Louvre Museum in Paris was evacuated after a threat; France under high alert

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Mona Lisa attacked with cake


Mona Lisa attacked with cake in apparent climate protest

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The Louvre Museum and Versailles Palace evacuated visitors and staff Saturday after receiving bomb threats. The government has put France on high security alert after a fatal school stabbing by a suspected extremist.

The Louvre communication service said no one has been hurt and no incident has been reported.  Paris police said officers searched the museum after it received written bomb threats.

The former royal palace at Versailles also received bomb threats, a national police spokesperson said. The palace and its sprawling gardens were being evacuated while police examine the area, the spokesperson said.

Alarms rang out through the Louvre, a vast space also in a former royal palace Paris overlooking the Seine River, when the evacuation was announced, and in the underground shopping center beneath its signature pyramid.

Police cordoned off the monument from all sides, and the underground access, as tourists and other visitors streamed out. Videos posted online showed people leaving, some hurriedly and some stopping to take photos, others apparently confused about what was happening.

On Saturday, the museum’s website posted a statement that read: “For safety reasons the museum is closed. People who booked a ticket for today will be reimbursed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding.”

The French government raised the threat alert level and is deploying 7,000 troops to increase security after Friday’s school attack. The government is also concerned about fallout in France from the war between Israel and Hamas.

The Louvre, home to masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, welcomes between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors per day. Last year, the most famous smile in the world was briefly obscured when a man smeared cream cake over the Mona Lisa in what seems to have been a climate protest.

In 2017, a French soldier shot a man who attempted on Friday to enter the Louvre carrying two backpacks and wielding a machete.

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