Video Shows Food Sustainability Activists Throwing Soup at the Mona Lisa

“What is more important? Art or healthy sustainable food?” said one of the protestors.

David Cantiniaux / AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images

Protestors made a splash at the Louvre in Paris, France, this weekend.

According to NBC News, two women arrived at the famous museum on Sunday and made their way to the painting. The protestors crossed a wooden protective barrier and doused the Mona Lisa in what is believed to be soup.

In the video footage of the incident, one of the women removes her jacket and reveals a shirt that reads, “Riposte Alimentaire,” an activism group for food sustainability in France, per NBC.

ALERTE - Des militantes pour le climat jettent de la soupe sur le tableau de La Joconde au musée du Louvre. @CLPRESSFR

— CLPRESS / Agence de presse (@CLPRESSFR) January 28, 2024

“What is more important? Art or healthy sustainable food?” says the second woman in the clip.

Museum staff quickly worked to place panels in the area to block the view of the protestors and the painting itself.

According to an emailed statement from the Louvre to NBC News, the “Salle des Etats,” or Room of the States, where the Mona Lisa is displayed, was “evacuated calmly,” and closed for 90 minutes until the area was cleaned up.

The infamous Leonardo Da Vinci painting is housed behind an armored glass frame and wasn’t damaged in the attack.

Per the Associated Press, two people were arrested after the incident. 

The museum also plans to file a complaint, but it wasn’t clear if it would be made to law enforcement officials or to the activist group.

Riposte Alimentaire’s website claims that the French government is breaking its climate commitments, per NBC News. The activist group is reportedly calling for the country’s state-sponsored health care system to be put into place to give citizens better access to healthy food and provide farmers decent income.

According to AP, French farmers have been putting pressure on the government to respond to their demands for better earnings for their produce, in addition to protection against cheaper imports, and less red tape in their processes. Farmers are reportedly set to use their tractors to create blockades across major roads in the city of Paris, including near the Rungis International Market, a major supplier of fresh food, and airports.

On Sunday, France’s interior ministry ordered a “large deployment” of security forces around Paris when angry farmers allegedly threatened to head towards the capital just hours after the Mona Lisa was hit with the liquid substance at the Louvre.

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