Turkish Cypriot teachers gathered in front of northern Nicosia’s district court on Friday morning to protest against the criminal cases opened against 22 of their colleagues.

Charges of “battering the police” were filed against 22 teachers last week, based on a protest which took place outside the north’s ‘education ministry’ in August last year.

Friday is also commemorated as teachers’ day in the north, and this fact did not go unnoticed by those who spoke at the teachers’ gathering.

Cyprus Turkish secondary education teachers’ union (Ktoeos) chairwoman Selma Eylem said the cases had been filed “for no reason, just because the teachers dared protest.

“We are going through a period in which they want to take teachers’ freedoms away. The level of pressure being put on teachers is increasing, and they are taking steps to transform our education system and society for the worse,” she added.

“Teachers will continue to fight for our existence. Neither this case, nor the police, nor the upper administration of this place, no one will intimidate us,” she said.

Also speaking at the gathering was Cyprus Turkish teachers’ union general secretary Burak Mavish, who said “journalists, professionals, architects, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists and doctors are standing with us against [Turkish President Recep] Tayyip Erdogan’s statements, and we are honoured by this.

“We will continue to speak out, and everyone must resist the process of discrediting us before it is too late,” he added.

Court proceedings were brief, and the case was postponed.