Protesters in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state demonstrated on Sunday against the planned repatriation of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh, referring to them as “runaway refugees”.
About 100 people led by Buddhist monks marched through the state capital Sittwe holding red banners and chanting slogans.
“There will be no benefits to us or our country if we accept the Bengalis,” one monk said, according to a live video streaming of the protest.
Bengali is a derogatory term for the Rohingya in Myanmar that falsely implies they are newcomers from Bangladesh.
The demonstration comes 10 days after Bangladesh and Myanmar were supposed to officially start repatriating members of the Rohingya minority who had fled violent military operations in August last year.
The deal to bring them back was struck a year ago but Rohingya in the Bangladesh camps fear returning without guarantees of citizenship, safety, and equal access to healthcare and education.
They also are wary of hostility from the non-Muslim residents in Rakhine.