Activist group calls for reunification of Parthenon Marbles for thirteenth year

Members of the BCRPM protest at the British Museum

Members of the BCRPM protest at the British Museum - Credit: British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM)

Members of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) are protesting for the 13th year in a row to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

The repatriation of these Marbles in the British Museum back to the Acropolis in Athens has been debated since Greece first put in a request for the objects to be returned in 1983.

The Marbles, have been held in the British Museum for more than two hundred years, since 1816.

Dame Janet Suzman, chairwoman of the BCRPM, has been a proponent for the safe return of the Parthenon Marbles for many years.

Dame Janet calls the British Museum’s continued acquisition of the Marbles "an injustice".

“Give them back, that's where they belong,”  she told the Ham&High.

“They were stolen. They were taken unlawfully. They had a miserable time in Bloomsbury, and they need to be back with their fellow gods and goddesses and the fellow gods and goddesses reside in Athens where they should be.”

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The British Museum responded to these allegations by saying that the BCRPM’s claims are "misleading." 

The Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum

The Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum - Credit: British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM)

In 2009, the Acropolis Museum was founded in Athens to house the remaining relics of the Parthenon, however the Marbles have yet to be returned. 

In its statement, the British Museum said: “The Parthenon sculptures are beautiful works of art which are loved and admired world-wide.

“We believe that sharing them with the public in as rich a range of contexts as possible should lie at the heart of these conversations. The public is failed when conversations are limited to a legalistic and adversarial context.”

The statement further explains that the British Museum’s acquisition of the Parthenon Marbles was investigated and found to be lawful by the Parliament Select Committee.

“It’s time the British Museum woke up to its responsibility to reunify one of the greatest works of classical antiquity and engage in mediation with greater seriousness,” said Dame Janet in a joint statement with vice chair Paul Cartledge.

This year’s protest began days after the BCRPM received communication from the Museum regarding a 2014 loan of a statue of the River God Ilosses to the Hermitage Museum in Russia.

In the email, the British Museum denied the BCRPM access to documents concerning the loan thus sparking further outrage.

“They ought to go home,” said Dame Janet. “It's time, 200 years is enough.”