Two Turkish teachers, Nuriye Gulmen, an academic and Semih Ozakca, a primary school teacher, who have been on hunger strike since March 9th in protest at their dismissal on trumped up terrorist charges are dangerously ill, according to reports.

President Tayyip Erdogan has waged a relentless campaign against journalists and teachers in particular, under the pretext that they colluded with the attempted coup last year. In fact both groups have been reporting and defending democracy and the rights in particular of Kurdish people, who have been consistently repressed by the government. Egitim Sen, the Turkish teachers union, has  of defending the Kurds and their right to their culture and to be taught in the Kurdish language. For this it has been frequently outlawed by successive governments and its leaders subject to arrest and harassment.

26 people were arrested earlier this week when they protested peacefully in the capital Ankara against the arrest of the teachers. Another dismissed teacher and friend and supporter of the pair was beaten up by police when she protested by chaining herself to the education ministry fence. She was later taken into custody and tortured, according to reports.

Meanwhile thousands of protesters are marching 450km from Ankara to Istanbul to demand an end to the attacks on democratic rights.