Thousands of Peruvian citizens marched down the streets yesterday, in Lima and Cusco, demanding Yale University to return no less than 40 thousand Inca artifacts held since the early 20th century, reported several news agencies.
In Lima, president Alan Garcia, and Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde, headed the demonstration that started around 3 p.m. in the Campo de Marte park, in downtown Lima, and continued all the way to the Justice Palace.
Hundreds of demonstrators held banners reading “Yale, return the artifacts.”
President Garcia demanded unity among Peruvians in order to strengthen the country’s claim to Yale.
‘Let’s all march united, from different political parties, regions, movements, together, which is how the people want to see and respect us, which is how Yale will see us,” he added in a brief speech at the rally.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests
Garcia stated he will not fail to claim wherever he is, demanding the return of the artifacts to Peru.
In Cusco, around 3,500 people joined the demonstrations yesterday, including public servants, authorities, students and locals.
A few days ago, Garcia sent a letter to his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama asking for help in retrieving thousands of ancient artifacts housed in Yale’s Peabody Museum and storage areas.
He also requested to face up to this misappropriation of cultural property as a global crime.
Garcia Belaunde said Peru is receiving many messages of support, including the statements of U.S. Democrat Senator Christopher J. Dodd.
“I think there are positive signs,” he said, after stating that there no response yet Obama to Garcia’s letter, as it was recently submitted on Wednesday to the embassy.
The demonstrations are part of a government-backed campaign in order to seek the international community’s support to recover part of Peru’s cultural heritage that was removed from the Inca citadel nearly a century ago.