The “Food Riposte” group claimed responsibility for the artistic attack and said the French government was violating its climate commitments.
On Sunday, two climate activists threw soup at the glass protecting the Mona Lisa Louvre museum in Paris and shouted slogans in favor of a sustainable food system. This came in the context of protests by French farmers against several issues, including low wages.
In a video posted on social media, two women with the words “FOOD RIPOSTE” written on their t-shirts were seen passing under a security barrier to approach the painting and throwing soup against the glass that protects Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece.
“What is the most important thing?” they shouted. “Art or right to a healthy and sustainable diet?”
“Our agricultural system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work,” he added.
Louvre employees were then seen placing black panels in front of the Mona Lisa and asking visitors to evacuate the room.
Paris police said two people were arrested following the incident.
On its website, the Food Riposte group said the French government was violating its climate commitments and called for an equivalent of the state-sponsored healthcare system to be put in place to give people better access to healthy food. , while providing farmers with a decent income.
Angry French farmers have used their tractors for days to set up roadblocks and slow traffic across France as they seek better remuneration for their produce, less bureaucracy and protection against cheap imports. They also dumped smelly agricultural waste outside the gates of government offices.
The government announced a series of measures on Friday that farmers say do not fully meet their demands. These include the “drastic simplification” of some technical procedures and the progressive end of taxes on diesel fuel for agricultural vehicles.
Some farmers have threatened to converge on Paris starting Monday to block major roads leading to the capital.
New Prime Minister Gabriele Attal we visited a farm in the central Indre-et-Loire region on Sunday. He acknowledged that farmers are in a difficult position because “on the one hand we say ‘we need quality’ and on the other ‘we want lower and lower prices’.”
“What is at stake is finding short, medium and long-term solutions,” he said, “because we need our farmers.”
Attal also said his government was considering “additional” measures against what he called “unfair competition” from other countries that have different production rules and import food into France.
He promised that “further decisions” will be made in the coming weeks to address farmers’ concerns.