Dozens of French demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Louvre Museum on Monday, March 27 and stormed the institution’s halls in protest of President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Some protesters were reportedly employees of the museum, which announced it was closed for the day.
Protests over Macron’s pension reform plan have swept France for months, and labor unions have called for the tenth round of nationwide strikes tomorrow, Tuesday, March 28. (The action came a day early at the Louvre, which is closed on Tuesdays.) The museum told Hyperallergic it shut its doors due to “public strikes” but declined to comment on today’s protest or its workers’ involvement. It will open its doors again on Wednesday, March 29.
The widespread demonstrations — which involved more than a million protesters last Thursday — have intensified since March 16, when Macron used a rare constitutional maneuver to raise France’s retirement age without a vote of parliament. The ensuing unrest has turned violent in some areas of the country and prompted a police crackdown that some human rights organizations have condemned as involving excessive force. Nearly 500 people have been arrested, garbage has piled up on Paris sidewalks as sanitation workers have gone on strike, flights and train rides have been canceled, and England’s King Charles postponed his state visit. Macron called a crisis meeting today, March 27, ahead of tomorrow’s impending demonstrations.
In videos shared online, the Louvre protesters can be seen waving union flags and holding banners denouncing Macron’s retirement age hike and can be heard chanting “On lâche rien jusqu’au retrait” — “No giving up until [the plan] is withdrawn.”
International visitors to the museum, however, expressed mixed reactions to the closure. “I understand why they’re upset,” an American tourist told the Associated Press. “But [it’s bad] to do this to people from around the world who’ve traveled from around the world for this and paid thousands of dollars.”
Another expressed a more understanding perspective, stating, “If you firmly believe that this will bring some change, there’s plenty of other things that we can see in Paris.”