About 10 women defied a strict ban from the all-male Mount Athos monastic sanctuary on the Athos peninsula of Greece. The women were only a few of the approximately 1,000 protestors at a rally on Tuesday in opposition to claims by five of the community's monasteries on some 20,000 acres of land on the nearby Halkidiki peninsula, according to Reuters.
The women broke off from the main rally and climbed over a fence and into the monastic community’s land, reports the Associated Press. They stayed for approximately 20 minutes in a “symbolic move.”
"This is land that does not belong to them and we broke the no-women ban to highlight our cause to get the land back from the monasteries," Litsa Ammanatidou-Paschalidou, a member of Greek Parliament who took part in the protest told Reuters.
Monks at the 20 monasteries on the Athos peninsula have imposed this strict ban on women for nearly 1,000 years and it is upheld by the Greek constitution. Women who violate the ban can face up to a year in prison. No arrests have been made yet, but police in nearby Thessaloniki are looking into the incident, according to the Associated Press.
Media Resources: Associated Press 1/9/08; Reuters 1/9/08