Burma Times Correspondent: June 15, 2015
Buddhist nationalists held a mass rally in the state capital Akyab on Sunday protesting the ‘rescue’ of migrants by the government.
Last month, following intense international pressure, the navy intercepted two ships within a space of one week.
Flyers asked Buddhists to stand up against the Muslims and referred to the Bangladeshis and Rohingyas as ‘Kalar’ a derogatory term meaning dark skinned people.
Background to protests
After the rescue of the first ship, the government whisked away around 150 migrants they could identify as Rohingyas. After the Rohingyas were removed, the international media and UN arrived on the scene to find only the Bangladeshis.
The affair caused much embarrassment as the removal of Rohingyas was soon exposed. Later the Reuters confirmed more migrants left behind as Rohingyas. Later the Bangladesh government also confirmed some of the citizens as Rohingyas.
So when the second ship was brought in, the government was more cautious and did not make any sudden comment about the national identity of the migrants. But this infuriated Buddhist nationalists who regard both Bangladeshis and Rohingyas as Bengalis. This caused them to launch protests against the rescue of migrants.
The protesters want all the migrants to be deported to Bangladesh.