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: August 28, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Autonomous University of Puebla

Region & Country:Americas | Mexico

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 28, 2021, police forcibly removed students sleeping in tents during a sit-in protest near Casa Aguayo, a state government building.

On August 27, about twenty members of the Education for all Student Front (FEET) started a sit-in to call on Governor Luis Miguel Barbosa Huerta to expand student enrollment in public universities in Puebla. According to El Universal Puebla, students held the sit-in on neighboring streets of Casa Aguayo rather than in front of the government building at the request of government officials.

At about 2 am, police reportedly pulled students out of the tents they were sleeping in, threatened them with arrest, and confiscated their personal belongings, including phones, laptops, tents, and backpacks. Students allege that police shoved and beat them while removing them from the street.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of force by police in response to a student protest — conduct that is protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Instruments and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Mexico is a party. State authorities have an obligation to ensure the security of higher education communities and to refrain from violent or disproportionate actions in response to campus protests. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

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