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: July 07, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Panama

Region & Country:Americas | Panama

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 7, 2022, a police officer and four students were injured after violent clashes broke out between protesters and police near the campus of the University of Panama.

Students had gathered near the campus to protest high fuel costs and related economic challenges. Riot police arrived, leading to clashes: students threw stones at police and police fired teargas and rubber bullets at the students. Based on available reporting, it is not clear which group initiated the violence. Ultimately, a police officer was injured when he was hit with a stone, while four students were injured as a result of the actions by the riot police.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence in the course of a student protest. While students have the right to freedom of expression and assembly, such actions must be undertaken responsibly and nonviolently. Likewise, while state authorities have the duty to ensure public order, such actions must be undertaken with due regard for relevant international human rights principles including the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and the requirements of proportionality. Violence during the course of a student protest undermines academic freedom and university autonomy, and harms democratic society generally.