Eiffel Tower Is Closed for 4th Day as Its Workers Strike

Anthony Aranda, a 23-year-old tourist from Peru, had only two days to visit Paris with his cousin, so getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower featured prominently on his to-do list. But on Thursday, he had to cross it off that list without stepping foot on France’s famed Iron Lady.

A labor strike, now in its fourth day, was keeping the tower closed.

“We are traveling to London next, so this was our last chance,” Mr. Aranda said in the drizzling rain as he looked up at the wrought-iron monument. “That was the idea, at least.”

Mr. Aranda, who is studying electronic engineering in Spain, said he would get over the disappointment — adding, as striking workers banged drums nearby, that “they are just fighting for their rights.”

But in Paris, just months before the city is to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, there are worries that the fight could turn into a protracted and highly visible labor dispute at one of the French capital’s most visited monuments. The site is so symbolic, in fact, that medals created for the Games will be encrusted with iron from the tower itself.

“It’s the image of France,” Olivia Grégoire, France’s minister in charge of tourism, told Sud Radio, adding that she understood the concerns of the Eiffel Tower workers.

The main allegation by unions representing the strikers is that financial mismanagement at the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, which operates the monument, is jeopardizing essential renovation work. The unionized workers have threatened to continue their walkout as long as necessary.

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