From IOL:

Thousands of people have signed a petition opposing the planned demolition of an Art Deco building in central Athens near the site of the new Acropolis museum.

Officials at the new museum, slated to open at the end of 2008 at the foot of the Acropolis, say the Art Deco structure, along with another building owned by the Greek composer Vangelis, impede the view from the museum's restaurant.

Demolition plans were approved by the Archaeology High Council last July and endorsed a month later by the minister of culture.

But neighbourhood residents, supported by an international petition with more than 8,000 signatures, have filed an appeal. They are also waiting for a decision from the ministry of the environment and public works on the project.

"Several foreign intellectuals have expressed support to defend the buildings, as has the president of the Athens Academy, 75 Greek architects and thousands of people who pass from the spot," architect Nikos Rousseas, who owns an office inside one of the buildings in question, told AFP on Monday.

The residents have also received support from modern Greek architecture specialist Francois Loyer of France's National Centre for Scientific Research.

The demolitions would be a major "error", according to a letter Loyer sent to Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis.

The Art Deco building was constructed in 1930 by architect Vassilis Kouremenos, who trained at the Beaux-Arts academy in Paris.

A website has been set up for the petition at