When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!
At the University of Algiers, medical residents have been on strike since mid-November
At the University of Algiers, medical residents have been on strike since mid-November
Faculté de médecine d'Alger - BEN Aknoun
Giacomo Tognini

ALGIERS — Medical residents at the University of Algiers have been on strike since mid-November, taking to the streets surrounding the medical campus in the western suburb of Ben Aknoun. The Algerian students are demanding changes to a system that forces them to work in far-flung corners of the country after they gain their medical license, in addition to a year of mandatory military service for all men.

But this past week, as reported by Algiers-based daily El Watan, these long-running protests were met with a swift and violent response by Algerian security forces, leaving several students injured. Riot police units had fanned out across the area since the early morning, placing a security cordon in anticipation of a large protest. Once the protest was underway, witnesses reported seeing plainclothes policemen beating medical students near the campus as the situation turned more violent. Security forces took several doctors and students into custody, seizing their phones and documents.

The Autonomous Collective of Algerian Medical Residents (CAMRA), the organization behind the strike, denounced the police response in a statement released to El Watan. "We call for everyone in the healthcare system, from teachers to assistant professors, to take a stand against the violence and contempt faced by their fellow medical residents in the last few months," the statement read.

The arrested students were released from nearby police stations, but CAMRA vowed to continue the strike and an associated boycott of specialized medical exams scheduled to start the same day. After the failure of talks between CAMRA and representatives from the ministry of higher education last week, the students still on strike will effectively fail their exams. CAMRA pledged to continue the boycott for the entire exam season, which is set to end on April 19. Along with a change in military and medical service requirements, the students also are seeking revisions to the medical school's statute and training process.

Despite the boycott, the ministry refused to postpone the exams and confirmed they would go on as planned. "Medical residents involved in the boycott must take full responsibility," said Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Tahar Hadjar.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest