Zahi Hawass's sudden departure from his post as antiquities minister is a protest at the lack of action on looting, he told Nature.
Whoever saves Egypt's endangered antiquities, it will not be Zahi Hawass. The larger-than-life Egyptologist has been in charge of the country's archaeological heritage for almost a decade. But he stepped down at the weekend, warning that police are not protecting the sites and that looting has escalated.
Hawass had been Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), the body responsible for Egypt's archaeological sites and artefacts, since 2002. On 31 January, Egypt's then-president Hosni Mubarak transformed the SCA into a government department, with Hawass as its minister. Hawass told Nature that his sudden departure is a protest at the new government's lack of action on the looting. "I hope that my resignation will encourage the government to do something about this and encourage the international community to put pressure on."
Read more: Nature