1 year af­ter flee­ing Myan­mar, Ro­hingya seek jus­tice for dead

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Nation & World -

KU­TU­PA­LONG, Bangladesh — Thou­sands of Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugees on Satur­day marked the one-year an­niver­sary of the at­tacks that sent them flee­ing to safety in Bangladesh, pray­ing they can re­turn to their homes in Myan­mar and de­mand­ing jus­tice for their dead rel­a­tives and neigh­bors.

More than 15,000 gath­ered in the morn­ing on a hill­top in the Ku­tu­pa­long refugee camp, part of a sprawl­ing web of set­tle­ments that are now home to nearly 900,000 Ro­hingya who have fled Myan­mar to es­cape vi­o­lence.

The camps ex­ploded in size last year af­ter Myan­mar’s army launched a wave of anti-Ro­hingya at­tacks Aug. 25, with some

700,000 Ro­hingya even­tu­ally pour­ing across the bor­der. Thou­sands were killed in the vi­o­lence.

“25th Au­gust — Black Day,” one ban­ner an­nounced Satur­day.

The pro­test­ers marched through the muddy camp, chant­ing slo­gans such as “No more genocide, we want jus­tice.”

At a mass prayer rally, one speaker re­peat­edly shouted, “Who are we?” to which the crowd re­sponded in cho­rus: “Ro­hingya! Ro­hingya!”

Most peo­ple cried as they raised their hands while an imam who led the prayer sought God’s bless­ings, say­ing, “Please con­sider the peo­ple who have been killed as mar­tyrs and place them in heaven.”

While Ro­hingya have lived for cen­turies in Myan­mar, they have long been treated as outsiders, Mus­lims in a largely Bud­dhist na­tion who are de­nied cit­i­zen­ship and many ba­sic rights.

More than 1 mil­lion Ro­hingya refugees cur­rently live in Bangladesh.

DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/GETTY-AFP

Ro­hingya refugees burst into tears at a protest march Satur­day in Ukhia, Bangladesh, af­ter a camp cer­e­mony mark­ing the an­niver­sary of a mil­i­tary crack­down in Myan­mar.

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