One of the most famous landmarks in Europe was forced to close, and for a weird reason. The U.K.’s The Guardian reports that the Paris art museum the Louvre closed Wednesday because of pickpockets.
The world’s most widely visited museum closed after workers staged a walkout in a protest over pickpockets, the story reports.
“More than 100 staff stopped work to denounce raids by organised gangs which they said were growing in number and becoming ‘more aggressive.’ targeting both visitors and staff in the vast galleries,” the report notes. “The museum said in a statement that pickpocketing was a growing problem despite measures taken last year, including tighter co-operation with the police and temporary bans on people already identified as pickpockets from re-entering the museum. Late last year, the Louvre filed an official complaint to the state prosecutor over visitors falling victim to the thieves.”
An official for the union representing the workers said staffers are in fear of organized gangs — including minors who are admitted to the museum for free. “Some complained of being spat at, insulted, threatened or kicked, saying thieves had become more violent,” the piece reports.
The Louvre had 10 million visitors last year, the story notes, and would typically attract 30,000 a day at this time of year.
The museum was expected to reopen today.
The report notes: “Strikes have closed the Louvre in the past, including in 2009 when workers protested against government plans not to replace half of retiring public workers, including museum staff. In 2001, the museum was closed for a week by a strike over working hours.”