Dozens of Burmese in Toronto demonstrated in front of the Toronto Star newspaper on Saturday to voice their concern over an article published on Aug. 25 about a pro-Rohingya rally that urged the Canadian government to help end the unrest in western Burma.
In an open letter sent to the newspaper, the Canadian Friends of Burma said the article “offended the Burmese community in Toronto and across Canada. Especially, the article's paragraph four: "People… sharing tales of rape, beating and house-burning at the hands of Burma's Buddhist majority."
The article focused on one group in the conflict in Burma’s western state, it said.
“Members of Burmese community are shocked by false allegations, fake pictures and insulting slogans in recent pro-Rohingya protests in Toronto, for such careless, random and inconsiderate attempts willy-nilly tarnish the image of Burmese community in general and Buddhist Burmese community in particular,” said the letter.
The protesters called on the media to carefully examine information, materials and stories distributed by some special interest groups.
Burmese leaders met with a representative of the newspaper and had a chance to raise the issue. Afterwards, they marched to a nearby legislative building and delivered speeches. Jim Karygiannis, a federal Liberal MP and interim chairman of Parliamentary Friends of Burma (PFOB), also spoke.
“We don’t want to side with any group in the conflict,” said protest organizers. “We don’t want the conflict to extend further, and we want all parties involved to find a viable solution.”