There was a vibrant mood in Bradford’s Centenary Square on Monday night, as at least 500 people crowded in front of the court building for a rally and protest against the dismal situation that the Rohingya Muslim’s are currently facing in Burma.
The Rohingya’s have come under attack in the state of Rakhine, with ethnic Buddhists carrying out numerous killings in May. This led to skirmishes between the Buddhists and Muslims, with the authorities declaring a state of emergency on 10th June and dispatching troops to quell the violence and protect monastaries and mosques. The violence however has continued, with reports of troops joining in the persecution of the Rohingya’s.
A group of UK based NGO’s has reported that 650 Rohingya’s were killed between 10th-28th June. The death toll is now said to be over 1000. Thousands of homes have been burnt down, and between 50000-90000 people have been displaced.
Speakers included George Galloway, Respect MP for Bradford West, Salma Yaqoob, Respect party leader and David Green, leader of Bradford Council. The impressive turnout (in addition to the recent occupation of the Westfield building site) showed the impact that the rise of Respect (who won five seats on the council in May in addition to Galloway’s victory in the March by election) has had on consciousness and the willingness of people to protest and struggle in Bradford.