University of Belize students stage walk-out to participate in anti-corruption rally

Peaceful Assembly

On 20th February 2020, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) organised an anti-corruption rally which was joined by several of the country’s unions. Members of the National Student Union of Belize (NSUB) had voted to join the demonstration, but the University of Belize published a press release stating that classes were maintained despite a decision by the Ministry of Education to cancel classes in government and government-aided schools. Even with the university’s decision, a group of students staged a walk-out to attend the anti-corruption rally.

On 26th February 2020, NSUB responded to the University of Belize’s decision saying that it had stripped students of the opportunity to partake in the demonstration in exercise of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. In their statement, NSUB also reported receiving several complaints from students denouncing that teachers had threatened to penalise those who took part in the protest. According to news reports, some members of the university demanded an apology from the students who walked out. The National Trade Union Congress of Belize also stated that there were credible reports claiming that students who took part in the walk-out were being targeted.