Protests close Louvre museum in Paris amid pension strikes

Jan. 18, 2020

PARIS (AP) — Dozens of protesters blocked the entrance to the Louvre museum and forced the famous Paris landmark to close Friday while they denounced the French government’s plans to overhaul the pension system.

Protesters later chased down President Emmanuel Macron at an evening theater performance in northern Paris. Video showed protesters chanting and some entering a door as surprised police tried to hold them back. A black car reported carrying Macron then sped away under a hail of boos.

An edgy tension marked the day as small but determined groups of protesters moved into action to make their complaints against pension changes heard. It was the 44th day of strikes aimed at overturning the plan

The protesters at the Louvre, who included some museum employees, staged the demonstration against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposals after several hard-left trade unions appealed for public actions to oppose that they said would “lower everyone’s pensions.”

The museum’s Leonardo da Vinci exhibit marking the 500th anniversary of the Italian master’s death was included in the closure. Some protesters chanted, “Mona Lisa in on strike, Leonardo is on strike.”

It is the first time since railway strikes and protests against the pension overhaul began on Dec. 5 that the Louvre and its Leonardo exhibit were fully shut down. About 30,000 people visit the museum every day.

Some videos on social media showed angry visitors booing at museum protesters to express their disappointment.