Students from Madagascar University went on strike again on Friday (16 April) after a three-week shutdown by the authorities.
Students from Madagascar University went on strike again on Friday (16 April) after a three-week shutdown by the authorities. The University, in the capital Tananarive, was due to re-open on Friday -- but most of the students stayed away from classes. The dispute continues despite warnings from the island's President Philibert Isiranana that he will again shut the University -- this time for the rest of the year.
The dispute, over students' claims for a ruling body composed of government officials, lecturers and students, continued during a meeting of representatives of French-speaking universities from all over the world. The conference, being held at Madagascar University, opened on Saturday.
SYNOPSIS: Students from Madagascar University went on strike again on Friday (April 16) despite a warning from the island's ruler, President Philibert Tsiranana. The students refused to return to classes on Friday after a three-week shut-down caused by an earlier strike. The dispute is over students' claims for a ruling body of government officials, professors and students themselves. It was started by medical students inn an argument over arrangements for courses.
This new strike came as President Tsiranana arrived at the University for the opening of the Conference of the international Association of French-speaking Universities. Now, students face a threatened shut-down of the University for the rest of the year.
Among speakers at the Conference was Professor Leo Hamon, French Secretary of State, who is representing the French Government. Earlier, M. Hamon held talks with President Tsiranana. He refused to reveal the exact nature of the talks, but said they included Madagascar's relations with French-speaking states.
Meanwhile, as the Conference continued inside the University, students demonstrated outside. Earlier, they had been told by the Minister of Cultural Affairs that their complaints would be looked into.
Some classes were held with a few students, and no attempts were made to disrupt either these classes or the Conference meeting. Police were on the scene to avert trouble, but no action was taken. Leaflets were handed out by students, who said the University was ONLY re-opened for the Conference. A Government spokesman denied this, however, and said students could have returned to their classes.