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State-employed archaeologists in Greece launched strike action Tuesday to protest an assault on an archaeologist responsible for the resort island of Mykonos, an attack they say may have been linked to commercial pressure to extend tourism development.
Archaeologist Manolis Psarros was beaten by an unidentified man with a possible accomplice in Athens last week and was left unconscious and bleeding in the street. The 53-year-old was taken to a state hospital in the Greek capital.
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Archaeologists employed by the Culture Ministry staged a five-hour work stoppage to protest what their association described as a “mafia-style attack.”
“Our colleague’s … personal life does not justify any such criminal attack and we directly relate it to the cases that he handled on the island of Mykonos,” Despina Koutsoumba, the head of the protesting archaeologists’ association told an online news conference Monday.
State-employed archaeologists in Greece hold placards in a strike action outside the Culture Ministry in Athens, on March 14, 2023, to protest the assault of an archaeologist on the island of Mykonos. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
“In the course of his duties he had dealt with serious cases of violations of archaeological and environmental legislation and of the legislation to (protect) coastal areas.”
The protest was joined by ministry employees in Athens as well as the national Association of Archaeological Conservators.
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.
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One of Greece’s best known holiday destinations, Mykonos was settled in ancient times and hosts an archaeological museum. It is located next to the tiny and uninhabited island of Delos, an ancient commercial, religious and political center that is considered one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites.
The Culture Ministry condemned the assault, while Mykonos Mayor Constantinos Koukas described the beating as a “criminal and brazen attack that has shocked us all.”