With the 200th anniversary of the removal of the Parthenon Marbles from Athens by Lord Elgin the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) initiated a collection of signatures in Cyprus, calling for their return to Greece.

In a statement, CNA Chairman Larkos Larcou said the initiative undertaken by the CNA aims to ensure the issue of the marbles remains in the global news on the occasion of exactly two centuries from their unlawful removal from the historic monument of the ancient Acropolis of Athens.

“It is important that many people use all ways at their disposal until the day of their return.”

Keeping this in mind, the campaign seeks to involve others who can contribute in their own ways. Deputy head of the CNA Giorgos Penintaex explained:

“CNA will take over the handling of the declaration which has been prepared on the subject, and collect signatures from government and state officials, the church leadership, ministers, MPs, party leaders, celebrities and heads of organized groups across the range of political, economic and social life of the country.”

The CNA as a journalistic organization will interview prominent figures related to the topic and will display relevant audio-visual material, Penintaex added. The declaration calls on the return of the Parthenon sculptures to their natural and historic environment as they are an integral part of the ancient temple. According to the CNA statement, they were stolen by Lord Elgin, illegally transported to the UK and remain in the British Museum despite many efforts to lobby for their return.

The collection of stone objects – sculptures, inscriptions and architectural features – were taken by Lord Elgin from the Parthenon in Athens between 1801 and 1805, during his time as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, of which Athens was a part. According to the British Museum, Elgin did not steal them, but took them with the knowledge and permission of the Ottoman authorities. Being passionate about ancient Greek art, he transported the sculptures to Britain by sea.

For 2017 a series of events is planned, among them lectures, presentations to targeted audiences and an international conference.