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EGYPT: Antiquities damaged by vandals; collapse of neighboring building feared

Cairo museum

Anti-government protests have damaged some of the famed Egyptian Museum's ancient artifacts, and curators now fear the treasured collection could be destroyed if a neighboring building engulfed in flames should collapse.

The ruling National Democratic Party headquarters next door was torched by demonstrators a day earlier and was at risk of toppling on the museum, the Al Arabiya news network reported.

"What scares me is that if this building is destroyed, it will fall over the museum," antiquities director Zahi Hawass told the news agency.

Egyptian army troops secured the museum and its grounds early Saturday after young Egyptians armed with clubs set up a human cordon around the site to protect it from looters.

The museum is in the heart of the city center that has been the scene of violent clashes between police and demonstrators demanding an end to the 30-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak. Vandals tore the heads off of two mummies inside the museum before the protective measures were taken, Hawass said.

The museum's prized King Tutankhamun exhibit wasn't damaged, the curator said.

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Photo: Egyptians gather next to an army tank that is protecting Cairo's museum from looters. Behind the museum, smoke billows from the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party. Credit: Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (8)

I don't see this as 'protesters' destoying the artifacts. The last I saw the protesters were three and four tall blocking the entrance to PROTECT the museum. I would tend to believe that the government and the 'mummy hunting' ass who's USING EGYPTS ARTIFACTS to MAKE A FORTUNE for HIMSELF with a 'REALITY SHOW' had a hand in it too.
I see this as a RELEASING OF ENERGY. That energy comes from THOSE VERY ARTIFACTS. Those anscestors spirits have been RELEASED so they can now ASSIST the PEOPLE OF EGYPT to OVERTHROW A DICTATORSHIP!
Just TWO girls opinions!!

Egypt has a very fine army. As long as they are protecting the museums, they will be alright.

Antiquity loots seems to be ending up in western countries if Iraq is a guidance, lets not blame Egyptians just yet!
Egyptians do have a able and internationally respected politician to replace Mubarak, Nobel Peace laureate Elbaradei is a good candidate since no one including US and Iran and more importantly Egyptians don't want religious fanatics (Moslem Brotherhood and their Wahabi cousins) in charge of Egypt, of course it's for Egyptians to decide and be respected by outsiders!

The looting probably really isn't related to the political unrest...it's seems more closely associated with the reasons people were looting during the R. King riots---because they could.

There are so many reports indicating that the thugs and looters in Cairo now are linked to the regime. Why does the reporter automatically thinks that they are anti-government or pro-democracy protesters .. As to the racist comments about the west right to keep all artifacts they find, well, just a racist comment not worth discussing but to say that the Iraqi museum was pilaged under the watch of the US army!!

Why says the looters are Egyptian?

this is why first world countries (or what's left of them) should keep all artifacts that the western archiologists discovered - these native countries tradgically cannot take care of their own heritage and they never will - sad. its not a moral crime for rare artifacts to sit protected in a museum for people to see for all time in the capitols of stable western countries - this article is the truth.

Yes it is important to fight for your rights, liberty and democracy however what do you gain by destroying historic artifacts which are a symbol of your country's rich culture and heritage? I just don't get that part of it.


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