Climate Protesters Throw Soup at the Mona Lisa, French Farmers Vow to Put Paris 'Under Siege'
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Two climate protesters 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.
In a video posted on social media, two women with the words "FOOD RIPOSTE" written on their T-shirts could be seen passing under a security barrier to get closer to the painting and throwing pumpkin soup from thermoses at the bullet-proof glass protecting Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece.
"What's the most important thing?" they shouted. "Art, or right to a healthy and sustainable food?"
"Our farming system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work," they added.
Employees at the Louvre are also seen on the video putting black panels in front of the Mona Lisa and asking visitors to evacuate the room.
Paris police said two people, later identified by the Food Riposte group as Sasha, 24, and Marie-Juliette, 63, were arrested following the incident.
The Food Riposte or Riposte Alimentaire (Food Retaliation) group claimed responsibility for the attack and said the soup throwing marked the "start of a campaign of civil resistance with the clear demand... of the social security of sustainable food," according to The Daily Mail.
On its website, the group said the French government is breaking its climate commitments and called 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.
News contributor Oli London posted a video of the protesters throwing soup at the Mona Lisa to the social media platform X, writing:
"Eco activists throw soup over the Mona Lisa. How does this solve climate change?" London asked.
Eco activists throw soup over the Mona Lisa.— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) January 28, 2024
How does this solve climate change?
The Daily Mail labeled the two protesters as "eco-morons."
Angry French 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 smelly agricultural waste at the gates of government offices.
Some have threatened to converge on Paris to block the main roads leading to the capital starting on Monday, according to France24.com.
Speaking after an emergency meeting on Sunday evening, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 15,000 police officers are being deployed, mostly in the Paris region.
Darmanin said he ordered security forces to "prevent any blockade" of Rungis International Market which supplies the capital and surrounding region with much of its fresh food. He also banned any convoy of farmers from entering the capital or any other big city, saying helicopters would monitor convoys of tractors.
France's two biggest farmers unions said in a statement that their members based in areas surrounding the Paris region would seek to block all major roads to the capital, with the aim of putting the city "under siege," starting Monday afternoon.
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