UNHCR dismayed at violent demonstration at Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan

Press Releases, 6 April 2014

UNHCR is dismayed at the violent nature of yesterday's demonstration at the Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan that resulted in the death of one refugee and scores of injured among the Jordanian police and refugee population.

UNHCR expresses its deep sorrow at the death of a Syrian refugee, who died last night of gunshot wounds. We are very concerned for those injured among the Jordanian police and refugee population.

Tremendous efforts have been made over the past months to create an atmosphere of civility in the camp. UNHCR continues to appeal to Syrian refugees to respect Jordanian law.

The incident occurred yesterday evening when a Jordanian vehicle was stopped for a routine check while exiting the camp. The Gendarmes at the checkpoint discovered that the driver was attempting to smuggle a Syrian refugee family out of the camp. The driver and family were detained, but once word of the detention made it back into the camp, and rumors circulated, relatives and friends of the Syrian family moved to the Gendarme post.

Soon several hundred, possibly thousands refugees were on-scene and throwing rocks at the Gendarmes and the situation quickly evolved from a heated demonstration to a violent one.

Outnumbered and almost surrounded, the Gendarmes called for reinforcements and soon they deployed tear gas to disperse the crowd. There were reports of shots fired.

Three Syrian refugees were sent to hospital with gunshot wounds and one has since died. 28 Jordanian police officers are injured.

Nine tents and five caravans burnt during the demonstration.

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