Eiffel Tower Reopens After Strike

23 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Eiffel Tower Reopens After Strike.

The Eiffel Tower closed to the public for most of the day Friday as workers protested a rise in aggressive pickpockets around the Paris landmark that attracts thousands of visitors daily. The walkout came a day after Paris authorities announced that crime against tourists in the French capital had dropped this year thanks to reinforced police presence and video surveillance. Paris, AFP says, is “a mecca for tricksters and pickpockets”; as Slate’s Joe Keohane wrote in 2011, the practice of pickpocketing has largely died out in the United States, but continues to thrive across the Atlantic (excerpt edited slightly for clarity): In Europe, professionals from countries like Bulgaria and Romania, each with storied traditions of pickpocketing, are able to travel more freely since their acceptance into the European Union in 2007, developing their organizations and plying their trade in tourist hot spots like Barcelona, Rome, and Prague. “The good thieves in Europe are generally 22 to 35,” says Bob Arno, a criminologist and consultant who travels the world posing as a victim to stay atop the latest pickpocketing techniques and works with law enforcement agencies to help them battle the crime. “In America they are dying off, or they had been apprehended so many times that it’s easier for law enforcement to track them and catch them.” Keohane’s sources suggest that, in the United States, pickpocketing networks—in which older “Fagins” teach the art of the steal to apprentices—have been suppressed by increased sentences and prioritized law enforcement surveillance of danger areas. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images PARIS—The Eiffel Tower reopened late afternoon Friday after a day-long strike by employees demanding a clampdown on pickpockets targeting the millions of tourists who visit the iconic landmark every year. Employees at the Paris tower say there has been a surge in threats and incidents of physical violence in recent weeks as pickpockets repeatedly get past barriers to climb the tower alongside unsuspecting tourists.

It remained closed while staff and management held meetings about security measures, then reopened in the late afternoon, according to the company that manages the site. Staff returned to work after assurances from management that they would strengthen security in coordination with authorities. “This is an image issue.

So we do feel less free, and lose the opportunity to visit this beautiful monument,” said tourist Francisco Madeira of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who visited the site before the tower reopened. “There should be more organization and police.” Paris authorities said Thursday violent theft was down 25 per cent and pickpocketing was down 23 per cent in the first four months of 2015, compared with the same period last year. In 2013, the tower, which was originally built to celebrate the anniversary of the French revolution, closed for two days when employees walked out over working conditions. The company running the tower, Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, said it regretted that visitors to the tower on Friday had been penalized.

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