We have received the following message from Alger-Culture.com:
“ALERT!!! Presently on hunger strike, the students of the Algerian High Institute of Performing Arts and Audio Visual are threatened by police and their institution is illegally closed.”
“Desperate, a group of students of The Algerian High Institute of Performing Arts and Audio Visual (ISMAS) are on hunger strike since February 24th.
This drastic action came after many attempts by the students to engage a respectful dialogue with the ministry of Culture. The latter continues to despise students and to manage the cultural sector in Algeria with authoritarian methods (see: Call for the Respect of Freedom of Artistic Expression and of Cultural Action in Algeria).
Once a beacon of training institutions in artistic professions in Africa and in the Arab region, ISMAS has become an empty shell, with a poor quality of education, inadequate means, and scarcely post-diploma opportunities. Furthermore, the degree is not recognized by other universities, and the management of the financial resources remains opaque. It should be recalled that if the budget of the ministry of Culture in Algeria is the highest in Africa and in the Arab region ($500 million in 2012), artists in Algeria have no statues, and live in total misery.
Through this message, we inform that students’ health is deteriorating and that they risk death.
Instead of establishing a dialogue with them, the minister of Culture decided to illegally close the institution, and is threatening students by sending police to repress them. The Ministry of Culture continues to develop its strategy of terror with total impunity.