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Assault on archaeologist triggers protests in Greece

Assault on archaeologist triggers protests in Greece


ATHENS, Greece — State-employed archaeologists in Greece launched strike action on Tuesday to protest an attack on an archaeologist responsible for the resort island of Mykonos, an attack they say may be linked to commercial pressure to extend tourism development.

Manolis Psarros, an employee of the state archaeological service, was beaten by an unknown man with a possible accomplice in Athens last week and left unconscious and bleeding on the street. The 53-year-old was taken to a state hospital in the Greek capital and is currently recovering at home.

Archaeologists working at the Culture Ministry staged a five-hour work stoppage to protest what their association described as a “mafia-style attack.”

Despina Koutsoumba, the head of the protesting archaeologists’ association, said Psarros has faced numerous cases involving alleged violations in Mykonos and has been called as a witness in the past in trials resulting from the charges. that.

“He has no problems in his personal life – debts or anything like that – that would justify anything like this. This is a professional attack,” Koutsoumba told The Associated Press.

“He was hit from behind before getting into his car. He lost consciousness and was hit after that. He had broken ribs and extensive bruising.”

The protest was joined by ministry employees in Athens as well as the national Association of Archaeological Conservators. They are demanding additional police protection for public officials involved in the disputed inspections and will refuse to handle cases from Mykonos until the end of the month when they plan to visit the island.

Planning permission in Greece is often subject to a veto by the local archaeological service, which is tasked with protecting the country’s ancient heritage.

One of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece, Mykonos has been inhabited since ancient times and hosts an archaeological museum. It is located next to the small and uninhabited island of Delos, an ancient center of commerce, religion and politics that is considered one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites.

“There are problems caused by the high level of tourism development on many islands, but Mykonos is by far the worst,” Koutsoumba said.

The Culture Ministry condemned the attack, while Mykonos Mayor Constantinos Koukas described the beating as a “criminal and senseless attack that shocked us all.”