Paris has launched a pilot programme to battle the 'love lock' craze on city bridges by replacing several sections of railings with see-through panels that officials hope will make it impossible to attach the locks.
Thousands of lovers from across the world visit the Pont des Arts every year and seal their love by attaching a lock carrying their names to its railing and throwing the key in the Seine. But on that span alone the city has removed some 7,500 kilos of locks just this year.
Police were forced to hurriedly usher visitors off the footbridge in central Paris in August after 2.4 metres (yards) of railing collapsed under the weight of the collected tokens of affection.
(A picture of the new panels from the French daily Le Parisien)
Under the test programme the city has installed two see-through panels on two sections of railings on Pont des Arts, with a third coming soon, and will expand it to other bridges this works.
"Paris is the city of love, and we're proud of that, but there are more beautiful ways of showing this love than by putting locks on a bridge," deputy Mayor Buno Julliard wrote in a statement.
The phenomenon has become something of a headache for officials in the City of Light, who would prefer something that poses fewer problems of security and aesthetics.
Two young Americans living in Paris have gathered thousands of signatures for a petition they launched in March calling for the locks to be removed, saying they are eyesores and cause damage to the bridges.
The locks only appeared on the Pont des Arts in 2008, having already become a craze in Germany, Russia, China and particularly Italy.
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