Vandals strike in Athens

2004-09-20 13:58
Athens - Despite tight security for the 2004 Olympics, more than 20 sculptures on display around Athens during the Games were vandalised, newspaper reports said on Monday.

The sculptures, part of a 85-piece modern art exhibition titled "Athens by art," were scattered throughout the city's main boulevards and squares to celebrate the world's largest sporting event.

According to a report published in the Athens' daily Ta Nea two weeks after the Games, a large percentage of the sculptures were subject to vandalism or theft.

In the popular area of Monastiraki, located beneath the Acropolis, one sculpture by artist Giorgos Gimaraki - a forest made up of dozens of metal trees - suffered from abuse as thousands of passers-by slowing picked off all of the branches.

Another sculpture by Aggelos Skouti, titled "The grove of Thisseo" was vandalised after unknown assailants spray-painted the house made out of bricks and stole a collection of black-and-white pictures on display inside the dwelling.

Athens spent nearly €1.5bn to safeguard the Games. Despite tens of thousands of police and security forces patrolling the city's streets, officials have yet to arrest anyone in connection with the crime.

The 85-piece exhibition was insured against earthquakes and fire but not against acts of vandalism and theft. - Sapa-dpa

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