Mona Lisa: Climate protesters throw soup at painting at Louvre in Paris

Women vandalise famous artwork and demand better deal for French farmers

Two climate activists have thrown soup at the Mona Lisa painting in Paris. Photo: David Cantiniaux / AFP
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Climate protesters have thrown soup at the Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

A woman threw liquid from a tin on to the artwork during the incident on Sunday.

She then crossed a boundary between the painting and the public alongside another woman. Both were wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan Riposte Alimentaire, which translates as “food response”.

“What’s the most important thing?” they shouted. “Art, or the right to healthy and sustainable food?”

“Our farming system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work,” they added.

The incident comes following several days of protests by French farmers across the country against low wages and other problems.

Staff at the Louvre were seen rushing to hide the disruption by propping up black protective panels round the Mona Lisa.

The 16th-century painting by Leonardo da Vinci, which is one of the world’s most famous artworks, is protected behind a glass pane.

On its website, the Riposte Alimentaire group said the French government is breaking its climate commitments. It called for the equivalent of France’s state-sponsored healthcare system to be put in place to give people better access to healthy food while providing farmers with a decent income.

For several days farmers have been using their tractors to blockade road and slow traffic across France in a bid to secure better remuneration for their produce, a reduction in red tape and protection against cheap imports.

Some farmers have threatened to converge on Paris from Monday to block the main roads leading to the capital.

Last year the Louvre was forced to close after it was targeted by people protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.

Updated: January 29, 2024, 6:47 AM