On January 21, 2023, police stormed the National University of San Marcos, detaining over 200 protesters who had come to Lima to join ongoing anti-government protests.
The protesters had reportedly gathered on campus to take refuge after participating in widespread demonstrations demanding that President Dina Boluarte step down after several weeks of unrest. Following a complaint by a university official alleging that protesters had attempted to steal security officials’ electronic devices, safety devices, and other items, police reportedly entered the campus with tanks and a helicopter, using tear gas against the protesters. According to students, police pushed and kicked them, attacked them with truncheons, and forced students out of their dormitories. Police reportedly arrested more than 200 individuals on campus, releasing them the following day.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent encroachments onto campus and mass arrests of nonviolent, on-campus protesters. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine university autonomy and damage academic freedom. State and university authorities have an obligation to protect academic freedom and the right to free expression on campus.