Monday, August 20, 2012

Arakanese demonstrate against UN, INGOs

Monday, 20 August 2012 12:39 Mizzima News    

A group of about 50 ethnic Rakhine in Rangoon on Sunday called for the UN and INGOs to stop discriminating against Arakanese in western Burma's strife-torn region.

The demonstration took place near a regional parliament building, with protesters holding banners saying: “Stop Creating Conflicts” and “Don't Bring Terrorists To Our Land.”

Ethnic Rakhine hold signs and banners at a protest rally in Rangoon against UN assistance to stateless Rohingya  on Monday, August 19, 2012. Fighting between Buddhists and Muslims has left about 87 people from both sides dead since June, according to official estimates. Photo: AFP

“We're calling for an end to discrimination by the UN against the Rakhine people,” Zaw Aye Maung, a politician representing the mostly Buddhist ethnic group, told Agency France Presse (AFP).

A demonstration leader told the Narinjara news agency: “We held a demonstration on Sunday morning, marching from Central Street in San Chaung Township through Shin Saw Pu Street up to Pyiy Street. Over 100 people, some wearing our campaign T shirts, participated in our demonstration."

Demonstrators wore T-shirts that read “We love Justice, UN/INGO Stop Discriminations against Arakanese," while holding placards and banners that read “Don’t Bring Terrorism to Our Land."

“We have held this demonstration because the UN and other INGOs operating in Arakan State are unfair and are perpetuating discrimination against the Arakanese people,” said one protestor.

This weekend, the Burmese government appointed a 27-member commission to look into the causes of the conflict and to propose solutions to the community mistrust between Buddhists and Muslims.

Fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state has left about 87 people from both sides dead since June, according to an official estimates, although rights groups fear the real toll is much higher.

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