On January 9, 2018, police reportedly clashed with and arrested student protesters at the University of Khartoum.
Protests had been ongoing for several days throughout Sudan challenging sharp, recent increases in the price of basic goods such as bread. On Tuesday, January 9, protests began on the campus of the University of Khartoum, following other protests on campuses elsewhere in the country. Police responded to the protest by entering the campus, using tear gas repeatedly to disperse the crowd, and arresting three of the protesters. Students reportedly threw stones at police in response.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about government troops’ entry onto campus absent a compelling justification, as well as the use of force and arrest, apparently to retaliate for or prevent student expression. State and university authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with the rights to free expression and assembly, so long as they are exercised peacefully and responsibly, and must avoid disproportionate measures that may result in harm. Likewise, students have an obligation to exercise the right to free expression in a manner that is consistent with university values including non-violence and social responsibility. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and university autonomy, and undermine democratic society generally.