Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Over 2,000 Burmese residents in Japan demonstrated outside the Foreign Ministry building in Tokyo on Wednesday to demand that the military release jailed parliamentarians, including the president and secretary general of the National League for Democracy. The military in Myanmar staged a coup on Monday because of what they say was electoral fraud in November’s election.
Supporters of the National League for Democracy and citizens’ associations in Japan joined together to ask the Japanese government to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on the military regime.
Participants in the protest demanded that Japan condemn the coup and put pressure on the new regime to make a return to democracy.
Many protesters were asked about their opinion regarding the treatment of the Rohingya people. Observers believe that thousands of Rohingya have died and many others have been attacked during the forced exodus of millions from the country, but the protestors were reluctant to comment on that.
Since democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi became the de facto leader of the country, she has also been reluctant to speak up for the Rohingya and her silence has led to widespread international criticism and accusations of double standards.
While condemning the military takeover of the democratically elected government in Rangoon, many of the Tokyo protesters failed to offer support for the Rohingya, saying they were not Burmese and had returned to their “homeland,” meaning Bangladesh.
A protester used her mobile phone to show what she claimed to be Rohingya people setting fires in Myanmar “spreading lies”. Another protester angrily objected to such questions being asked. The protesters said they hadn’t gathered to defend the Rohingya but to defend democracy and condemn the military coup.
A delegation of five representatives from the Burmese Workers’ Union was received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the representatives asked for assistance in returning Myanmar to democracy.