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Students protest over Parthenon marbles

Three more articles in the international press of the students in Athens [1] campaigning for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

From:
BBC News [2]

Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 16:26 GMT
Greek pupils demand Elgin Marbles

Greek schoolchildren have demonstrated at the Acropolis in Athens to demand that the UK returns marble sculptures taken by Lord Elgin 200 years ago.

Wearing orange jackets bearing campaign logos, about 2,000 pupils formed a human chain around the monument.

The marbles are part of the Parthenon, a 2,500-year-old temple.

Greece has long campaigned for the marbles’ return. But the British Museum says they are better off in London, safe from pollution damage in Athens.

Organisers said the marbles were Greece’s pride and dignity. They said the symbol of Greek democracy had lain mutilated for two centuries.

Campaigners have collected 65,000 signatures and sent 900 letters of protest to the head of the British Museum in London.

The marbles were removed by British envoy Lord Elgin at the beginning of the 19th Century.

The Greek government has for years campaigned for their return, saying they were illegally removed.

The museum says it is not at liberty to give them back, and believes they are well looked after and available for millions of visitors to see in London.

It says the marbles are safe from Athens’s pollution that has damaged those still there.

An organiser of Tuesday’s protest said campaigners would soon stage a similar event at the British Museum.

Other cities which hold pieces of the temple to the goddess Athena include Paris, Vienna, Palermo and Munich, according to the Greek culture ministry.

From:
New York Times [3]

Arts, Briefly
Compiled by LAWRENCE VAN GELDER
Published: January 31, 2007
Athens Protest Seeks Return of Elgin Marbles

Wearing bright orange jackets inscribed with the words “Parthenon Marbles — Reunification Now,” about 2,000 students and their teachers formed a human chain around the Acropolis in Athens yesterday, demanding the return by Britain of the 2,500-year-old reliefs taken from the monument more than 200 years ago, Reuters reported. Giorgos Hasiakis, secretary of the Athens tutors union, who helped organize the demonstration, said a similar protest would soon be held at the British Museum. “The marbles belong in their rightful place, and the students will continue with such actions until they return,” he said. The British Museum has rejected all requests for the return of the marbles, removed by Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Greece at the time. The museum says the reliefs receive better care in London. A Greek museum to house marbles is to open this year at the foot of the Acropolis, where the Parthenon stands.

[…]

From:
The Australian [4]

January 31, 2007
This story is from our news.com.au network Source: Reuters
Students protest over Parthenon marbles
From correspondents in Athens
January 31, 2007

THOUSANDS of students joined hands to form a human chain around the Acropolis today, demanding the return of the marbles ripped from the Athens monument more than 200 years ago.

Wearing bright orange jackets reading “Parthenon Marbles – Reunification Now”, about 2000 students and teachers formed a long line around the classical monument, calling for the British Museum to give the marbles back.

The Parthenon and other 2500-year-old marble temples on the Acropolis are seen as the epitome of the Golden Age of Athens.

Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Greece at the time, removed sculptures from the Parthenon and Greece has long pressed for their return.

“If you give youngsters a vision then they can turn it into a reality,” said Giorgos Hasiakis, secretary of the Athens tutors’ union, who helped organise the event.

“The marbles belong in their rightful place and the students will continue with such actions until they return.”

He said campaigners had collected 65,000 signatures and sent 900 letters of protest to the head of the British Museum.

The late Greek actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri spearheaded a fiery campaign for their return in the 1980s, describing them as looted national treasures.

“It was Mercouri’s dream to have them back home and we will make her dream come true,” said Piraeus prefect Yannis Michas, who joined in the protest.

The British Museum has turned down all requests, saying the marbles are in better care in London, safe from the Athens pollution that has damaged those left behind.

Mr Hasiakis said campaigners would soon stage a similar protest in London outside the British Museum.