Some 120,000 primary, middle and high school students in Cyprus have stayed home as school teachers go ahead with a two-day strike to protest what they say was the government's move to impose money-saving measures without consulting with them.
Teachers' union leaders say they were forced to take strike action because of rash decisions harming the quality of education. Private schools are unaffected by the strike that started Tuesday.
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Education Minister Kostas Champiaouris said the measures — including getting teachers to work longer hours — are necessary to curtail costs that are some of the highest in the European Union.
President Nicos Anastasiades — whose own bid to mediate an end to the dispute failed — said the government won't "give in to intimidation," but urged union leaders to negotiate.