Thousands in Russia hold rally in solidarity with Rohingya Muslims

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in solidarity with Rohingya Muslims in Russia’s Grozny on Monday. Demonstrators held banners reading ‘no to genocide in Myanmar’ in front of Chechnya’s Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, otherwise known as ‘The Heart of Chechnya.’

Violence over the past few days in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has killed nearly 400 people and prompted thousands of ethnic Rohingya refugees to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. The Russian government has not been clear over its stance on what is going on in Myanmar, giving Kadyrov an opportunity to criticize it for inaction.

State television footage from Grozny, the capital of the predominantly Muslim Chechnya, showed tens of thousands rallying in the city’s main square to support the Rohingya minority.

In his address to the rally that was interrupted with shouts of “Allahu akbar” (“God is great!” in Arabic), Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov compared the violence against Rohingya to the Holocaust.

Kadyrov, who has ruled the republic for more than a decade, keeps a tight grip on Chechen society, and any public displays there are carefully orchestrated.