIPF Deputy Commissioner, Peter Marshall, said that there were no reported injuries.

Mr. Marshall said there was great cooperation between SIPF and the RAMSI PPF and military, adding that response was fast and appropriate for the situation.

"I worked very closely with the PPF Commander during the incident and we are confident that we are in a position to respond to situations like this and deal with them accordingly," he said.

Police said that they have no information to suggest that the incident was politically motivated, but more likely related to the soccer game that had taken place earlier.

PPF Commander Denis McDermott said that he was very pleased with the fast response to the situation.

"The PPF and the military are always prepared to support our SIPF counterparts. This was a good example of the high level of preparedness, cooperation and the ability we have to quickly respond to any situation where the SIPF require our support," he said.

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