Indonesia offers to share Bangladesh’s burden in Rohingya crisis

JAKARTA: Nearly 10,000 Indonesian Muslims staged a demonstration outside the Myanmar Embassy in central Jakarta on Wednesday to protest the violent crackdown against Rohingya Muslims.

The protesters also urged Indonesia to sever its bilateral ties with Myanmar.
Police had put up barbed wires around the embassy perimeter to prevent the protesters from getting close to its building in the upscale Menteng area while traffic was rerouted as a precautionary measure.

Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono told Arab News at the rally that security had been stepped up around the embassy since last week.

Protesters held a moment of prayers for the victims of the ongoing military crackdown. Others were seen smacking on an effigy that donned a mask of Ashin Wirathu, the hard-line Buddhist monk. Some of the protesters demanded the police to take down the Myanmar flag from the embassy compound. They also burned Myanmar flags.

Ade Bhakti, executive director of the Jakarta-based Center for Radicalism and Deradicalization Studies, who was observing the rally, told Arab News that the Rohingya issue “is fluid and touches upon various elements in Indonesia.”

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, meanwhile, concluded her two-country diplomatic trip in Dhaka to seek solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Marsudi arrived in Dhaka earlier in the day after visiting Myanmar on Monday.

In Myanmar, she held talks with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, National Security Adviser U Thaung Tun, Myanmar Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. U Min Aung Hlaing and two other ministers. The talks were aimed at easing tension in Rakhine state and boosting humanitarian aid to communities affected by the conflict.

Marsudi also held bilateral talks with her Bangladeshi counterpart Mahmood Ali and representatives of UN refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Dhaka.

During her meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Marsudi said she conveyed Indonesia’s appreciation of Bangladesh for coping with a massive influx of Rohingya refugees into its territory.

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