Protests against the Direct China flight has escalated in Auki, the provincial capital of Malaita Province. A memo, said to be from the Malaita for Democracy (M4D) Movement, was widely circulated yesterday with the heading ‘Auki evacuation protest notice’.

“As part of our stand against China’s dealing within this country, we are staging an evacuation protest to all Chinese citizens who are currently residing and operating businesses in Auki. All Chinese business operators are asked to leave Auki of Malaita province to Honiara within the next 24 hours”, the notice says.

The notice says M4D is protesting the Solomon Islands flight to China that left yesterday. Since switching allegiance from Taiwan to PRC, the M4D grouping has been vocal on issues relating to China.

The M4D’s protest comes at a time when the Malaita Premier made an announcement that his government will soon conduct a provincial wide referendum on the topic of Malaita independence.

The Premier of Malaita Province Daniel Suidani made the announcement yesterday.

Premier Suidani said this comes as Malaita province continues to be pressured by the National Government to accept PRC into Malaita Province.

Suidani says Malaita province already made its stance clear in the Auki Communique.

He says the Auki Communique clearly states that they reject the PRC and its formal systems.

“It is time for Malaita people to see whether they are still willing to be part of a country where its leadership is becoming dictatorial”, Suidani says.

“The Malaita Auki Communique clearly outlined Malaita Province issues around leadership, development aspirations and the upholding of our fundamental rights, freedoms and beliefs”, the Premier says.

The Malaita provincial government though concerned about the unsigned notice by M4D has always been supportive of the group.

In November 2019 when the group made a submission for self-determination, Suidani said as a responsible government, he sees the interests of his people as paramount and he will push behind the wishes of his people.

Premier Suidani says that the referendum exercise by the Malaita provincial government will be conducted this month.