On March 14, 2022, during a student protest over the payment of student accommodation allowances, demonstrators at the University of the Free State campus reportedly assaulted staff and students, threw stones at private security and police, and vandalized and looted university property. Authorities reportedly arrested two students for alleged property damage conduct.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about reports of students using violence to intimidate members of a higher education institution as well as the destruction of campus property. While students have rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they also have a responsibility to exercise those rights peacefully and responsibly. The use of violent protest tactics to intimidate or coerce members of the higher education community undermines academic freedom and student expression.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).