Two women were seen throwing soup at the Mona Lisa this Sunday in a display of climate protest. French police have since begun an investigation. The soup did not damage the painting, instead covering the protective glass layered on the painting.
Video footage of the incident shows two female protestors in T-shirts reading “riposte alimentaire” (food counterattack) throwing pumpkin soup at the painting. The same footage shows them shouting: “What’s more important - art or the right to healthy and sustainable food? Our agricultural system is sick! The farmers are sick.”
Museum security acted quickly to put black screens in front of them to prevent the creation of a scene, and then rapidly evacuated the room in the infamous museum.
The protestors have called for the right to “healthy and sustainable food” following protests in Paris in recent days. French farmers have been calling for the end of rising fuel costs and for regulations in their realm to be simplified. On Friday, using their tractors they set up large blockades on key roads in and around the capital city. They have also dumped agricultural waste at the gates of government offices in a sign of particular disruptive protest.
An organisation known as Riposte Alimentire has taken responsibility for the actions. In a statement posted to X (previously Twitter) the organisation claimed that the protest was part of the farmers effort to “integrate food into the social security system”. They carry on to explain how the current system “does not respect” people’s fundamental right to food. The statement then calls for a food card worth a certain amount to be given to citizens as food provisions.
France’s Minister for Culture, Rachida Dati has stated that there is “no cause” that would be able to justify the targeting of the Mona Lisa, a heritage piece that “belongs to future generations.
The Mona Lisa has faced several attacks prior to this, with the most recent one being in 2020. In this attack an activist threw cake at the renowned painting while urging people to “think of the Earth” in another climate change protest.
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