Political News

The Latest: Rohingya rally outside Australian Parliament

Posted September 4

— The Latest on violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state and the resulting flood of ethnic Rohingya refugees into neighboring Bangladesh (all times local):

noon

Around 300 protesters from Australia's Rohingya community have rallied outside Parliament House and called on the government to intervene to prevent violence against Myanmar's Muslim minority.

Protest spokesman Ahsan Haque says: "They actually are ethnically cleansing and eradicating the whole Rohingya race."

The Australian government is being asked to pressure the Myanmar government into ending the persecutions or to withdraw Australian aid.

The Australian government did not immediately respond to the protesters demands.

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10:45 a.m.

Several hundred Muslim women are demonstrating outside Myanmar's embassy in Indonesia to protest the persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority.

Dozens of armed police are guarding the embassy in Jakarta, which is cordoned behind barbed wire, after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at it on Sunday.

Protesters, organized by an Islamic group called Friends of Muslim Rohingya, shouted "Save Rohingya," and held big banners that read, "Unite the people to free Rohingya Muslims" and "Stop Muslim genocide in Myanmar!"

Farida, a protest organizer who uses one name, called on the government of Muslim-majority Indonesia to put pressure on authorities in Myanmar to end the violence in Rakhine state.

The violence and the exodus began after Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar police and paramilitary posts in what they said was an effort to protect their ethnic minority from persecution by security forces in the majority Buddhist country. In response, Myanmar's military unleashed what it called "clearance operations."

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7:10 p.m.

The foreign minister of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has flown to Myanmar to discuss the crisis in Rakhine state with the country's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

There is mounting concern in Indonesia about a military crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine that has forced tens of thousands to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

A Foreign Ministry statement said Retno Marsudi flew to Myanmar on Sunday afternoon at the request of Indonesia's president and plans to meet with several government figures including Suu Kyi.

The statement says Marsudi held talks with Indonesia's major Muslim organizations on Saturday who are calling on Myanmar's government to immediately restore security in Rakhine.

Separately, Indonesian police have tightened security outside the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the mission early Sunday morning.

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1:45 p.m.

Aid officials say relief camps are reaching full capacity as thousands of Rohingya refugees continue to pour into Bangladesh fleeing violence in western Myanmar.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Vivian Tan says some 73,000 people have crossed the border since violence erupted Aug. 25. Another aid official said earlier that more than 50 refugees have arrived with bullet injuries and have been moved to hospitals in Cox's Bazar.

Refugees reaching the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip described bombs exploding and Rohingya Muslims being burned alive in a military crackdown.

Both Myanmar's security officials and Rohingya insurgents are accusing each other of atrocities in Myanmar's Rakhine state. The military has said nearly 400 people, most of them insurgents, have died in clashes following rebel attacks on security posts.

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