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 18, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Panama

Region & Country:Americas | Panama

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 18, 2022, protesters and police clashed violently in front of the University of Panama during demonstrations over economic insecurity.

Students, teachers and staff from the University of Panama had gathered in front of campus to protest increases in fuel prices and demand that the government take concrete measures to address economic insecurity. They blocked traffic and burned tires on the Trasisthmian Road. Police arrived and attempted to disperse the protesters, utilizing teargas, while the protesters threw stones and other objects at police.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during student protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to maintain order and safety, they should also exercise restraint and ensure that their actions are proportionate and do not endanger members of the campus community. Likewise, while members of the higher education community have rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they must exercise those rights peacefully and responsibly, refraining from physical violence.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)–20220518-0020.html