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Friday, 16 January 2015

Myanmar monks lead protest decrying UN envoy's visit..........

Hundreds of protesters led by Buddhist monks rallied in Myanmar on Friday to denounce a visit by a human rights envoy of the United Nations(UN), which has urged the government to grant citizenship to persecuted Rohingya Muslims.
Hundreds of protesters led by Buddhist monks rallied in Myanmar on Friday to denounce a visit by a human rights envoy of the United Nations(UN), which has urged the government to grant citizenship to persecuted Rohingya Muslims.
Crowds roared and pumped their fists in the air as Ashin Wirathu, an extremist monk known for railing against Muslims, delivered an impassioned speech in Yangon attacking the UN and
its Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, who is concluding a 10-day visit to the country.
The scenes demonstrate a surge in Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar, where monks carry considerable influence and were revered for their moral integrity during the five decades when the country was under brutal and corrupt military rule.
Protests were outlawed until the civilian-led government that took office in 2011 lifted the ban. But that has given rise to a Buddhist movement that has taken aim at Muslims, who make
up about 5% of Myanmar's population of 53 million.
Sectarian violence since June 2012 has killed at least 240 people, mostly Muslims. The Rohingya are the worst affected. At least 140,000 were driven from their homes in western Rakhine state, where Lee faced similar protests last week.
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in November urging Myanmar's government to protect and grant citizenship to the Rohingyas, who number about 1.1 million. The UN call was rebuffed and caused outrage in the Buddhist-majority country, where many reject the name "Rohingya" and see them as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Some protesters on Friday dismissed them as "terrorists", echoing someMyanmar officials who believe militant elements are among them, a claim Rohingyaleaders refute.
Demonstrators held signs and wore shirts saying "stand together against Islam", with a cross over the UN logo. The back of the shirts read "don't use fake name for illegal immigrants Bangladeshi". Signs were held saying: "Kick Rohin-liars out".
The issue is a political hot potato for President Thein Sein, who was lauded internationally for his wide-ranging reforms but is now accused of being indifferent to the Rohingyas' plight. Helping them, however, could impact his government's domestic popularity.

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