(Buddhist monks hold a banner as they protest against the opening of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) offices in Myanmar, in front of the city hall in Yangon October 15, 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

Thousands of Buddhist monks marched in Myanmar’s two biggest cities to protest against efforts by the world’s biggest Islamic body to help Rohingya Muslims involved in deadly communal clashes four months ago.

The monks, a potent political force in the predominantly Buddhist country, denounced plans by the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to set up a liaison office in northwest Rakhine state, where violence erupted in June between ethnic Buddhist Rakhines and Rohingyas.

Just hours after the monks dispersed on Monday, President Thein Sein’s office announced it would not permit an OIC representation in Myanmar. It was not immediately clear if the announcement was linked to the protests or had been planned in advance.

“The government will not allow the opening of an OIC office as it is not in accordance with the desire of people,” said a statement posted on its website.