Dhaka, Sep 18 (IANS) The Bangladesh police on Monday broke up a gathering of around 20,000 members of an Islamist organisation staging a march towards the Myanmar embassy in Dhaka calling for an end to the alleged genocide against the minority Rohingya population in that country.
The demonstrators, protesting amid the full-blown Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, were stopped several kilometres from the embassy area, Efe news reported.
“Nearly 20,000 joined the protest today. Naturally, there were some tensions, but we handled the situation with patience. It ended without any violence,” Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan police, said.
However, the police allowed 10 protest leaders to approach the embassy and present their demands.
Azizul Haque, a Hefazat-e-Islam organisation spokesperson, said that the police escorted them to the embassy but they did not find any Myanmar embassy official there.
“We were told to hand over our demands to a peon, which we did not do,” Haque said.
The spokesperson said the group demanded an end to the alleged genocide in Myanmar, to halt village-razing and demanded that Myanmar officials accept the return of and give full citizen status to displaced Rohingyas.
Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, denies the Rohingya people citizenship because it considers them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
The state imposes many restrictions on them, including limits to their freedom of movement.
More than 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, in the wake of a violent military offensive launched after hundreds of Rohingya rebels assaulted police posts.
The UN believes that the number of Rohingya refugees entering Bangladesh could double in the coming weeks.
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