France’s Louvre shut by pension strikes
The Louvre museum in Paris shut down Friday after striking workers blocked the entrance, management said, in the latest protest against plans to overhaul France’s pension system.
Hundreds of disappointed visitors massed in front of the entrance to the world’s most visited museum, some hurling insults at the striking workers, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
The blockade came as union leaders seek to widespread opposition to the pension reforms, which have triggered the longest transport strike in France in decades.
The unions are looking for a second wind as the movement starts to flag, with the proportion of workers at national railway operator SNCF falling to 4.6 percent on Friday.
On Thursday, around 187,000 people took part in the sixth day of nationwide protests against the overhaul, according to the interior ministry, well below the 452,000 who turned out for similar demos on January 10.
The overhaul aims to forge a single pensions system from the country’s 42 separate regimes, which offer early retirement and other benefits to public-sector workers as well as lawyers, physical therapists, and even Paris Opera employees.
Critics say it will effectively force millions of people to work longer for a smaller pension.
The Louvre, which received 9.6 million visitors last year, was already forced to close some galleries last month due to the strike.
Management said Friday that ticket holders would be reimbursed and that the doors could open again later in the day if the strikers disperse.