Besieged Louvre Museum Temporarily Grants Visitors Free Entry

100 angry archeologists blocked off ticket booths on Thursday afternoon.

The Louvre has been accused of illegal discrimination Photo via: aneworld

Visitors to the Louvre on Thursday got a pleasant surprise. Approximately 100 archeologists blocked the renowned museum’s ticket booth during the afternoon, allowing visitors to pass into the museum without paying the typical €12 entrance fee, reports the AFP.

The blockade lasted for around four hours. During the protest, the archeologists posted a sign in one of the ticket counter’s windows, which read, “Free entrance offered by the archeologists.”

Protesters were organizing against what they view as the progressive threat to archeological sites in France and around the globe due to the privatization of their profession. Since 2003, private companies have been allowed to compete with archeologists employed by the French government for projects related to the preventative maintenance of archeological sites.

The Cost of Privatization

A cohort of unions representing the protesting archeologists said in a statement to the news agency, “For more than 10 years, the privatization and commercialization of this sector has led to a catastrophic situation,” for archeological sites in the country. They suggest that, should privatization measures continue, the well-being of the country’s heritage could be in danger.

The French culture ministry was quick to denounce the protest on Thursday. A spokesperson told the AFP that his ministry was “astonished” by their actions and willingness to use the Louvre as a pawn in their protest. The culture ministry and archeological unions are reportedly in talks over the issue.

France’s most popular cultural attraction and the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre attracted more than 9.3 million visitors in 2014, a number on par with 2013. A whopping 70 percent of those visitors coming from abroad (see The Louvre is (Still) the Most Visited Museum in the World).

And, those numbers are only going up. In the next 10 years, the museum expects their annual visitor numbers to top 12 million (see Louvre Expects 12 Million Visitors Per Year by 2025). To accommodate that increase, new Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez has planned a significant overhaul of the museum’s presentation of its permanent collection (see Louvre Gets Most Ambitious Facelift in 30 Years).

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