‘F*ck Imperialism’: Activists Bum Rush Stage, Harass Archaeologist For Excavating Ancient Site

(Photo credit should read EDUARDO GONZALES/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Protesters rushed the stage Sunday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books to interrupt a talk being given by archaeologist Richard Hansen.

A group of 15 masked protesters rushed the stage at the festival, where Hansen was in the middle of an interview with one of the L.A. Times columnists, according to the outlet. Members of the protest were reportedly targeting Hansen after his years of research revealing an ancient Maya complex in Guatemala.

“This is stolen land!” and “F*** imperialism!” were among some of the cries heard from protesters as they threw around chairs, the L.A. Times reported. They also held a banner that read “Gringo colonizer fuera del Mirador,” in reference to Hansen’s work at the El Mirador ancient site.

Tussels broke out between the protesters and crew members at the event. At least one of the crew members emerged from the situation with a bloody nose. Police were called and arrived on the scene promptly, the outlet noted.

The protest only went on for a few minutes. Hansen and others on stage were escorted to a nearby tent until the situation was resolved.

At least one person was arrested on suspicion of battery, according to a Los Angeles Police Department source who spoke to the L.A. Times. “I’ve lectured all over the world and this has never happened before,” Hansesn said following the protest. His laptop was also stolen by one of the protesters, but was recovered shortly after.

Hansen’s critics claim that his work in revealing the ancient history of the region will increase archaeological tourism. Though this would bring huge amounts of money to an area rife with drug and human trafficking and illegal deforestation, apparently the tourism would harm local populations, the L.A. Times noted.

“I think they were profoundly influenced by lies and distortions,” Hansen said of the protesters. (RELATED: Protest Erupts In Greece Over ‘Mafia-Style Attack’ On Archaeologist)

Similar issues have occurred throughout recent archaeological study. At least two renowned archaeologists have lost their jobs with no explanation in the last year. The Society for American Archaeology doesn’t help, as the organization is quick to attack those exploring our ancient past without offering any significant reason beyond their own opinions.