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 27, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Concepción

Region & Country:Americas | Chile

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 27, 2020, protests just outside the campus of the University of Concepción (UdeC) turned violent, culminating with the burning of a university truck by unidentified individuals.

On the afternoon of February 27, protesters had marched from the center of the city of Penquista to the area just outside the UdeC campus. As the demonstration continued, protesters and police authorities confronted each other, with unidentified individuals reportedly throwing heavy objects at police, and police reportedly using water cannons to disperse the protesters. According to reports, immediately after the authorities left, a group of unidentified individuals returned to the campus, where they looted a university truck, and set it on fire.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during a campus protest. While students and members of the public have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they also have a responsibility to exercise their rights peacefully and responsibly. State authorities likewise have a responsibility to exercise restraint and refrain from disproportionate retaliation to campus unrest. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violence on campus threatens academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).