Friday 24 November 2023
Teachers gathered in front of the Nicosia District Court to show solidarity with their colleagues who appeared in court today, November 24, Teachers’ Day, Yeniduzen reports.
Lawyers and union representatives were escorted to the courtroom amidst applause. However, after a brief meeting, the trial was postponed.
The Prosecutor’s Office filed a lawsuit against 22 teachers on charges of “assaulting the police“.
The prosecution’s claim is based on the events in August 2022 when a confrontation occurred between teachers, who were demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Education, and the police.
As the teachers entered the court building they were greeted with slogans of “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism“.
Following the hearing, officials from the Cyprus Turkish Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) and the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers’ Union (KTOEÖS) made press statements.
President of KTOEÖS Selma Eylem said that teachers are facing unwarranted legal action just for participating in a protest on such a day, stating, “We are going through a period where the freedom of teachers is being sought to be taken away“, adding that no trial, police, or upper management can intimidate them.
She said that the level of pressure on teachers is increasing day by day, indicating that these steps are being taken with the aim of transforming education and society.
Eylem stated that that teachers are being targeted, “Teachers will continue their struggle for social existence. Neither the trial, nor the police, nor the upper management can intimidate us“, she said.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of KTÖS Burak Maviş highlighted that this was not the first time that they had been summoned by the courts.
Maviş stated that his union stands with journalists, professional chambers, architects, and engineers. He expressed their support for legal professionals against the rhetoric of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and noted their solidarity with pharmacists and doctors, stating that they take pride in standing with these groups.
Maviş, stating that they will continue to voice their opinions, emphasised that all professional groups should unite without delay to resist their being devalued.