• France edition
 
Pickpocket gangs cause closure of Louvre gallery

Pickpocket gangs cause closure of Louvre gallery

Published: 10 Apr 2013 14:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Apr 2013 14:54 GMT+02:00

The world famous Louvre art gallery in Paris had to close on Wednesday when employees reportedly staged a walk-out in protest against pickpockets at the museum.

According to a story on France Television the staff went on strike after becoming fed up dealing with the thieves, who were "becoming more numerous and more aggressive".

Museum staff claimed the pickpockets had targeted the employees as well as the million of visitors who visit the gallery each year.

Management at the museum said it had already lodged a complaint with prosecutors in December 2012 and demanded a greater police presence at one of the most visited museums in the world.

Sorting out the problem of the thieves will be one of the first jobs for Jean-Luc Martinez, who was announced as the new head of the museum last week.

According to the museum’s management “200 officers exercised their right to stop work on Wednesday.”

“The services of justice and the police have been mobilised,” said a spokesman, who said “business meetings” will take place to try to find a solution.

Hundreds of Louvre staff gathered outside the Ministry of Culture in Paris, which received a delegation from the museum at midday.

According to Christelle Guyader from the SUD union “are sometimes scared to work because they are confronted with organized gangs of pickpockets who are becoming more and more aggressive.

"They come with minors that get into the museum for free and even if they arrested by police return a few days later," Guyader told AFP.

The pickpockets are believed to be mostly from eastern Europe.

Staff have reported they have been victims of “spittings, insults, threats and physical assaults” and despite lodging several complaints to museum managers “they had not been followed by action”. Directors said they had noted 150 individual complaints in a file passed on to prosecutors in Paris.

“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 and their modus operandi has become more complex. Nothing can stop them,” Sophie Aguirre, a supervisor in the museum said.

The staff appear to have won support from members of the public and businesses in the city.

Via The Local France's Facebook page the Hotel de la Trémoille wrote: "It's a great pity the Musée du Louvre was closed today but we admire the staff for standing up against pickpocketing in such an wonderful Parisian site. We hope the message is delivered and the Museum can again welcome tourists safely through its halls."

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud
A new proposal seeks to end the French taxi war. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud

An eagerly awaited series of proposed reforms were due out on Thursday aimed at ending the ongoing war between highly regulated taxi drivers and private hire car firms, which has wrought havoc on French roads. The proposals seek to make the rules fairer for both sides. READ () »

Ukraine crisis
France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics
France is to send four fighter jets to patrol over the Baltics, in a show of solidarity as tension mounts of Russia's agression i nthe Ukraine. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP

France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics

France is sending four of its fighter jets to patrol over the Baltic states in a symbolic show of solidarity amid growing anxiety in the region over Russia's intervention in Ukraine. President François Hollande is also set to pay a visit to Georgia in the coming weeks. READ () »

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage
Ségolène Royal has reportedly banned women in her ministry from wearing low cut tops at work. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage

Ségolène Royal, France’s new minister for the environment has been forced to deny reports on Thursday that she had introduced some strict new rules for her staff, including a ban on women wearing low cut tops at work. READ () »

France and Canada renew feud over islands
St Pierre in the French archipelago of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, off the coast of Canada, which disputes France's claim on the island. Photo: Jean-Christophe L'Espagnol

France and Canada renew feud over islands

A longstanding feud over two French islands near Canada's Atlantic Coast was rekindled this week, when Ottawa contested Paris's request that the UN recognize its control of waters around Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon READ () »

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'
A study by French researchers concluded that young adults who smoke marijuana may increase risk of heart problems. Robyn Beck/AFP

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'

Young adults who smoke marijuana may be at risk of serious or even fatal heart problems, according to a study by French researchers published this week. The findings raise new concerns about the safety of marijuana. READ () »

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park
Syrian refugees children and women sit on April 21, 2014 in the Edouard Vaillant parc in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park

Around 150 Syria refugees are living a desperate existence in a small park to the north of Paris. NGOs and France's Green party are urging authorities to do more to help the families while they wait for their asylum requests to be processed. READ () »

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady
A French fetishist got 18 months behind bars for a foot-licking attack on an elderly woman. File photo: Twon/Flickr

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady

A French fetishist was so smitten with an elderly lady’s feet he burst into the terrified woman's home and lunged at her trotters, which he then proceeded to sniff, lick and rub. The lewd act cost him 18 months behind bars. READ () »

Wolves continue their advance on Paris
Wolves are getting closer to Paris, but they won't be biting Parisians anytime soon. Hopefully. Photo ErranAT/flickr

Wolves continue their advance on Paris

The contentious issue of wolves in France was once again in the spotlight this week after one of the predators was captured on camera for the first time within 250 km of Paris. An expert says they will come even closer but thankfully "they won't be biting Parisians". READ () »

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs
France says its economy will grow despite billions of euros in planned budget cuts. Photo: Euros.

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs

France laid out a new package of reforms on Wednesday to respect EU rules, cut spending, boost jobs and put its economy in shape to compete on world markets. READ () »

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college
Kim Jong-un's bid to send two North Koreans to learn how to make French cheese has been refused by a prestigious French college. Photos: Zennie62/Amandabhslater/Flickr

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college

A bid by North Korea to send experts to a prestigious French cheese-making training school, seemingly at the behest of its fromage-loving leader King Jong-un, has been rejected. It did not fit with the institution's "priorities or strategy", it seems. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to avoid a French wedding nightmare
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why sacked French ministers deserve no pity
Gallery
How well do you know your French text message lingo?
National
Divorced from reality? French plan for puppy custody laws
Travel
'Burgundy is for wine not wind': Will wind farms ruin famous wine region?
National
Why does France have a record number of people behind bars?
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
Advertisement:
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se