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Radical Buddhists protest in Myanmar, denying boat people are Rohingya Muslims

  • Myanmar's nationalist Buddhist monks shout slogans during a protest rally in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. About 300 protesters, led by radical Buddhist monks, rallied claiming boat people washing onto Southeast Asian shores were not Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say “do not exist.”(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    Myanmar's nationalist Buddhist monks shout slogans during a protest rally in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. About 300 protesters, led by radical Buddhist monks, rallied claiming boat people washing onto Southeast Asian shores were not Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say “do not exist.”(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • Myanmar's Buddhist nationalists shout slogans during a protest rally in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. About 300 protesters, led by radical Buddhist monks, rallied claiming boat people washing onto Southeast Asian shores were not Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say “do not exist.”(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    Myanmar's Buddhist nationalists shout slogans during a protest rally in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. About 300 protesters, led by radical Buddhist monks, rallied claiming boat people washing onto Southeast Asian shores were not Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say “do not exist.”(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • Myanmar's Buddhist nationalists applaud a speaker as they gather to participate in a protest rally Wednesday, May 27, 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar. About 300 protesters, led by radical Buddhist monks, rallied claiming boat people washing onto Southeast Asian shores were not Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say “do not exist.”(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    Myanmar's Buddhist nationalists applaud a speaker as they gather to participate in a protest rally Wednesday, May 27, 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar. About 300 protesters, led by radical Buddhist monks, rallied claiming boat people washing onto Southeast Asian shores were not Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say “do not exist.”(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

Several hundred protesters in Myanmar's main city are denying that boat people arriving on Southeast Asian shores are Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say does not exist.

About 30 radical Buddhist monks led the rally Wednesday in Yangon. Protesters carried banners reading, "The boat people are not from Myanmar" and "The United Nations and the international media are making up stories!"

Myanmar has experienced a surge in Buddhist nationalism since it began moving from dictatorship toward democracy four years ago. Hundreds of Rohingya have been killed and 140,000 forced to flee their homes.

In recent weeks, 3,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis fleeing persecution and poverty at home have landed in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.