YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s ruling party has held an interfaith rally that it said would promote religious harmony as thousands of Rohingya Muslims continue to flee persecution in northern Rakhine state.
In Yangon, around 20,000 people lit candles in a soccer stadium on Tuesday night and said prayers.
A Muslim religious leader, Hafiz Mufti Ali, addressed the crowd from a podium. Video showed Buddhist monks and men wearing Muslim skullcaps sitting apart.
More than half a million Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh after Myanmar security forces carried out what they called clearance operations in response to attacks on police posts by Muslim insurgents in August.
The U.N. has called it “textbook ethnic cleansing.”
Myanmar’s Buddhist majority denies that Rohingya Muslims are a separate ethnic group and regards them as illegal immigrants.