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: May 16, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):Guayaquil University

Region & Country:Americas | Ecuador

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 16, 2022, several dozen medical students from Guayaquil University were engaged in a nonviolent protest outside campus when local police deployed teargas and beat students with batons to disperse them.

The students had reportedly arrived on campus and discovered that classrooms were not ready for them and teachers had not been assigned to their classes, leading the students to march off campus in protest. Once there, police confronted the students; videos taken at the scene show police utilizing what appears to be pepper spray, and an officer beating a student with a baton, and a student being taken into custody.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about acts of violence against nonviolent student expression — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Ecuador is a party. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from restricting nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Efforts to restrict students’ nonviolent expression 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)