YANGON, Burma (AP) — Several hundred protesters in Burma’s main city are denying that boat people arriving on Southeast Asian shores are Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say does not exist.
About 30 radical Buddhist monks led the rally Wednesday in Yangon. Protesters carried banners reading, “The boat people are not from Burma” and “The United Nations and the international media are making up stories!”
Burma has experienced a surge in Buddhist nationalism since it began moving from dictatorship toward democracy four years ago. Hundreds of Rohingya have been killed and 140,000 forced to flee their homes.
In recent weeks, 3,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis fleeing persecution and poverty at home have landed in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.