Hundreds of students and teachers across Turkey have boycotted school to protest the government's moves to increase Islamic teachings in education.

Thousands more marched Friday in several Turkish cities holding up banners demanding a secular and science-based education system.

Proponents of Turkey's secular traditions claim that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is building a more Islam-focused education, to realize his goal of raising "pious generations." The government has in recent years loosened a headscarf ban and increased the number of religious schools and classes.

Police used water cannons Friday to disperse thousands of people who marched in the city of Izmir. Media reports said at least 10 people were detained in five Turkish cities for organizing the boycott.

Some students in the boycott visited science museums or attended lectures instead.