Protest in Rangoon to call for an end to international pressure on Burma over the Bay of Bengal migr

Protest in Rangoon to call for an end to international pressure on Burma over the Bay of Bengal migrant crisis. (Photo: Phyu Zin Poe)

Around 300 people joined a protest in Yangon to call for an end to international pressure on Myanmar over the Bay of Bengal migrant crisis.

They chanting on the way to Kyaikkasan Ground in Tamwe in Yangon: "Those who support Bagali are our enemies... UN should not be biased...We do not want unfair pressure... Rohingya is not in Myanmar... Don't insult to our country... Don't insult to our people.. Go away boat people."

All of them are wearing shirts that read “Boat People are not Myanmar, Stop Blaming Myanmar”. 

The United Nations has describes the Muslim Rohingya as one most persecuted people in the world. 

Most of them have lived in Rakhine state, in western Myanmar, for generations, yet have always been denied citizenship by the government. 

About 150,000 were pushed into refugee camps after two bouts of vicious ethnic violence in Rakhine state in 2012.

Since then increasing numbers have been trying to escape by sea to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. 

A mother of two, May Thandar Aye says she has joined the protest because he cares about her country.

"I want to support my nationalist brothers and sisters. I am concerned that the boat people will settle in this country and will not go back to the country they come from,” she said. 

The protest has been organized by Arakanese for “Golden Pagoda”, an umbrella group made up of ultra nationalist organizations like the Rakhine Youth, the Myanmar National Network and Protect the Arakan People.

"We heard that many foreign media are saying that these boat people are from Myanmar. The UN itself is saying that Myanmar should accept Rohingya’s in our country.  But Rohingya are not from Myanmar. They are not included among the 135 ethnic groups in our constitution.  Today, we want to tell the UN and foreign media that there is no Rohingya in this country,” said one of the organizers HtatArkar. 

Unlike previous student protests, this one received a police permit.  

Asia Calling requested an interview with police to ask them how they decide which protest is approved. But they requested to comment.

But organizer Htat Arkar says it’s clear this protest is on the government interest. 

"I think the government also wants to show their people that they do not accept Rohingya as their citizens. They officially say there is no Rohingya. We also follow this principle and we explained what we are doing to the police and formally ask for permission. We met their criteria so we got the permit,” he said.  

The word of Rohingya is controversial and most of Burmese language mainstream media did not use it in their outlet. They instead use the Bengali.


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