Anti- Rohingya monk walks free from jail
An ultra-nationalist Myanmar monk was defiant upon his release from prison yesterday after serving time for an anti-Rohingya protest in 2016, a rare punishment handed to one of the country's hardline Buddhist clergymen.
Parmaukkha, who served a three-month jail term for inciting unrest, has helped peddle a fiery brand of Buddhist nationalism and Islamophobia in Myanmar, a country accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims.
The monk was arrested in November over a rally he held outside the US Embassy in Yangon in April 2016 to protest against America's use of the word "Rohingya".
The jail time appears to have done little to dampen the resolve of the abbot, who declared himself unrepentant upon his release.
"There is no Rohingya ethnic group among the 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar," he told reporters after returning to his Yangon monastery on Friday.
The influential monk was released from Yangon's Insein prison at dawn to the cheers of several dozen supporters who scattered petals in front of him as he left the jail.
Anti-Muslim hate speech aimed the Rohingya has been brewing in Myanmar for several years, often spilling over into bouts of bloodshed.