The Greek government has vowed to take measures to halt intimidation and abuse directed at archaeologists working on Mykonos after one was beaten and another was sent threatening text messages.
The intimidating behavior directed at the archaeologists is believed to be in connection with illegal construction projects on Mykonos.
In response to these recent events, the Greek government has suspended the issuing of building permits in the off-plan areas of the island.
Mafia intimidate archaeologists working on Mykonos
The first incident occurred about two weeks ago when Manolis Psarros, a state-employed archaeologist working for the Cyclades Antiquities Authority was assaulted and beaten by at least one assailant and a possible accomplice as he was getting into his car in Athens.
The 53-year-old archaeologist’s partner told the Greek news media, Protothema, that he was struck with punches to the face, head, and sternum, causing him to lose consciousness. He was taken to hospital and is now recovering at home after receiving treatment for broken ribs and multiple bruises.
Suspicions have been raised that the attack on Mr. Psarros was because of his professional activities on Mykonos, which involves assessing building permits for hotels and entertainment centers and registering infringements and illegal constructions.
Sources in the archaeological service mentioned that they have linked the attack to the arbitrary building activities in areas of archaeological interest taking place on Mykonos, making special mention of two specific entertainment centers on the island’s beaches, which are under the scrutiny of the planning authorities.
This week, the Association of Greek Archaeologists reported that one of its members who work on the island of Mykonos received a threatening and abusive message, fueling further speculation that a targeted campaign is being carried out against archaeologists on the island.
On Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis commented on the suspected mafia activities against archaeologists working on Mykonos.
“This situation must be addressed decisively,” said Mr. Mitsotakis during a meeting held at the Maximos Mansion.
Over the course of the meeting, a decision was reached to send a mixed team of specialists made up of a building inspector, an environmental inspector, and a financial police officer to the island to investigate illegal construction projects and inadequate law enforcement.
Other senior members of the Greek government have also commented on the incidents.
On Tuesday, Kostas Skrekas, the Minister of Environment and Energy, made assurances that “In Mykonos, the law will be applied. The State is not blackmailed.”
“The perpetrators of the criminal and mafia attack against the archaeologist will be punished,” he continued.
“No illegal act, no illegal plan will be allowed to be legalized. I repeat, no blackmail and no loophole is going to work. Until the special town planning is approved which will definitively address all the issues, they are suspended and no new town planning permits will be issued for off-plan areas in Mykonos. The state is not being blackmailed and the control will be done by the central service of the ministry,” Mr. Skrekas concluded.
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