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Musée d’Orsay Closes Amid Yellow Vests Protest in Paris

The Musée d’Orsay.

COURTESY MUSÉE D’ORSAY

On Saturday, a protest by the Yellow Vests in Paris led the Musée d’Orsay to close early for the day. The museum said on Twitter that it had canceled its “nocturne,” or nighttime viewing period, for its exhibition “Picasso. Blue and Rose.” (That show, which focuses on works made during Pablo Picasso’s Blue and Rose Periods, was to have been open until 11 p.m. this evening.) But the closure will not last long—the museum said it plans to reopen on Sunday.

Near the Musée d’Orsay, authorities and protesters clashed; tear gas was thrown, and various videos and photographs posted to social media show Yellow Vests fighting with the police. According to a video posted by Le Parisien, a barge on the River Seine close to the museum was set on fire.

The Musée d’Orsay did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Over the past few months, Yellow Vest protesters have held various actions across France to call attention to the country’s wealth inequalities and rising oil prices. Saturday’s protest—which was among the most violent ones held since the movement was begun in 2018—was the first staged in Paris in 2019. Some protesters at Saturday’s action called on Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, to resign.

Protests are common in Paris, though it is rare for art museums in the city to close to the public because of them. And it is not the first time arts institutions in the French capital have been forced to shutter because of a Yellow Vests demonstration. In December of last year, the Jeu de Paume, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs closed after a protest was held. That same week, more museums—including the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower—announced that they would not be open the day another action was to be held.

Annie Armstrong contributed reporting.



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