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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Massive protests in Bangladesh against Rohingya killings in Myanmar, but Nobel Institute says it can't strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her Peace prize

"Myanmar army is carrying out a genocide of the Rohingya with the help of Suu Kyi's government. She must be held accountable and tried"

Demonstrators in Islamabad, Pakistan on September 8, 2017 added their voice to calls for Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Nobel Peace prize for her inaction over the persecution of Rohingya Muslims. in Islamabad, Pakistan September 8, 2017. Caren Firouz / Reuters
Demonstrators in Islamabad, Pakistan on September 8, 2017 added their voice to calls for Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Nobel Peace prize for her inaction over the persecution of Rohingya Muslims. in Islamabad, Pakistan September 8, 2017. Caren Firouz / Reuters

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Bangladesh on Friday to protest against the killing of Rohingya Muslims in neighbouring Myanmar.

At least 15,000 supporters of the Islamist Islami Andolon Bangladesh party chanted slogans against Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they demonstrated in Dhaka and the town of Tongi to the north of the capital after Friday prayers.

"Myanmar army is carrying out a genocide of the Rohingya with the help of Suu Kyi's government. She must be held accountable and tried," said party spokesman K.M. Atiqur Rahman.

Earlier, several thousand supporters of Bangladesh's main opposition political party formed a human chain to protest against the treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya minority.

The United Nations says 270,000 Rohingya have arrived in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh in the last fortnight after fleeing Myanmar, where refugees say their villages have been burned to the ground and relatives killed by the army.

Images purportedly showing atrocities against the Rohingya have flooded Bangladeshi social media, triggering an outpouring of sympathy among locals, who have historical ties with the community. Dhaka has protested at what it called an "unprecedented influx" of Rohingya since the latest violence erupted on August 25.

In the past two weeks, the Bangladesh government has twice summoned the Myanmar envoy to express its concern over the escalation of violence and the "unbearable additional burden" the new arrivals place on the country. Bangladesh is already a poor country and had already taken in 400,000 Rohingya before the latest influx.

Kuwait on Friday announced it was sending $1.5 million (Dh5.5 million) of emergency aid to help the Rohingya community and Mohammad Al Jabri, Kuwait's minister of Islamic affairs, religious endowment and minister of state for municipal affairs, urged citizens and residents of Kuwait to offer donations.

Meanwhile, the organization that oversees the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday said the 1991 prize awarded to Myanmar's Aung Sang Suu Kyi cannot be revoked.

Olav Njolstad, head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute said neither the will of prize founder Alfred Nobel nor the Nobel Foundation's rules provide for the possibility of withdrawing the honour from laureates.

"It is not possible to strip a Nobel Peace Prize laureate of his or her award once bestowed," Mr Njolstad said. "None of the prize awarding committees in Stockholm and Oslo has ever considered revoking a prize after it has been awarded."

An online petition signed by more than 386,000 people on Change.org is calling for Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Peace Prize over the persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority. Suu Kyi received the award for "her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights" while standing up to military rulers.

She spent years under house arrest when Myanmar was a military dictatorship.She became the country's de facto leader, with the title State Counsellor, after Myanmar held its first free election in 2012 and she led her party to a landslide victory.

But her global reputation is now in tatters over her failure to condemn the violence against the Rohingya.

Human rights groups, activists -- including many who campaigned for her in the past -- and her fellow Nobel laureates Malala Yousafzai and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have condemned her

Earlier this week Suu Kyi, 72, condemned a "huge iceberg of misinformation" on the crisis, without mentioning the Rohingya flocking to Bangladesh.

She has described the situation in Rhine state as "one of the biggest challenges that we've had to face" but said it "a little unreasonable to expect us to resolve everything in 18 months."

But Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said, "What we forget is that she is a politician through and through. People expect her to have that big high moral voice but she's a politician, and what's the most important objective if you are a politician? Getting elected. I think we need to delete our memories of the imprisoned democratic icon."