As nationwide protests sweep France, several cultural institutions have temporarily shuttered. Unions representing the transportation sector called for workers to stage a mass walkout today to protest president Emmanuel Macron’s changes to the state’s pension system. The strike, which began Wednesday, involves individuals from various fields, including teachers, hospital employees, and police officers. As a result, the country has largely come to a standstill.
Artnews reports that the Musée d’Orsay in Paris closed today and wrote on Twitter that it is “uncertain” if it will open Friday, and Musée Rodin will be dark until Sunday. Also closed are the Musée Nissim de Camondo, the Palais de Tokyo, and the Musée Guimet. The Louvre remains open, but only visitors who bought advance tickets to its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition will be admitted. The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is only allowing visitors into its Hans Hartung exhibition, and the only show currently accessible at the Grand Palais is its El Greco exhibition.
The unrest over the retirement reforms is considered Macron’s biggest challenge since the “Yellow Vest” movement, which was ignited over Macon’s proposal to raise the tax on fuel last year. Those participating in the action are fiercely defensive of the current pension system, despite its deficit which according to the New York Times is ballooning to about $19 billion. If implemented, strikers believe they will lose money. Currently, the average income of those aged sixty-five and older in France is higher than the average for individuals under that age. Earlier this afternoon, labor unions approved an extension of the strike, which will continue into Friday.