Louvre Closes It Doors Over Pickpockets

Staff weary of thieves who rob them—and spit, too

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2013 8:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Today, the Louvre is open, a fact that is remarkable only because yesterday the museum wasn't. Some 200 workers refused to do their jobs yesterday as a protest against pickpockets, who they say have aggressively been hitting both visitors and staff. The Guardian reports that they're not imagining things: The Paris institution admitted that pickpocketing is a growing woe, and steps taken last year to mitigate the problem, like a temporary ban on known perpetrators, haven't done the trick.

A union official explains that staff actually felt threatened by what the Guardian calls "organized gangs," who make use of child-thieves who can enter the museum for free—and who have reportedly added insult to injury by spitting at and kicking the staff. The AFP reports the doors have reopened to the estimated 30,000 daily visitors, who will now have an extra dose of protection in the form of 20 police newly on patrol. Interesting side note: AFP notes that Chinese tourist were hot targets, as gangs perceived them to be laden with cash; many such visitors were today spotted wearing their backpacks on their chest as a safeguard.

Visitors stands in front of to entrance in Louvre museum Paris, France, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.
Visitors stands in front of to entrance in Louvre museum Paris, France, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
A visitor stands in front of to entrance in Louvre museum Paris, France, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.
A visitor stands in front of to entrance in Louvre museum Paris, France, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
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