Five of Greece’s largest museums shut down in protest against new law

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Five of Greece’s largest museums were shut down on Monday as Greek archaeologists protested against a new draft law passed by government to make the museums more autonomous.

The five museums which were closed and are impacted by the law include the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture of Thessaloniki and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion on Crete.

The closures come after Greece’s Ministry of Culture recently tabled a draft law to Greek Parliament which aims to change the operating status of the five museums into Legal Entities under Public Law (PLL/NPDD).

This means the museums will be weaned from the Culture Ministry, giving them more freedom and responsibility.

Run under the new law by a ministry-appointed general director and board, the museums will raise funds, seek sponsors and campaign for donors, but will also be able to operate branches and strike partnerships in Greece and abroad, instead of relying exclusively on the ministry for funding and outreach. 

The ministry will maintain a supervisory role and will continue to be the main source of funding.

According to Ekathimerini, the parliamentary majority of ruling New Democracy party voted on and approved the draft law on Monday. Opposition parties PASOK, the Communist Party, DiEM25, and Greek Solution all voted against the motion.

SYRIZA abstained from the parliamentary vote, as it had announced, but party leader Alexis Tsipras expressed his anger at the law and said: “Once again, culture and the people of culture are under persecution.”

Greece’s Minister for Culture, Lina Mendoni, said the law is “necessary modernisation.”

Source: Keep Talking Greece.

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