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Students protest over Parthenon marbles January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For Return Greek Marbles.

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.

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