>> Hundreds demonstrating outside Ankara's main courthouse Thursday at the start of the trial of two teachers. They've been on hunger strike since losing their jobs in a crackdown following last year's failed coup in Turkey. Professor Nuria Gulman and primary school teacher Samih Ozashah have been surviving on liquids and supplements for half a year.
Doctors say they're dangerously weak. They were detained in May accused of having links to a terrorist group.>> There's a very heavy police presence outside the courts. As you can see, there's a line of police in riot gear just running down. There's barriers lining the entire pavement. We've been told that they will not tolerate any protests here.
You have to be pretty brave to protest in Turkey these days. People that have been supporting these teachers including their lawyers have already been detained. They've been pepper sprayed and they've been stopped from protesting in the past. They're used to police intervention.>> Nuriye and Semih have become a symbol of the purge.
Semih's wife Esra is also on hunger strike. She too lost her job as a teacher. The trio say their action is aimed at highlighting the plight of around a 150,000 state employees suspended or sacked in the crackdown.
> President Tayip Erdogan blames followers of US based cleric for planning the coup attempt.
There have been actually deaths. When we say that these decrees kill people, we're not trying to use metaphors.>>
His followers had jobs in many professions. That the government has been criticized for seizing the opportunity to crush all opponents. The teachers weren't brought to court today. Security said despite their weakened state, they might try to escape.