x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Louvre reopens after staff walk out over pickpockets

The Louvre reopened its doors to the public today after a walkout by some staff in protest at gangs of pickpockets operating at the world famous art gallery.

French police patrol under the pyramid in the Louvre museum, a day after a one-day closure as guards protested that pickpockets were rampant at the world's most visited museum.
French police patrol under the pyramid in the Louvre museum, a day after a one-day closure as guards protested that pickpockets were rampant at the world's most visited museum.

PARIS // The Louvre reopened its doors to the public today after a walkout by some staff in protest at gangs of pickpockets operating at the world famous art gallery.

About 20 police officers have now been drafted in to patrol the museum in response to staff concerns, Louvre officials said.

The Louvre failed to open Wednesday when 200 employees refused to work saying the museum had become plagued by gangs of increasingly aggressive pickpockets, many of them children.

Christelle Guyader of the SUD union said on Wednesday that management had agreed to a series of measures aimed at reinforcing the police presence around the building.

Disappointed tourists on Wednesday waited in vain in front of the museum, home to works of art such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, which receives about 10 million visitors a year.

Staff said they had been spat at, insulted and even hit by the pickpockets who would return to the museum again and again even after being ejected by police.

The Louvre has around 1,000 staff, with some 470 present on any one day.