Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower on Friday reopened after staff working at the popular landmark staged a near one-day walkout to protest a steep increase in pickpockets targeting the plethora of tourists, reports FRANCE 24.
The tower, also known as the Iron Lady, was closed on Friday morning when staff said they had had enough of the "increase in pickpockets around the Eiffel Tower”, saying they are regularly subject to “threats and assaults" by the thieves.
The workers demanded "formal guarantees from management that lasting and effective measures will be taken to end this scourge to which numerous tourists fall victim every day".
After a near seven-hour closure, however, La Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE), the firm in charge of operating the 126-year-old monument, said it had come to an agreement with the workers and that the tower had opened again, but did not provide more details on the measures agreed upon.
One of the workers that took part in the walkout told the AFP news agency that the pickpockets operating in the area commonly work in gangs of four to five people, but can at times be as many as 30. It is not unusual for staff operating the tower’s elevators to warn passengers if a pickpocket is trying to blend in with the tourist crowds.
The Eiffel Tower receives around seven million visitors a year.
The Paris police department could not immediately provide the number of complaints it received from tourists targeted by thieves last year, but are expected to release the number in the coming days.