Hard-line Buddhists protest Rohingya citizenship plans

Monks and Rakhine state residents stage a demonstration Sunday in Sittwe township to protest against government plans to speed up the citizenship verification process for the stateless Rohingya minority. (AP photo)

SITTWE, MYANMAR - Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists in Rakhine state, already wracked by religious violence, protested Sunday against the government's plan to give citizenship to some members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority community.

Rakhine state's dominant Arakan National Party led the protest in Sittwe, the state capital, where many Rohingya lived before an outbreak of inter-communal violence in 2012 forced them to flee their homes.

"We are protesting to tell the government to rightfully follow the 1982 citizenship law and we cannot allow the government giving citizenship cards to these illegal migrants," said Aung Htay, a protest organiser.

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