Four people have been arrested on popular Greek islands on charges of illegal construction following the highly publicized beating of a local archaeologist who was investigating similar activities.
According to AFP, three men were caught carrying out construction work on Mykonos despite a suspension on development. On the island of Rhodes, a tour operator was arrested for illegally occupying part of a beach with metal and wooden structures. The arrests were made amid a government crackdown on illicit tourism development on Greek islands home to imperiled fragile archaeological sites.
“The law will be enforced in Mykonos,” Kostas Skrekas, Greece’s environment minister, said in a statement. “No illegal plan will be legalized… there will be no loophole.”
In March, 58-year-old archaeologist Manolis Psarrosan, an employee at the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades, was assaulted in a suburb of Athens. According to the Washington Post, Psarrosan has been involved in several cases with alleged violations, including ones revolving around “illegal constructions” and “arbitrary building activities in areas of archaeological interest” on Mykonos. He has been called as a witness in related trials.
Due to the abundance of archaeological sites in Greece, local organizations have the power to veto development plans.
Later that month, state-employed archeologists staged a five-hour protest outside the Culture Ministry in Athens to protest Psarrosan’s attack 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.