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Protestors call on Egyptian antiquities chief to resign

hawass240.jpgZawi Hawass, Egypt’s high profile head of antiquities, is under fire over his ties to the country’s former president and his showy leadership style.

About 150 university archaeology graduates called for Hawass to quit, in a peaceful protest outside his offices yesterday, according to the Associated Press. In the days before Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, Hawass accepted a post in Mubarak’s cabinet. Hawass also had said, before the president stepped down on Friday, that Egyptians should give Mubarak a chance at reform.

Protesters assembled outside of Hawass’ office in Cairo also complained of poor pay and Hawass’ self-aggrandizement. “He doesn’t care about us,” Gamal el-Hanafy, a 22-year-old graduate of Cairo University told AP. “He just cares about propaganda.”

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo also suffered more damage at the hands of looters than previously thought. On Sunday, Hawass reported on his blog that 18 items were missing from the museum, including a limestone statue of the god Akhenaten and a gilded wooden statue of Tutankhamen. According to the New York Times, two of the items were recovered on the grounds of the museum.

For a pre-revolutionary glimpse into Hawass’ life, the New Yorker ran a meaty profile in 2009, with the subtitle “Is Zawi Hawass bad for Egyptology?”

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