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South Africa, Senegal, Ghana march against Rohingya violence in Myanmar

South Africa, Senegal, Ghana march against Rohingya violence in Myanmar

Demonstration

Protest marches took place in some African countries including Senegal, South Africa, and Ghana against the violence by Myanmar security forces targeting the Rohingya Muslim-minority.

Thousands came out in the streets of Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Dakar and Accra in solidarity with the over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh to escape a seeming ethnic cleansing.

South Africa’s march was held last Wednesday and Friday with protesters demanding the intervention of the Myanmar government to end the violence.

One of the organisers of Wednesday’s Cape Town protest Hajji Allie told the media that they are also demanding the return of the Myanmar ambassador to South Africa to his country.

The protest in Pretoria on Friday was held outside the Myanmar Embassy.

In Dakar on Friday, the protesters from various religious organisations carried banners in solidarity with the Rohingya people as they marched from the central mosque in Dakar to the Obelisk Square.

The leaders read statements in French, Arabic and English denouncing the violence and demanding action by the international community as well as the prosecution of the anti-Muslim Burmese Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu whom they want to be tried by the International Criminal Court for preaching violence.

“He has destroyed the humanist teaching of Buddha and has transformed it into a racial persecution, mass murder and ethnic cleansing,” one of the organisers Mame Mactar Gueye read from a joint statement by the Jamra and Mbagn Gaccé Muslim groups in Senegal.

They also called for Aung San Su Kyi to be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize for her complicity.

Dozens also gathered in Ghana’s capital Accra on Monday to march against the violence and especially against the sale of weapons to the Myanmar government by Israel.

One of the organisers and spokesperson of the Freedom & Justice Group Irbard Ibrahim said they will deliver a petition to the Israeli Embassy in Ghana to end the sale of weapons to Myanmar.

“The world cannot afford another Holocaust and what is happening now is the vile murder of a persecuted minority group,” he said.

The group called on Canada to revoke the honorary Canadian citizenship conferred on Aung San Su Kyi, and also called on the Nobel Committee to revoke the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The government of Ghana should make a strong case to the United Nations against the unfolding genocide in Myanmar and should take further steps in encouraging the Security Council of the United Nations to take immediate action against Myanmar,” a statement from the group added.

Other protest marches have been scheduled to take place in the coming weeks in other African cities.

The violence in Myanmar began on August 25 when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army camp, killing about 12 people.

This was followed by retaliatory attacks by the Myanmar military which killed several Rohingya Muslims, torched their homes and left about 410,000 people fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The Buddhist-majority Myanmar said its forces are only clearing the insurgency of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army responsible for the August attacks.

World leaders have called against the violence while rights groups are demanding sanctions against Myanmar’s generals who have not heeded to calls to end the violence.

The government leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a lot of criticism for not speaking against the violence. She is expected to speak for the first time in a national address on Tuesday.

Until the violence, about a million Rohingya lived in Rakhine State where they face travel restrictions and are denied citizenship. Many Buddhists regard them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Here are some images from the solidarity protests in Africa.

Photo Credit: Hassan Isilow/ Twitter