French Protestors Block Entrance to the Louvre Amid Nationwide Strike Over New Retirement Law

The mass protests across France over a proposed new policy that raises the retirement age reached the Louvre on Monday as a crowd blocked the museum’s entrance, leaving tourists frustrated.

The peaceful demonstrators gathered outside the Paris museum’s glass pyramid, singing and wielding banners that read “Work less to live more” and “Museums mobilized against the pension reform.” Several Louvre employees reportedly joined the protest.

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Speaking into a microphone, a tour guide who didn’t appear to be affiliated with the Louvre attempted to explain what was happening to the tourists, some of whom had purchased time-sensitive tickets. “You are here to see the Mona Lisa,” she said in a video shared by the Independent. “But now are you experiencing something much more interesting than the Louvre—you are experiencing the French protest.”

It is unclear from the video whether the listeners appreciated the sentiment.

“This is ridiculous, we come from everywhere in the world with our children to visit a museum and it’s ridiculous that 20 people are blocking the entrance,” a Mexican tourist told Reuters.

In a statement posted to social media, the Louvre said it could not open “for now.” The museum did not specify when it would begin allowing visitors again. 

More than a million people have protested for weeks against pension reforms that push the retirement age from 62 to 64 and require workers fund the pension system for longer.

The unpopular law was enshrined by French President Emmanuel Macron through a constitutional loophole after parliament vowed to reject it. The protests have caused disruptions to transportation and schools, as well as a crisis of trash piling on the streets after garbage collectors joined the strike.

Thursday saw the first spasm of violence as the front door of the city hall in Bordeaux was set on fire. Meanwhile, in Paris, vandals smashed newspaper stands and hurled smoke bombs at police, who responded with force late into the night.

In a statement, Paris police said they were prepared to prevent a second protest from forming outside another popular museum, the Centre Pompidou.


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