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Protesters Make a Splash: Mona Lisa Targeted for "Food Counterattack"

In an unexpected turn of events, the iconic Mona Lisa, housed in the Louvre in central Paris, became the target of protesters advocating for the right to "healthy and sustainable food." The 16th-century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci found itself in the line of fire, quite literally, as members of the group Riposte Alimentaire (Food Counterattack) hurled soup at the glass-protected painting.


The incident, captured on video, depicts two female protesters wearing T-shirts that boldly proclaim "food counterattack." In a symbolic gesture, they threw liquid at the glass protecting the Mona Lisa, making a poignant statement about the importance of access to nourishing and sustainable food.


As the protesters stood before the world-famous artwork, they questioned societal priorities, asking, "What is more important? Art or the right to healthy and sustainable food?" They highlighted concerns about the agricultural system, expressing solidarity with struggling farmers, stating, "Your agricultural system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work."


Museum security swiftly responded by placing black screens in front of the protesters, leading to the evacuation of the room. The Louvre confirmed that the protective glass shielded the painting from any damage. The museum, expressing its discontent, announced its intention to file a complaint against the demonstrators.


Riposte Alimentaire released a statement, explaining that their protest aimed to integrate "food into the general social security system." Criticizing the current food model as stigmatizing and neglecting fundamental rights, the group called for a monthly food card worth €150 (£128) to be provided to citizens.


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France's Minister for Culture, Rachida Dati, condemned the incident, asserting that "no cause" justifies targeting the Mona Lisa. She emphasized the painting's significance as part of the nation's heritage, belonging to future generations.


This unconventional protest follows a series of demonstrations by farmers in Paris, demanding action on rising fuel costs and simplified regulations. The Mona Lisa, behind safety glass since the early 1950s, continues to be a focal point for symbolic actions, with this incident echoing a 2022 episode when an activist threw cake at the painting, urging environmental consciousness.


The Louvre, an institution committed to preserving cultural treasures, has weathered various attempts to compromise the integrity of the Mona Lisa. Despite these challenges, the painting endures as a symbol of artistic brilliance and resilience.

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