On May 30, 2019, police reportedly engaged in violence against students participating in a peaceful protest at the University of Labé. One student was reportedly killed and several others were injured.
The students were protesting a university official’s decision to require two students to take exams, despite their being hospitalized due to severe injuries sustained in a traffic accident. University officials reportedly called on police to contain the protest. When they arrived on campus, police reportedly violently clashed with students. Amadou Boukariou Baldé, a computer science student, reportedly attempted to flee, when police beat him. Baldé died from the injuries a short time later, in an ambulance en route to the hospital.
Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about violent clashes and the use of violence force by police in response to a campus protest. SAR further offers its condolences to Amadou Boukariou Baldé’s family, friends, and the University of Labé community. While authorities have an obligation to maintain security and order on campus, such actions must be proportional to the situation and must not restrict the nonviolent exercise of the right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, or academic freedom; where such actions become violent, authorities should conduct thorough and transparent investigations, and respond appropriately. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.