In a noisy and smoky atmosphere, hundreds of students were seen throwing flares and carrying torches, as they marched in numbers to the Presidential Palace, along with teachers and parents in a loud protest over twice yearly exams.

“Take it back,” “students won’t bow down,” “no to quarterly exams,” they shouted, as police took strict measures, closing off roads around the palace where the Cabinet was meeting inside under President Anastasiades.

Speeches were made from representatives of student organisations while songs blared from speakers brought to the protest.

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(Christos Theodorides)

Dozens of buses from major cities carried students to Nicosia to voice their demand for the abolition of the twice yearly process they believe is exercising undue pressure, in psychological and academic terms.

According to a Cyprus News Agency, police were earlier checking buses both for road safety purposes, as well as preventing students from carrying firecrackers or any other objects that might be used in the protest, as the city’s assistant police chief Michalis Ioannou told CNA.

Students say the education ministry is refusing to recognise that the measure is problematic and take steps to alleviate the situation, insisting on carrying on with something that “has victimised thousands of students, destabilised the operation of school units and has put additional strain on thousands of teachers”.

Lyceum students, particularly final years are protesting over the fact, as they say that quarterly exams have been introduced in a backdrop of three pandemic years that have left their mark on the educational process in terms of what they’ve actually been able to learn, as they have missed many classes, as well as the normal functioning of school units, in both organisation and process.