On May 24, 2023, Kenyan police fired tear gas at students protesting an increase in student fees and the high cost of food in the canteen at Kisumu National Polytechnic College (KNPC).
After the protesting students blocked the roads outside of campus, stopping traffic, the KNCP administration called riot police to disperse the students. Police fired tear gas to disperse the students. According to police, students threw stones at them.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of violence in the course of a student protest. While state authorities have the right to take reasonable measures to ensure order, they must also exercise restraint and refrain from disproportionate actions, actions that may result in unnecessary harm, and or actions which encroach on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – conduct which 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 Kenya is a party. Likewise, while students have the right to publicly assemble and express themselves on and off campus, such actions must be conducted peacefully and responsibly. Violence in the course of an on-campus protest, coming from any source, undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)