Friday, June 15, 2012

Bloody Clashes Between Muslims and Buddhists Threaten Myanmar

Tension on Myanmar still happening this Monday (11/6) after sectarian violence hit the country's biggest city at the end of last week. Reuters himself witnessed a mass of Muslims and Buddhists burning each other's houses and police giving shots into the air to disperse the crowd.

At least seven people were killed and wounded, authorities said, in the worst communal violence since reformist governments replaced the military junta last year and pledged to form unity in one of the most ethnically diverse Asian countries.

Clashes erupted last Friday in the town of Maungdaw in Rakhine state, but later spread to Sittwe and nearby villages, prompting the government to declare an emergency late Sunday and imposed a curfew from dawn to dusk.
"We have now ordered troops to protect the airport and Rakhine villages that were attacked in Sittwe," Zaw Htay, director of the President's Office, told Reuters. "Arrangements are being made to impose a curfew in several other cities."

It could also force President Thein Sein, a reformist ex-general, to face the issue that human rights groups have criticized for years: the exodus of thousands of stateless Rohingya Muslims who live along the border with Bangladesh in pathetic conditions.
Last Sunday, Britain urged the government in Rakhine state to open a dialogue to ease sectarian violence.

Rohingya activists themselves have long demanded their recognition as an indigenous ethnic group with citizenship full of equal rights, claiming their descendants have been in Rakhine for centuries. But the government regards them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies their citizenship.

In recent days, they have been described as "invaders" or "terrorists" by some Burmese who use the freedom to express themselves on the Internet while venting their anger on social networking sites and expressing anti-Rohingya sentiments that have worsened for decades.

Eramuslim / The Truth Seeker Media

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