Protests close Louvre museum in Paris amid pension strikes

PARIS (AP) — Dozens of protesters blocked the entrance to the Louvre museum and forced the famous Paris landmark to close on Friday while they denounced the French government’s plan to overhaul the pension system.

Protesters later chased down President Emmanuel Macron at an evening theatre performance in northern Paris. Video showed protesters chanting and some entering a door as surprised police tried to hold them back.

A black car reported carrying Macron then sped away under a hail of boos.

The protesters at the Louvre, who included some museum employees, staged the demonstration against Macron’s proposals after several hard-left trade unions appealed for public actions to oppose that they said would “lower everyone’s pensions”.

It is the first time since railway strikes and protests against the pension overhaul began on last December that the Louvre was fully shut down. About 30,000 people visit the museum every day.

The action at the Louvre was one of several signs of mounting tensions among strikers.

Several dozen people on Friday invaded the headquarters of the CFDT union, which is favourable to a point-system Macron wants to put in place to determine retirement benefits.

The invaders were seen on video singing and mocking the union’s leader. Macron condemned the action as violent, unacceptable and “shameful for our democracy”.

Unions have called for a seventh round of street marches next Friday, when the contested pension plan is to be presented to the Cabinet.

Striking employees demonstrate outside the Louvre museum January 17 in Paris. PHOTO: AP