Activists Toss Soup on Glass-Covered Mona Lisa

Protest at the Louvre in Paris was over sustainable farming
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2024 7:36 AM CST
Activists Toss Soup on Glass-Covered Mona Lisa
Activists after throwing soup at the glass protecting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024.   (AP Photo/Clement Lanot)

Two climate activists hurled soup Sunday at the glass protecting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris and shouted slogans advocating for a sustainable food system, per the AP. The stunt—the latest in a series of similar actions—came amid protests by French farmers over several issues, including low wages. In video posted on social media, two women with the words "Riposte Alimentaire" (Food Retaliation) written on their T-shirts could be seen passing under a security barrier in front of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece before tossing the soup, per France24.

"What's the most important thing?" they shouted. "Art, or right to a healthy and sustainable food? ... Our farmers are dying at work." Museum employees could then be seen putting black panels in front of the Mona Lisa and asking visitors to evacuate the room. Paris police said two people were arrested following the incident. The protest group maintains that the French government is breaking its climate commitments and calls for the equivalent of the country's state-sponsored health care system to be put in place to give people better access to healthy food while providing farmers a decent income.

Angry farmers have been using their tractors for days to set up road blockades and slow traffic across France to seek better remuneration for their produce, less red tape, and protection against cheap imports. They also dumped agricultural waste at the gates of government offices. On Friday, the government announced a series of measures that farmers said do not fully address their demands. Those include "drastically simplifying" certain technical procedures and the progressive end to diesel fuel taxes for farm vehicles. (In 2022, a protester hurled a custard pie at the painting.)

(More Mona Lisa stories.)

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