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Yangon (Agenzia Fides) – The Rohingya are not Burmese and have no right to remain in Myanmar: proclaiming this slogan, several hundred Buddhist protesters, led by monks, marched through the streets of the main city of Myanmar, Yangon, demanding to deny hospitality to Muslim refugees of ethnic Rohingya, from days adrift in the seas of Southeast Asia. The Rohingya, a religious minority in Myanmar have been suffering harassment, oppression and violence by fundamentalist Buddhist groups for years, while the government continues to deny them the right to citizenship.
Myanmar has soared in Buddhist nationalism since it began to move from dictatorship to democracy, four years ago. The “969” movement emerged in particular among radical Buddhist groups, promoters of violence against Muslims. Hundreds of Rohingya, mostly residents in the state of Rakhine Burmese have been killed and 140,000 forced to flee their homes. The leader of the “969”, the monk Ashin Wirathu, had already been arrested on charges of incitement to violence against the Muslim community. The movement has proposed a boycott of economic activities of Muslim owners and promotes a “privileged social status” for Burmese Buddhists. In recent weeks, about three thousand refugees and Burmese Bengali Rohingya, fleeing poverty and violence, have sought refuge in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/05/2015)