SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: February 13, 2014

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Lomé

Region & Country:Western Africa | Togo

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Violent clashes broke out between police and student protesters on the campus of the University of Lomé on February 13, 2014, following attempts by state police to disperse non-violent protesters. 
The Movement for the Emancipation of Togolese Students (MEET) called a general meeting and rally for February 13, 2014, to protest what they alleged were restricted conditions on applications for public grants and scholarships.  According to reports, state police arrived in the auditorium where the protest was held at the request of the university’s President.  The police employed tear gas inside the auditorium at the beginning of the meeting, which eventually escalated into clashes that spread into the surrounding neighborhood.  According to reports, up to 12 students have been arrested, including MEET’s president and one of its vice-presidents.  19 students have been wounded. 
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention of students apparently for nonviolent expressive activity.  Students and other members of higher education communities have the right to engage peacefully in expressive activity, including protests.  State and university authorities have a responsibility to protect students engaged in such peaceful activity.  When state and university authorities are required to intervene in student protests to maintain order or security, they have a responsibility to do so in a way that is proportionate, and respects institutional autonomy, academic freedom and human rights, including by refraining from excessive force or abusive legal process or detention.