Chesterfield residents come together to help persecuted Rohingya Muslims

A minute's silence was held during the vigil.
A minute's silence was held during the vigil.

Nearly 100 Chesterfield residents held a vigil for persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

A minute's silence was held during the vigil, which took place on the steps of Chesterfield Town Hall on Friday night, and speakers included Toby Perkins MP, Jeannie Robinson, the convener of Stand Up To Racism in Chesterfield and north Derbyshire, Mahroof Saddique, of the Muslim Welfare Association, and James Eaden, president of Chesterfield TUC.

Those attending the vigil also signed a letter to Mr Perkins calling on the Government to do more to help Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

A collection was held and £360 was raised.

Donations of blankets and clothes were also collected and these will to be sent to refugee camps in Bangladesh.

More than 300,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Buddhist-majority Rakhine state in Myanmar at the end of August.

The conflict started when Rohingya militants attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, killing 12 security personnel.

Rohingyas who have escaped Myanmar since then claim the military responded with a brutal campaign, burning villages and killing civilians.

The military insists it is responding to attacks by Rohingya militants and denies it is targeting civilians.

Rohingyas have long faced persecution in Myanmar.

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the United Nations' high commissioner for human rights, said the current operation in Rakhine 'seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing'.