Day off for Mona Lisa as striking workers shut Louvre

AFP , Monday 27 Mar 2023

The Louvre in Paris, the most visited museum in the world and home to the Mona Lisa, was shut to visitors all day Monday after workers striking over pension reforms blocked the entrance, AFP correspondents said.

Louvre protests
Employees hold banners and unions flags as they block the entrance of the Musee du Louvre to denounce government s controversial pension reform, in Paris, on March 27, 2023. AFP


The action came ahead of a new day of national strikes and protests in France against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reforms.

The Louvre is closed on a Tuesday but, unlike many other museums in France, is traditionally open on a Monday.

"Due to public strikes, the Musee du Louvre is not able to be open for now. We thank you for your understanding," it said in English on Twitter.

Dozens of employees of the museum and other cultural sites stood outside the museum holding banners opposing the pensions reform and waving flags of their unions.

The museum was visited by almost eight million people last year, with long queues normally snaking outside its iconic pyramid entrance as visitors seek to view da Vinci's Mona Lisa and other masterpieces.

The uproar over the imposition of the reform, which the government chose to push through without a parliamentary vote, has turned into the biggest domestic crisis of Macron's second term in office.

Over 450 protesters were arrested in Paris and beyond on Thursday as some 300 demonstrations drew more than a million people nationwide to protest against unpopular pension reforms.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Friday that some 441 police and gendarmes were injured as violence marred some marches.

He added that 1,000 trash bins were set on fire in the French capital during the previous day’s action. Amid weeks-long refuse collectors strike, trash bins have become a symbol of the protest.

Polls say most French oppose Macron’s bill to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64, which he says is necessary to keep the system afloat.

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