In the western Indonesian province of Aceh, hundreds of university students stormed a temporary camp for Muslim Rohingya refugees and demanded their deportation.
On December 27, protesters forcibly removed more than 100 Arakanese from the center in the city of Banda Aceh.
The students, wearing jackets bearing the emblems of different universities, chanted slogans against the Arakanese refugees during the raid. Students were seen kicking the belongings of Rohingya men, women and children sitting on the ground and crying in fear.
The Rohingya refugees were then taken out carrying their belongings in plastic sacks and put on trucks to be sent out of the area and relocated to another center. In total, 137 Arakanese refugees were reportedly sent out of the area.
According to AFP news agency, protesters burned tires and clashed with police. The police eventually allowed the refugees to be taken away by students.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement that it was "deeply disturbed by the mob attack on a site sheltering vulnerable refugee families, mostly women and children." UNHCR said the attack was the result of a coordinated campaign of misinformation and hate speech online.
While many Muslims in Indonesia are supportive of Arakanese refugees living in the region, attitudes towards the refugees have recently intensified in some quarters.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has blamed human trafficking for the recent increase in the arrival of Arakanese refugees.
Indonesia is not a party to the UN refugee convention and says it cannot be forced to accept refugees from Myanmar. Some Rohingya refugee boats reaching Indonesian shores are rejected and sent to the open sea.
In Myanmar, tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have been killed and forced to flee their homes in attacks by army forces and state-sponsored Buddhist mobs. More than one million Arakanese are still living as refugees in countries in the region, especially in Bangladesh.
Composed of 17 thousand islands, Indonesia has an area of approximately 1 million 900 thousand square kilometers. It is estimated that there are approximately 15 thousand refugees in the country with a population of 280 million.