September 24, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – Two members of the delegation accompanying Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha to the United Nations were arrested after brawling with security officers on Thursday at the Hilton Manhattan East Hotel in New York.
The Iranian mission at the UN was reportedly hosting a reception at the hotel for which 30 Sudanese diplomats were invited.
Trouble began when the Sudanese sought to avoid going through the metal detectors, according to a senior police official in New York.
“Some balked at going through the metal detector and started pushing and shoving each other,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was quoted by Associated Press.
It is not clear who started pushing or whether Iranian officials were involved in the scuffle.
“They eventually started to pass through the detectors, but the area got too crowded and police got involved to clear people from the area,” Kelly said.
Two Sudanese men being ushered out tumbled down some steps with U.S. Secret Service agents and were arrested on charges of obstructing governmental administration.
They were released when it was determined they had diplomatic status, Kelly said.
Under international law, diplomats generally have immunity from lawsuits or prosecution when visiting foreign countries. The arrested diplomats’ names were not released.
An New York Police Department (NYPD) detective injured his thumb, but no other injuries or problems were reported.
The Innercitypress website reported that VP Taha’s protocol officer by the name of Emad Habash was pushed to the floor and shortly afterward collapsed on the sidewalk across from the hotel. He was later taken in an ambulance.
His condition was not immediately known.
A high level meeting on Sudan took place on Friday and was attended by U.S. president Barack Obama and South Sudan President Salva Kiir as well as Taha.