Anger spans Asia over Myanmar’s violence against Rohingya Muslims

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Hundreds of protesters in Indonesia rallied for the third straight day on Monday as Muslim nations across Asia voiced growing concern over Myanmar’s brutal military crackdown against its Rohingya Muslim minority.

Outside the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta, the demonstrators, mostly hijab-clad women, demanded that the Indonesian government pressure neighboring Myanmar to stop the military operation that has sent tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to camps in Bangladesh for the second time in a year.

“We are here because of solidarity of Muslims,” said a demonstrator who gave her name as Mama Bahin.

The protests in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country reflected deepening outrage across Asia over the treatment of the Rohingya, an ethnic minority of about 1.1 million people in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar. But there was no immediate sign that the protests would sway Myanmar, which has ignored criticism of its treatment of the Rohingya for years.

The Rohingya — whom Myanmar characterizes as illegal immigrants even though many have lived there for generations — are denied citizenship and have been targeted by an escalating campaign of violence by security forces and Buddhist groups since 2012.

The latest crackdown began after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, killing 12 police officers. Myanmar authorities and pro-government vigilante groups responded with brutal force, setting fire to Rohingya villages and shooting civilians, according to accounts from human rights groups.

The United Nations said Monday that 87,000 Rohingya had crossed the border from Rakhine into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, further swelling overcrowded refugee camps and taking the total Rohingya exodus into Bangladesh since last October to 174,000. Bangladeshi authorities, who in the past have tried to block Rohingya from entering the country, are not stopping the new flow of refugees, in part because their numbers are so great.

Authorities in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, said that of almost 400 people killed since Aug. 25, nearly all are insurgents. Officials on Sunday accused insurgents of burning Buddhist monasteries and statues.


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