DHAKA • Angry Muslim protesters took to the streets, from Jakarta to Dhaka, yesterday to denounce Myanmar over allegations of indiscriminate killing and rape in a military crackdown on the country's Rohingya Muslim minority.
Around 5,000 Bangladeshi Muslims demonstrated in the capital Dhaka after Friday prayers, with hundreds more protesting in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok, accusing Myanmar of ethnic cleansing and genocide in its northern Rakhine state.
Malaysia's Cabinet also issued a statement condemning the violence. "Malaysia... calls on the government of Myanmar to take all necessary actions to address the alleged ethnic cleansing," it said.
It added that Myanmar's ambassador would be summoned over the crisis and that Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman would meet de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top Myanmar officials "at the earliest possible date".
Up to 30,000 Rohingya have abandoned their homes in Myanmar to escape the unfolding violence, said the United Nations, after troops poured into the narrow strip where they lived earlier this month.
PLIGHT OF THE ROHINGYA
The Rohingya are being treated like dogs, and are being killed.
MR ABU TAHIR, a 60-year-old Rohingya man who demonstrated with a chain coiled around his body, saying he had been cut off from his family in Rakhine since he fled two years ago.
Rohingya are denied citizenship and subject to harsh restrictions in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where many view them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.
The Dhaka protesters gathered outside the Baitul Mokarram mosque to demand an end to the violence, denounce Ms Suu Kyi and call for Bangladesh to accept fleeing Rohingya.
Around 500 Malaysians and Rohingya marched in heavy rain from a mosque in Kuala Lumpur to Myanmar's embassy, carrying banners denouncing the Rakhine "genocide". Mr Abu Tahir, a 60- year-old Rohingya man who demonstrated with a chain coiled around his body, said he had been cut off from his family in Rakhine since he fled two years ago.
"The Rohingya are being treated like dogs, and are being killed," he said, crying.
Mr Amir Hamzah, 60, who heads the Malaysian Muslims Coalition, a non-governmental organisation, said "the people of Malaysia strongly condemn" Myanmar's actions.
In Jakarta, around 200 demonstrators from Indonesian Islamic organisations protested outside Myanmar's embassy.
Chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), they called for the government of Indonesia to break off diplomatic ties with Myanmar and for Ms Suu Kyi's 1991 Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked.
"This genocide is happening to women, children and the elderly," said Ms Maya Hayati, a 34-year-old housewife.