Protests Greet Aid Ship for Myanmar’s Rohingya
YANGON: Anti-Rohingya protesters gathered at a Yangon port on Thursday to meet a Malaysian ship carrying aid for thousands of refugees from the persecuted Muslim minority fleeing a bloody military crackdown.
Dozens of Buddhist monks and demonstrators waving national flags and signs reading “No Rohingya” congregated at the Thilawa port waiting for the ship to dock.
Hundreds of Rohingya are thought to have been killed in a brutal four-month campaign by security forces that the UN says may amount to ethnic cleansing.
Tens of thousands have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh bringing harrowing tales of murder and rape.
“We want to let them know that we have no Rohingya here,” a Buddhist monk named Thuseitta, from the Yangon chapter of the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union, told AFP at the docks.
Myanmar denies citizenship to the million-strong Rohingya, despite many of them living on its soil for generations.
Buddhist nationalist groups are especially strong in their vitriol, portraying them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya has sparked criticism from Muslim-majority Malaysia, in a rare spat between Southeast Asian neighbours.
The Nautical Aliya set off from Malaysia last week carrying 2,200 tonnes of rice, medical aid and clothing along with hundreds of health workers and activists.
Part of the aid will be unloaded in Yangon and transported overland to the north of Rakhine state, site