Connect with us

News

Myanmar rallies in support of Army while the rest of the world condemn

Published

 on 

Military songs rang out across downtown Yangon Sunday as tens of thousands rallied in defence of Myanmar’s army, an institution accused by the global community of driving Rohingya Muslims from the country.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled western Rakhine state to Bangladesh since late August when raids by militants from the minority group were met with ruthless army “clearance operations”.

The United Nations has led global condemnation, calling the crackdown a “textbook” example of ethnic cleansing.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson phoned army chief Min Aung Hlaing earlier this week to express his concerns at alleged atrocities in Rakhine state and urge a swift and safe return for the Rohingya.

But inside Myanmar support for the army has surged — an unlikely turnaround for a once feared and hated institution that ruled for 50 years and whose lawmakers lost heavily in 2015 polls.

Those elections sent Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party into power, but the Rohingya crisis has put her government on the backfoot.

Demonstrators carried banners lauding Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and rebuking the international community for “pressuring the Tatmadaw” — as Myanmar’s army is known.

“The Tatmadaw is essential for the country, it protects our ethnic groups, races and religion,” Nan Aye Aye Kyi, 54, told AFP as the rally snaked through Yangon to the iconic Sule Pagoda.

The Rohingya are not recognised as one of Myanmar’s patchwork of ethnic groups.

Fear of a Muslim takeover of Buddhist-majority Myanmar through Rakhine state has been kindled over decades by the army, which is now casting itself as saviour of the nation.

Kyaw Than, 64, a retired sergeant who served in the army for 41 years said the Tatmadaw “is protecting the whole country”, adding allegations of murder, rape and arson against the Rohingya were “not true”.

But international pressure is tightening.

The US is weighing targeted sanctions against key military leaders, while Pope Francis is scheduled to talk peace on a landmark visit to the country next month.

Aung San Suu Kyi has faced the sharp end of global outcry over the crisis, with fellow Nobel laureates joining a cast of world leaders in urging her to condemn the army and speak up for the Rohingya.

Suu Kyi’s supporters say the once garlanded rights champion is hamstrung, with any criticism of the still-dominant army likely to provoke a strong response.

The army has unassailable control of all security matters and has only begun to cede other law-making powers to civilian government over the last few years.

STORY: The Nation

PHOTO: VOA

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

The Thaiger is Thailand's largest online portal for news, videos and information.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Drugs34 mins ago

Four members of drug gang arrested in Nakhon Si Thammarat

North East58 mins ago

Military mum calls for justice over slain son

Tourism1 hour ago

Why aren’t tourists returning to Khao San Road?

Sponsored2 days ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Crime2 hours ago

A burglar, in a hole, in the roof, in the night

Drugs2 hours ago

Drug policy outlines by PM, cash rewards to police in busts

World Cup3 hours ago

World Cup to be shown in Thai prison

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Economy3 hours ago

UK exports to Japan slump after ‘landmark’ free trade deal

Thailand5 hours ago

Try These Weird Thai Foods… If You Dare

World22 hours ago

Thai gangs traffic Kenyans to Myanmar scam factories

South23 hours ago

Deep South emergency decree extended 3 months

Thailand24 hours ago

Why Is Thailand So Cheap?

Expats1 day ago

Phuket’s 5 best golf courses

Crime1 day ago

Inmate who escaped Khon Kaen hospital back in custody

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Masks recommended in crowds amid Covid increase

Crime1 day ago

Squabbling beach vendor gives rival a single bullet warning

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending