Sun, Oct 23, 2016 | updated 11:39 AM IST

Myanmar's Nationalist take to streets, ask govt. to listen to 'voice of the people' over Rakhine issue

Updated: Jul 11, 2016 12:23 IST

Naypyidaw (Myanmar), July 11 (ANI): Nationalists in Myanmar carried out a protest march and asked the government to roll back its decision on self-identifying Rohingyas as "Muslims in Rakhine State". They accused the new government of failing to listen to the voices of the people who had voted the NLD to power.

The protesters said "Bengali," officially used by the previous government to address the Muslims of Rakhine, must remain the condoned terminology, reports the Myanmar Times.

Rakhine State is home to about a million stateless Muslims who self-identify as Rohingyas and are reviled by Rakhine Buddhists.

The government has sought to defuse the row over the term "Rohingya", by ordering officials and foreign dignitaries to refer the Muslim community in the restive province as "Muslim communities in Rakhine", a move that incited a series protests from the ethnic Buddhists.

The protesting crowd took to the Kabaraye Pagoda Road flashing Rakhine State flags and bright red vinyl posters saying, "Government!!! Immediately cancel specifying Muslim Community in Rakhine State [sic]," and "Be careful Myanmar Ethnic, there is no place for illegal immigrant Bengalis".

Shortly after the march began the township police intervened, telling the protesters they had failed to obtain the necessary approval to stage the demonstration but after some negotiations, they were granted permission to continue the march.

"The government should listen and implement our demands if it is truly the people's government which has been supported by the people in the election up to now. [Our demand] is in the best interest of all the nationalities of Myanmar," said Ko Naung Taw Lay, the secretary of the Myanmar Nationalist Network.

The protest was organised by the Nationalist Network and Myanmar Patriotic Monk Association as well as nationalist monks from Yangon, Bagan and Ayeyarwady regions.

The organisers said that a statement expressing the group's demands will soon be sent to President U Htin Kyaw. (ANI)