Two separate demonstrations were held in the Tunisian capital on Friday to protest the ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.
The first demonstration, organized by Tunisia’s Current of Love movement (Tayar al-Mahaba), saw dozens of demonstrators waving banners decrying the Myanmar military’s ongoing crimes against Rohingya Muslims.
Protest organizers distributed leaflets condemning Myanmar’s security forces for their ongoing persecution of the country’s Muslim minority.
One of the leaflets called on the Tunisian government, along with “friendly countries”, to intervene to stop the oppression in Myanmar.
A second protest was held next to Tunis’s National Theater, where dozens of activists associated with Tunisia’s Democratic Movement condemned atrocities suffered by the Rohingya at the hands of the Myanmar regime.
Demonstrators carried placards reading, “End the bloodshed in Myanmar”, “Stop murdering Muslims”, and “The world is watching while Muslims are killed”.
Since Aug. 25, Myanmar’s army has stepped up its operations in the western Rakhine State on the pretext that it is fighting armed militants, leading to numerous deaths among the state’s Rohingya Muslim population.
Because the Myanmar government does not allow international organizations to enter the region, however, exact death tolls are impossible to ascertain.
Last October, following a series of attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, some 400 people were killed.
While some local NGOs in Rakhine State say that over a thousand Rohingya have been killed to date, others say the number is much higher.
In recent weeks, the UN has documented numerous murders, beatings, rapes and disappearances perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar security personnel.
Violence erupted again in Rakhine State nearly two weeks ago after security forces launched fresh operations against the Rohingya.
As of Friday, the UN was reporting that as many as 270,000 Rohingya Muslims had fled to neighboring Bangladesh in hopes of finding relative safety.