PARIS (Reuters) - Environmental activists daubed the Louvre’s glass pyramid with thick molasses on Friday in protest at what they said were the environmentally-damaging activities of museum sponsor Total (TOTF.PA), a multinational oil and gas company.
Clad in black, the activists belonging to “Liberons le Louvre” (Let’s Free the Louvre) plastered dirty hand-prints over the museum’s famed 70-foot-high glass-and-steel pyramid, a much-loved Paris landmark, as tourists gazed on.
Total has been a Louvre sponsor in past years, the museum said on its website, including support for renovations to the Apollo Gallery and the creation of an Islamic arts department.
They dipped their hands into bags of molasses - a black treacle that results from refining sugar cane - before smearing it over the structure to denounce what they called “the dirty hands” of Total.
“The handprints on the Pyramid can be cleaned away easily, whereas the environmental footprint left by Total is not as easy to clean”, said Victoire, a member of the collective.
Another member, Kester Lovelse, told Reuters: “A cultural institution should not be receiving money from a multinational company that continues to endanger the climate, pollute the climate and leave such a dirty environmental footprint on the earth.”
“Even if we are not the main patron of the Louvre, we are proud to supports the initiatives of this emblematic institution,” Total said in a statement to Reuters.
Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Richard Lough, William Maclean