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: September 20, 2018

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Medan University

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Indonesia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 20, 2018, opposing rallies by student and non-student groups reportedly erupted in violent clashes, leaving at least ten injured.

A group of supporters of Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and another group from the Medan University Student Movement Alliance held concurrent, opposing demonstrations outside the North Sumatra Legislative Council. Both demonstrations were reportedly peaceful until one of the Jokowi supporters allegedly threw a piece of wood at the student protesters. The groups reportedly clashed and threw rocks at each other. At least ten individuals, including protesters and police, were injured during the clashes. Police reportedly held at least students for allegedly vandalizing a police vehicle. As of this report, there is no investigation into the violence.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent clashes between students and non-students during an off-campus protest. While students and other members of society have the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, the exercise of those rights does not extend to violent activity. Such violence puts protesters in danger of physical harm and undermines freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.