The Louvre evacuated thousands of museumgoers on Monday, June 12, following an unknown security threat. Visitors claimed that they heard an alarm go off inside the iconic Parisian institution before they were asked to leave. While it is unclear what triggered the alarm, the incident is being viewed as a sign of the museum’s heightened security protocols.
This is the third security scare to prompt the museum to swiftly evacuate tourists in recent months. According to The Independent, the museum initiated an emergency evacuation following the discovery of a suspicious bag on its premises on May 7. The staff for France’s newly elected president Emmanuel Macron confirmed that more than three hundred journalists preparing to attend a celebration of the president’s victory in the Louvre’s courtyard that day were asked to leave the area so that police could search the grounds.
In February, the Louvre was shut down after a man with a machete attacked a French soldier while shouting, “Allahu akhbar” (God is great). The patrolman had tried to prevent the assailant, who was later identified as the twenty-eight-year-old Egyptian Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, from entering the Carrousel du Louvre, the underground shopping mall connected to the museum, because he was carrying two large bags. Soldiers opened fire on al-Hamahmy, shooting him five times.