September 16, 2017 3:33 pm
Updated: September 17, 2017 1:29 pm

Montrealers protest violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

WATCH ABOVE: Dozens gathered in downtown Montreal Saturday afternoon to draw attention to the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. As Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports they’re urging Canadians to step up and do more to help.

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We’re a long ways away from Myanmar, but for dozens of Montrealers, the violence against Rohingya Muslims is fresh in their minds.

After a Rohingya insurgent group attacked police posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on Aug. 25, the military responded with “clearance operations.”

The violence has left many Rohingya dead and their homes destroyed.

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READ MORE: ‘They burned our home’: Rohingya Muslims watch as soldiers destroy villages in Myanmar

UN officials are demanding that Myanmar halt what they say is a campaign of ethnic cleansing that has forced 400,000 Rohingya to flee in the past three weeks.

Amnesty International says it has evidence that Myanmar security forces have been targeting Rohingya villages.

READ MORE: Rohingya crisis explained: Why the minority Muslim group is fleeing Myanmar

“The fact that a specific population is targeted by a state is against all international law,” said Karine Gentelet, chair of Amnesty International Canada (Canadian Francophone Section). “Also, we know that the Burma army is targeting certain people and this is unacceptable for Amnesty.”

Protest organizers with ties to Myanmar say, though the last few weeks have been intense, many Rohingya Muslims have been living this way for a long time.

“They have lived in these situations, in these conditions for the last couple of decades,” said protest organizer Raes Ahmed. “This has been a situation for a long time.”

READ MORE: UN accuses Myanmar forces of gang rapes, slaughter of babies in crackdown on Muslims

Ahmed, who is Rohingya, says he has friends and family in Myanmar and Bangladesh, who are desperate.

He hopes this protest will raise awareness and help produce change.

“Canada should form a coalition of governments to intervene,” he said. “Perhaps a military action, perhaps not a military action. We cannot stay silent in the face of this massacre.”

WATCH: Mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar spiraling into humanitarian disaster

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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