SITTWE / AP
Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists in a Myanmar state wracked by religious violence protested against the government’s plan to give citizenship to some members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority community. Rakhine state’s dominant Arakan National Party led the protest in Sittwe, the state capital, where many Rohingya lived before an outbreak of inter-communal violence in 2012 forced them to flee their homes. “We are protesting to tell the government to rightfully follow the 1982 citizenship law and we cannot allow the government giving citizenship cards to these illegal migrants,” said Aung Htay, a protest organizer.
The Rohingya face severe discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, with many in Rakhine and elsewhere considering them to be illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh, even though Rohingya have been in Myanmar for generations. The 2012 violence killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people from their homes to camps for the internally displaced, where most remain.