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: November 16, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Unspecified Institution(s)

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Indonesia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 16, 2022, clashes broke out between student protesters from the Alliance of Papuan Students (AMP) and local civilians and security officers as the students set out to protest the G20 Summit being held in Bali.

The students started their march from a dormitory for Papuan students in the city of Denpasar at roughly 9:30 AM. The students reportedly held banners and played music as the march began, but they were immediately confronted by a group of local community members who were reportedly opposed to the march, as well as a number of “pecalang” officers (members of local security groups that are separate from state police and are unique to Bali). A verbal altercation between the two sides eventually became physical. Student protesters and locals, who were apparently backed by the pecalang officers, jostled and shoved back and forth. Video shows individuals grabbing for the students’ protest signs; some students hit back with them, while locals and apparent pecalang officers threw other objects at and beat the students. One video of the clashes shows what appear to be rocks being thrown back and forth over the wall of the dormitory where students were retreating. Several students were reportedly injured.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about clashes breaking out during a student protest as well as reports of local security officers engaging in violent force. Local security forces and community members have a responsibility to refrain from restricting the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — 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 Indonesia is a party — and to refrain from physical violence. Students, likewise, are reminded to refrain from physical violence during student protests.

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