Eiffel Tower Staff Walk Out Due to Pickpockets
Image courtesy of Thinkstock
Protesting the rise in aggressive, organized pickpocketing occurring at the iconic Eiffel Tower, staff at the Paris landmark walked off the job Friday, closing it to the public for most of the day, according to The Associated Press.
The walkout occurred just a day after Parisian authorities reported a decrease in tourist-related crime thanks to more police on the street and video surveillance.
While the thousands of daily tourists milled around the shuttered tower, normally open 365 days a year, staff and management held meetings addressing the ongoing pickpocket concerns.
Tower employee Denis Vavassori of the CGT union told the AP the workers want permanent police presence at the tower. "(Pickpockets are) a growing problem. There were always pickpockets at the Eiffel Tower but now we are really facing an organized group," he said.
Police officers were spotted Friday patrolling the area on Friday via bikes, on foot, and in cars.
"Unfortunately there are here people who assault and try to steal. So we do feel less free, and lose the opportunity to visit this beautiful monument," said tourist Francisco Madeira of Sao Paulo, Brazil to AP, who visited the site to find it closed. "There should be more organization and police."
Workers at the Louvre Museum staged a walkout for similar reasons in 2012, according to the AP.
Paris is still racking up big tourism numbers despite terror attacks in January that left 20 dead.
Dave Kleps from Old Forge, New York, told the AP that crime hasn’t affected his Paris experience. "We've been here two days and I haven't felt unsafe," he said, speaking beneath the tower. "We are a little bit disappointed that it's closed."
The Eiffel Tower’s official Facebook page has since announced that the tower is once again open for business.
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