On June 14, 2021, police violently clashed with students from the University of Sine-saloum El Hadj Ibrahima Niass (USSEIN) during a protest over the university’s infrastructure.
Students held a protest on the USSEIN Kaolack campus, calling for an improvement in campus infrastructure and a larger university budget to increase faculty salaries. Students blocked the road in front of the campus with burning tree branches. Police fired tear gas at students in an apparent effort to disperse them. Students reportedly threw rocks at police. According to Sene News, several students were injured during the clash. Police reportedly arrested several students.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during a student protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to maintain order and security, they also have an obligation to ensure that their actions are proportionate to the situation, do not endanger protesters, and are not undertaken to restrict nonviolent expressive activity. Students likewise have a responsibility to carry out expressive activities peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of violent force during protests undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.