A gang of hooded people yanked a red statue down from its pedestal in the middle of the night in the Athens suburb of Palio Faliro, blasting it as “satanic”.
Only days earlier, a group of people from a local Greek Orthodox, led by a priest with holy water, circled the statue and spread the sacred liquid, while chanting hymns.
The priest described the statue as a “demon soldier of Satan” in a letter to the mayor of Palio Faliro, Dionysis Hatzidakis.
The work of public art, commissioned by the Martinos family, a wealthy Greek shipping family, was created by a well-known Greek artist named Kostis Georgiou, whose signature sculptures involve red figures.
The work’s title is “Phylax” — Greek for “guardian” or “protector” and was controversial since its installation.
Before the New Years Eve “exorcism” it was splashed with white paint, culminating wit the forceful tearing down by rope this past week by the gang of hooded zealots, who were witnessed in the action by a man working in a nearby kiosk.
Georgiou, speaking with Reuters, said that “all this violence against the sculpture since the first moment it was installed has left me speechless. It should remain down on the ground as a memorial of the irrational rationale.”
The Greek Culture Ministry has also condemned the destruction, noting in a statement shared today that “Freedom of expression and creativity are fundamental prerequisites of every democracy. Public dialogue, peaceful disagreement and the dialectical relationship between opposites are fundamental pillars of the Greek civilization and have been bequeathed to all humanity.”
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