On August 17, 2021, a group of unidentified, masked individuals raided and vandalized the University of Antioquia campus.
Sources reported as many as 25 people involved in the raid, during which they allegedly threatened security guards, and ordered the evacuation of the campus. The assailants reportedly damaged telecommunications infrastructure, disrupting internet connectivity on campus, before leaving. The university’s vice-rector reported that the assailants were armed.
The university has been a regular staging ground for organizing since a national protest movement began in April 2021 in response to tax increases and concerns over corruption. Police violently cracked down on many of the protests. Reports do not indicate, however, that students were involved in the August 17 raid on the campus.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by reports of armed individuals raiding a higher education institution, threatening security personnel, and vandalizing university infrastructure. While civilians have a right to freedom of expression, they also have a responsibility to exercise that right without resorting to physical violence. State authorities should take steps to ensure the security of higher education institutions, including by carrying out investigations of such incidents, while ensuring compliance with national and international human rights obligations.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).