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Algeria: Hunger strike of Performing Arts students ended

13 March 2013

The hunger strike is over after 11 days, and according to the Algerian newspaper Liberte, the students won the first round. The Minister of Culture is now talking with the students. It is however not likely to be the last crisis in Algeria.

The students from the Higher Institute of Arts and Audiovisuals, ISMAS will resume classes on 17 March 2013. The Ministry of Culture has withdrawn its complaint against 15 students and promised to work with the Ministry of Higher Education on solving the dispute.

“This hunger strike was initiated to break the silence of the authorities. We wanted to be able to have a dialogue and be heard,” said a spokesperson for the students. In an eight hour long meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Benmahdjoub Abdelaziz, director of ISMAS, met with representatives of students “to find solutions to problems,” said Rabah we Hamdi, Inspector General of the Ministry Culture.
Liberte – 9 March 2013:
Suspension de la grève de la faim à l’ISMAS
Les étudiants remportent “le premier round !” Par Hana Menasria

Background
On 1 March, Freemuse received a message from Alger-Culture.com:  that the students of the Algerian High Institute of Performing Arts and Audio Visual had started a hunger strike on 24 February 2013 following threats by police and their institution had been illegally closed.

The drastic action came after the students many times had attempted to engage a respectful dialogue with the Ministry of Culture about the quality of education, inadequate means, and scarce post-diploma opportunities.

Artsfreedom – 1 March 2013:
Algeria: Performing Arts students on hunger strike



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