Moscow Muslims gather in front of Myanmar Embassy in solidarity with Rohingya (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Moscow Muslims have gathered in front of the Myanmar Embassy in solidarity with Rohingya Muslims who claim to be persecuted in the troubled northwest of the country, according to photos and videos on social media.
The rally took place in front of the Myanmar Embassy in the center of the Russian capital on Sunday.
Heavy police presence near the embassy is seen in the photos and videos.
There have been no violations of public order during the protest, the Moscow police press service told TASS news agency. At least 800 people reportedly gathered near the embassy.
Demonstrators are seen performing a Muslim prayer (‘salat’ or ‘namaz’) in front of the building, YouTube videos show.
Videos on Facebook and Instagram show the crowds shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
People on social media claim that about a thousand activists took part in the rally. Some Instagram users shared posts with comments such as: “Stop genocide of Muslims.”
At least 20 police cars and one armored vehicle have been seen in the area, Interfax reported, adding that the situation is relatively calm.
“When we see inequality towards our brothers and sisters, we stage a protest. That’s why we’ve gathered here today. We are united… and should show to the whole world that Muslims are peaceful,” one of the demonstrators told TASS.
The protest has not been approved by the Moscow authorities, Interfax correspondent reported.
The situation in Myanmar, a small Southeast Asian nation, was aggravated earlier in August due to confrontation between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. Nearly 400 people were killed in clashes and military confrontations in the country in late August, Reuters reported.
Around 73,000 Rohingya have fled into neighboring Bangladesh since the violence erupted, Vivian Tan, regional spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), told Reuters.
Earlier on Sunday, a demonstration in support of Rohingya Muslims was held next to the Myanmar Embassy in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, Reuters reported. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the embassy, causing a small fire on the second floor.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov took to Instagram Live to say that he is ready to organize a similar rally in the Chechen capital, Grozny on September 4. Muslims will perform namaz (salah) and pray for their brothers and sisters in Myanmar, the leader added.
On Friday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged for “restraint and calm” in Myanmar.
“The current situation underlines the urgency of seeking holistic approaches to addressing the complex root causes of violence,” Guterres’ associate spokesperson, Eri Kaneko, said.