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Myanmar’s punk rockers challenge anti-Muslim rhetoric

Yangon, Myanmar – A riotous crowd gathered before a throbbing stage as loud music blared from speakers and sweaty musicians jammed to an eager beat. Young people in black studded leather jackets and spiky multicoloured hair hurled themselves into the air.

“This one is for Wirathu – look at what you’ve done,” shouted the lead singer, referring to one of Myanmar’s most prominent Buddhist nationalists, before launching into a song condemning religious violence.

The band Side Effect is one of Myanmar’s most popular punk rock bands and among a growing number of musicians rallying to combat hate speech. The performance came as religious tensions escalate in the former military dictatorship leading up to a landmark general election on Sunday.

In late August, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein approved the last of a package of controversial race protection laws widely viewed as an attack on the country’s Muslim minority.

Source: Al Jazeera

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