Maldives rises in support of Rohingya Muslims

Residents of several islands in the Maldives on Friday took to the streets in support of Rohingya Muslims, subject to ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar government where tens of thousands are being burned from their homes amid widespread reports of mass killing and sexual violence.

Residents in Baa Atoll Kamadhoo island, Raa Atoll Ungoofaaru island, Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Gadhdhoo island and Lhaviyanu Atoll Naifaru island had marched in support of the Rohingya. Funds are also being raised in several islands including the capital Male to aid the tens of thousands of Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh amid a military crackdown on insurgents in Myanmar's western Rakhine state.

The UN migration agency confirmed 270,000 people fled the country to Bangladesh over the past two weeks.

About one million Muslim Rohingya are estimated to live in western Rakhine state, where they are a sizable minority. An outbreak of communal violence there in 2012 saw more than 100,000 people displaced, and tens of thousands of Rohingya remain in decrepit camps where travel is restricted.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Rohingya already live in Bangladesh, having fled there over many decades.

Maldives government last week has suspended trade ties with Myanmar over the fresh military crackdown in Rakhine state.