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A Rohingya is loaded onto a van in a crush of police today

Captive Rohingya Riot North of Phuket: Police, Immigration in Standoff

Thursday, August 8, 2013
PHANG NGA: Police with batons surrounded Rohingya men this afternoon when they refused for four hours to go back to their cells at an Immigration centre north of Phuket.

Scores of reinforcements were called in when the men staged a protest because they were denied permission to pray as a group to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Thirty-five women and children, who had travelled from a nearby family shelter with a feast to mark the occasion, were turned away when they arrived at the Immigration centre in Phang Nga Town.

When Phuketwan reporters arrived, reinforcements armed with batons were joining others already at the centre. Police were called in from Krabi and Phuket.

With some Rohingya men still visible on the second floor through a wire grille, chanting could be heard occasionally.

A water truck that had been used to try to drive the Rohingya back inside with a high-pressure hose was just departing when the Phuketwan team arrived.

Officials at the centre were waiting for for a translator, so the situation could be explained to the Rohingya.

It's understood that the protest began when a request for the men to pray together outdoors was refused. Two-hundred-and-sixty-one men are being held at the centre in cramped conditions.

A Phuketwan reporter, using a translator in Bangkok speaking via a mobile telephone and a loudhailer, managed to quieten the protest for a time.

The plan was to move some of the most agitated men to other detention centres about 3pm.

About 200 police reinforcements arrived with more police trucks. By 3.30pm, there were probably 500 police surrounding the central Immigration building.

Movement began about 3.40pm when Rohingya were moved through crowds of police to waiting trucks. They were being taken to smaller police stations, it's believed, although that could not be confirmed.

The standoff appeared to be over.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Vivian Tan said the Thai centres were not designed to hold ''so many people for so long''.

''While the motives for this incident are still unclear, it reflects the growing frustration among the Rohingya being held in detention,'' she said.

The Rohingya in Phang Nga are among about 2000 Rohingya men, women and children being held in Thailand pending a decision by the Thai Government on their status and future.

Most of them were rescued from people-traffickers' camps or apprehended on passing boats in January.

Phuketwan was the only Phuket news organisation with a team of reporters at the protest today.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Why is it taking the Thai government so long to make a decision,it's a disgrace that these people are being held like this for so long.
They have been through enough, somebody do something!!

Posted by G Horne on August 8, 2013 16:18

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HAPPY EID TO PHUKETWAN AND ALL READERS.
This is very unfortunate news during Holy Eid day . Actually this incident of Pang Nga IDC is neither riot or escaping attempt.The Rohingya detainees simply appealed for a Imam (Religious teacher ) ,a Qudbah (a religious presentation note during Holy Eid) and a wider place for praying . During this time,a fellow Burman muscleman (known as wanna) attacked and kicked the nearby Rohingyas . The muscle guy also insulted the religion and the Eid Congregation Program. The dishonoring of Burman muscle guy is the main fact of today accident . He must be transfed. We should have to understand that the Rohingya detainees become mentally sick due to long time detaining overcrowded places for seven months . They must be met minimum requirement as per the prison code of Thailand. They are not criminals but escapees of genocide for Arakan. They deserve to be Refugees according to the Internation law and UN convention. I asked many times to release them and shelter in the Rofugee camps by providing full access to the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees ,UNHCR .Further keeping this war refugges in the cages are fully unjustifiable .
I am also saddened because of failing family reunion during this Holy day. The family reunion is our long time demand .But today it was flopped . Please arrange the familyreunion process again.Their hue and cry is unbearable . They are human beings.
Therefore, this's my sincere appeal before the concerned authorities to sympathize these Rohingya detainees and transfer them to proposed Refugee camps. Please come forwards to solve this humanitarian crisis .

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on August 8, 2013 18:09

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Dear respected Editor,

We sincerely look forwards of up to date news of today incident at Pang Nga IDC.
Thanks in advance.

Maung Kyaw Nu

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on August 8, 2013 22:38

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Thank goodness the police commander on the ground prevented any rioting taking place which may very well have done if this large group had been allowed to congrigate for eid prayers .
They are under detention rules like it or not and until the government of Thailand decides their fate it's a safety issue the commander on the ground made the call and he is responsible both for his men and the detainees safety after all you pair didn't rush to the scene to praise his efforts did you ,you were looking to sell on the story to the real media if he had allowed them to riot and blood was to flow that would have fitted your one sided agenda well done commander keep up the good job.

Posted by Scanner on August 9, 2013 04:43

Editor Comment:

How glib you are at your ill-informed and offensive guesswork. We didn't see you there, Scanner. Ignorance is bliss, eh? Goodbye.

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Dear ED and team,

Thank yo so much for your continues effort on reporting this issue and supporting the Royinga. It was with sadness to witness that Royingha are being kept in immigration cells. With even more sadness I observe the inactive behaviour and silence of Aung San Suu Kyi within the Royingha situation. Solely criticizing the two child policy from the Burmese government is not enough! Even my mother has written multiple protest and awareness letters to the UN and several ministries of foreign affairs in Europe.

Posted by Richard on August 9, 2013 09:12


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