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Paris: Louvre Museum reopens after shutdown over pickpocket gangs

April 11, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • French police Thursday patrol outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, which reopened following a one-day closure. Staff walked out Wednesday to protest the rising number of pickpockets.
French police Thursday patrol outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, which… (Ian Langsdon / EPA )

If you're going to the Louvre Museum anytime soon, watch your wallet.

The world's busiest museum reopened Thursday with the presence of uniformed police officers aimed at deterring aggressive gangs of pickpockets who target visitors and staff, Agence France-Presse reports.

About 200 museum workers walked off the job Wednesday and forced the museum to shut down, leaving disappointed visitors without a chance to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and other iconic artwork at the Paris museum that drew more than 10 million visitors last year.

During the one-day closure, the museum posted this note on its website: "Due to exceptional circumstances, the Louvre museum is currently closed. We apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you informed when the museum opens again." No further reference to the closure has been posted online.

An official with the museum workers union told AFP that staff members feared for their safety when confronting groups of pickpockets, which include children who get in for free. While it's not unusual for pickpockets to target the Louvre and other tourist spots, the union says groups have become more violent at the Louvre in the last year and a half.

The action comes days before newly selected archaeologist and director Jean-Luc Martinez takes over as new director.

The Louvre is usually open every day except Tuesday, Christmas, New Year's Day and May 1.
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