The Louvre Museum in Paris did not open on Wednesday due to a strike organized by staff protesting over pickpockets.
Staff at one of the world’s most visited museums said thieves, some of them children, were targeting both employees and tourists.
Two hundred workers took part in a strike organized by the SUD union, according to AFP news agency.
The Louvre Museum in Paris did not open on Wednesday due to a strike organized by staff protesting over pickpockets
The museum’s management said it had already asked for more assistance from police to deal with the problem.
A spokesman said that “business meetings” would take place to try to find a solution, according to French news website The Local.
About 100 employees gathered in front of Paris’ Ministry of Culture at lunchtime where a delegation from the museum was received.
Christelle Guyader of SUD told AFP that staff were coming to work “afraid”.
“They find themselves confronted with organized groups of pickpockets who are increasingly aggressive and who include children.”
Christelle Guyader added that many of the thieves were getting into the museum, which is home to the Mona Lisa, for free and would return even after being questioned by police.
The Louvre claims to be the most visited art museum in the world with almost 10 million visitors in 2012.
“There have always been pickpockets at the Louvre and in tourist locations in Paris, but for the last year-and-a-half the gangs have become increasingly violent,” said museum supervisor Sophie Aguirre.
“Their modus operandi has become more complex. Nothing can stop them.”
Officials have been unable to say when the museum will reopen.
French police have detained a woman accused of defacing iconic Delacroix painting Liberty Leading The People at a branch of the Louvre Museum.
The woman was held after being seen scrawling a graffiti tag on the painting, a Romantic masterpiece painted in 1830 to celebrate a French uprising.
The museum in the northern town of Lens said the work might easily be cleaned but would be examined by a restorer.
The Louvre Lens museum only opened in the former mining town in December.
The painting by Eugene Delacroix, which featured on the pre-euro, 100-franc French banknote and reportedly inspired the Statue of Liberty in New York, is being exhibited in Lens for a year.
French media quoted unnamed legal sources as saying the graffito was a clear reference to a 9/11 conspiracy theory.
The gallery remained closed to the public on Friday.
French police have detained a woman accused of defacing iconic Delacroix painting Liberty Leading The People at a branch of the Louvre Museum
Just before closing time the previous day, a 28-year-old woman scrawled the 30 cm (12 in) graffito on the bottom of the painting and was immediately detained by a museum guard, France’s 20 Minutes news website reported.
The work itself, which commemorates the July Revolution of 1830, measures 325 cm by 260 cm.
The mark may be “easily cleaned” but a restoration expert was being sent from the parent museum in Paris, the museum said in a statement.
No decision has yet been taken on whether the painting will have to be removed, the museum was quoted as saying by French broadcaster France 3.
The local prosecutor, Philippe Peyroux, told AFP news agency that the woman in custody appeared to be “unstable” and that he had requested a psychiatric examination.
He added that the woman, whose identity has not been released, had a “French-sounding name”.
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