The students wore jackets with the insignias of various Indonesian universities. Footage of the incident on Wednesday showed the refugees led out and loaded onto trucks. Some of the resident were carrying their belongings with them in plastic bags.
What triggered the incident?
The government-owned hall was housing some 137 Rohingya refugees. Students demanded that the refugees be moved to a local immigration office and then deported.
They chanted "kick them out" and "reject Rohingyas in Aceh," as women and children stood in tears and praying men looked to the ground.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) condemned the incident, which it said was triggered by a coordinated online campaign of misinformation and hate speech.
"The mob broke a police cordon and forcibly put 137 refugees on two trucks, and moved them to another location in Banda Aceh. The incident has left refugees shocked and traumatized," it said.
Why are Rohingya refugees fleeing to Indonesia?
They use boats to seek refuge in neighboring Thailand and Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia. Most of them travel between November and April, when the seas are calmer.
UNHCR figures suggest that over 1,500 Rohingya have landed in Indonesia since November, in what is believed to be the biggest number in years. Their arrival has triggered increasing hostility, with locals frustrated with their growing numbers.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has blamed the latest surge in Rohingya arrivals on human trafficking. However, he pledged to offer them temporary shelter, in cooperation with international organizations.
rmt/dj (AFP, Reuters)