Bowing to protests, Myanmar blocks OIC
A Buddhist monk reads a statement during a demonstration in Yangon. REUTERS photoMyanmar’s president has blocked a world Islamic body from opening an office in the country, bowing to rallies against government efforts to help Muslims in unrest-hit Rakhine state.
“The president will not allow an OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) office because it is not in accordance with the people’s desires,” said an official from Myanmar leader Thein Sein’s office, after thousands of monks held the latest protests against the organization in two major cities yesterday. The official, who asked not to be named, declined to comment on an agreement signed with the OIC, which confirmed last week that it had obtained the green light to open an office in the country. Thousands of monks protested in the country’s commercial hub Yangon and second-largest city Mandalay yesterday, with another demonstration in the town of Pakokku in Magway region in central Myanmar.
“We cannot accept any OIC office here,” Oattamathara, a monk leading the Mandalay protest, told Agence France-Presse. Sectarian tensions are running high following Buddhist-Rohingya Muslims clashes in June in western Rakhine which left dozens of people dead and forced tens of thousands to seek refuge in temporary shelters.