Louvre staff block entrances as part of pension protest

PARIS (AP) — The Louvre Museum in Paris was closed to the public on Monday when its workers took part in the wave of French protest strikes against the government's unpopular pension reform plans.

Dozens of Louvre employees blocked the entrance, prompting the museum to announce it would be temporarily closed.

The demonstrators toted banners and flags in front of the Louvre's famed pyramid, where President Emmanuel Macron had celebrated his presidential victory in 2017. They demanded the repeal of the new pension law that raises the retirement age from 62 to 64.

The showbusiness, broadcasting and culture branch of the CGT union tweeted an image of the Mona Lisa with an aged and wrinkled face, with the words: “64 it’s a No!”

The action comes on the eve of another nationwide protest planned for Tuesday against the bill — and as Macron holds a meeting with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to discuss the way forward. The Louvre is always closed on Tuesdays, so staff protested a day earlier.

Some tourists were stoic about the artistic blockade.

“If you firmly believe that this will bring some change, there’s plenty of other things that we can see in Paris," said Britney Tate, a 29-year-old doctoral student from California.

Others who had traveled thousands of miles were more vocal about the inconvenience.

“We’re going to respect their strike tomorrow, but to do this today, it’s just heartbreaking,” said Karma Carden, a tourist from Fort Myers, Florida. “We knew that Versailles would not be open because of the protest, but we knew the Louvre was open.

"I understand why they’re upset, 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,” she added.