State-employed archeologists staged a five-hour protest outside the Culture Ministry in Athens on Tuesday to protest the savage assault of a colleague in a suburb of the Greek capital, an incident they say is linked to the “mafia-style” violence targeting those tasked with persevering the country’s ancient heritage.
According to prior reports, 58-year-old archaeologist Manolis Psarrosan, an employee at the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades, was left unconscious in the street last week with “broken ribs and fractures to his nose and face.” The archeologists believe the attack is linked to the expansion of tourism on the island of Mykonos. Due to the abundance of archaeological sites in Greece, local archaeological services have the power to veto development plans.
According to The Washington Post, Psarrosan has been involved in several cases that allege violations, including “illegal constructions”, on Mykonos and has been called as a witness in related trials. Additionally, has helps monitor approvals for building permits for hotels and entertainments centers. The archaeological service alleges that some local officials refuse to record illegal activity among those that bring tourism and the money that comes with it to the island, in fear of physical retaliation. Psarrosan was currently taking part in an investigation of “arbitrary building activities in areas of archaeological interest” on two beaches on Mykonos.
The protesters have called for increased police protection for officials and archeologists who are involved in “contentious inspections.”
“There are problems caused by the high level of tourism development on many islands, but Mykonos is by far the worst,” said Despina Koutsoumba, the head of the archaeologists’ association.