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Pickpocket row closes Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower has been closed to the public as workers protest over a recent rise in aggressive pickpockets.

The Paris monument is normally open every day of the year and brings in thousands of visitors daily. It sometimes closes briefly for bomb threats or strikes.

The company that manages the tower said in a statement it did not open today because the staff are concerned about petty crime around the site.

It said it is working with police to reach a solution so the landmark can reopen.

The walkout comes a day after Paris authorities said crime against tourists had dropped this year thanks to reinforced police presence and video surveillance.

Crowds of tourists streamed around the monument today, unable to reach its viewing towers.

Workers at the Louvre staged a similar walkout in 2012, complaining of a rising problem of pickpockets haunting the famed Paris museum's vast galleries.

Authorities in the French capital said violent theft was down 25% and pickpocketing was down 23% in the first four months of the year, compared with the same period last year.

In recent months, city authorities have also broken up several major theft networks, according to prosecutor Francois Molins, who paid a special visit to the Champs-Elysees tourist district yesterday to show how seriously police are taking crime against visitors.

Paris has also heightened security since the January attacks against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket that left 20 dead, including the three attackers.


From Belfast Telegraph