Pickpockets close Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower Image copyright Getty Images

Famous Parisian landmark the Eiffel Tower was closed to tourists on Friday after staff walked out on their jobs complaining about the growing number of pickpockets operating on the monument.

They say pickpocket gangs, four or five strong, have become a regular presence, mingling with tourists visiting the tower and stealing what they can.

Every day there are several victims, particularly among Asian visitors.

Chinese tourists in particular are reputed to carry a lot of cash.

The management of the Eiffel Tower said it was sorry for the disruption and that it was working closely with Paris police to try to reinforce security.

The tower is normally open every day of the year, but sometimes closes briefly for bomb threats or strikes.

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

According to numbers released on Thursday, Paris authorities said violent theft was down 25% and pickpocketing was down 23% in the first four months of 2015, compared with the same period last year.

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