Cameroon: First lawyers and teachers, now doctors on strike

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This is the second time doctors have taken part in a strike in Cameroon this year.

Doctors in Cameroon are taking part in a strike demanding better working conditions and pay. The doctors union, known as SYMEC, called on practitioners nationwide to take part in the strike, which began on Monday (15 May) and is set to continue until 17 May.

This is the second time doctors are taking part in such strikes in Cameroon this year. The first action occurred in April, with reports saying doctors had left patients without critical care in the capital Yaounde.

The High Commission of Cameroon has not responded to a request for comments on the ongoing strike.

However, in April, the government deemed the previous strike as illegal as SYMEC is not a legally recognised union, something the union denies.

Authorities are also believed to have banned SYMEC President, PierreYves Bassong from taking part in TV programmes.

Cameroon is already witnessing anti-government protests and strikes in its English speaking areas. Lawyers, teachers and students in the Southwest and Northwest provinces, Cameroon’s only English-speaking regions, have been striking since October 2016 against perceived marginalisation and the use of French in courts and schools in the provinces.

Amid the ongoing unrest, some groups have taken to the streets demanding a return to a federal state system, the breakaway of the Northwest and Southwest provinces and the restoration of Southern Cameroons, also known as the Republic of Ambazonia, a British mandate during colonisation.

The Cameroonian government is facing condemnation for the way it is handling protests, amid fears at least six people have been killed during rallies. Dozens have been arrested, with rights groups calling on authorities to investigate the fatalities.

Cameroon has denied allegations of excessive force by the military and police to quell protests and has rejected calls for a referendum on a possible return to a federal system.

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