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Open the Acropolis, Greek President urges strikers

 Visitors make a tour of Athens aboard a tourist bus as at the background is seen the ancient Parthenon at the Acropolis ancient site in Athens, Greec...
 A tour guide shows holds up a picture of the ancient Acropolis, in front of the ancient site, in Athens on Wednesday, March 11, 2009. The entrance of...

Greece Acropolis Closed

Visitors make a tour of Athens aboard a tourist bus as at the background is seen the ancient Parthenon at the Acropolis ancient site in Athens, Greec...

Greece Acropolis Closed

A tour guide shows holds up a picture of the ancient Acropolis, in front of the ancient site, in Athens on Wednesday, March 11, 2009. The entrance of...

Greece's president urged striking Culture Ministry employees Wednesday to end a protest that has closed the Acropolis to visitors for the fifth time in two weeks.
The protesters are mostly contract workers demanding permanent jobs and back pay.
President Karolos Papoulias said the strikers should chose a different form of protest.
"I completely understand the demands and protests made by the contract workers. But for me it is inconceivable for the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis to be closed off," Papoulias said.
"There are ways to protest other than closing off a world heritage site."
Hundreds of tourists were turned away from the site Wednesday. Many stood at the entrance as strikers handed out fliers detailing their demands and displayed handwritten banners apologizing for the closure.
American tourist Kelly Scherer said she come to Athens specifically to see the Acropolis.
"I am unimaginably disappointed," said the 21-year-old from Connecticut. "The Acropolis is why you come to Athens. We rearranged our whole schedule to come here."
The protest went ahead despite a promise Tuesday from the Culture Ministry to address the strikers' demands. Protesters said they were skeptical of the government's statement.
"There are people who haven't been paid since November," said Yiannis Nakas, an archaeologist contracted by the Culture Ministry.
Nakas said the blockade could be repeated Thursday unless the government strengthened its commitment to resolve the pay dispute.
The Culture Ministry on Wednesday said it had already promised to introduce a measure in Parliament to assist contract workers and strongly condemned the ongoing protest.
"A small minority of contract workers is pretending it has not heard the commitments made by the government and ignored the huge national cost of their own (actions)," a ministry statement said.


Updated : 2020-12-02 12:38 GMT+08:00