|The Louvre closed its doors on April 10th after gallery guards staged a
walkout in protest to an increase in pickpocketing and violence.
On April 10th, the Louvre was forced to lock its doors. The unannounced closure left approximately 30,000 tourists out in the cold.
The museum closed when 200 museum guards failed to show up to work. They were protesting the increase of pickpocketing at the museum. Although the museum has always been plagued by pickpocketing, the guards report that in the past year the violence has escalated.
Thierry Choquet, a representative for the guards, explained to The Guardian that gangs of children descend on tourists quickly and violently. The guards complain that they have been attacked, threatened, spat at, and kicked by pickpocketers. Some of the guards were even threatened with their lives.
The museum opened promptly on Thursday after the guards returned to their posts. There is no word from the museum’s new director, Jean-Luc Martinez.
Sources: “Louvre Workers Walk Off Job Over Increasing Problems of Pickpockets at the Museum,” Huffington Post, April 19, 2013; “Louvre Closed on Account of Pickpockets,” The Guardian, April 10, 2013.