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Mexico demands Sotheby's halt auction in Paris of pre-Hispanic artifacts from Mexico

The Mexican government is demanding that the Sotheby's auction house halt the planned sale of 51 pre-Colombian Mexican artifacts, arguing they are protected national historical pieces.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History says Mexico has sent a diplomatic note to the French government seeking assistance in heading off the sale scheduled in Paris for Friday and Saturday.

A description of the pieces listed on the French website of Sotheby's describes the collection as containing sculptures from Mexican and other pre-Hispanic cultures.

Sotheby's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A statement issued by the Mexican institute Wednesday says it objects to "the international trade in protected cultural objects" and says the pieces are "property of the nation."