Lovebirds find their act charming while many Parisians point out it not only pollutes the Seine, it’s just plain “ugly, robbing Parisians of quality of life.” Fabrizio Sciami (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Pont des Arts, the iconic Parisian bridge where lovers place a padlock with their names and throw the key into the Seine river to symbolize their commitment to each other, lost part of a railing over the weekend and had to be evacuated. And though many paramours may be distressed at the idea of their symbolic affection drowning in the French river, or worse, being carried away by authorities, it may not be the only bad news they’ll receive with regard to the bridge.
Many protesters are taking advantage of this omen-like event to highlight the problems this relatively new tradition is causing and may get local officials to remove every last lock.
Since the phenomenon began in 2008 it has become a headache for city officials. Not only is the full 150-metre Pont des Arts covered in locks, but visiting lovebirds have targeted other bridges in the French capital. Forty locks are reported to have been removed from the Eiffel tower.
Paris authorities cannot say they were not warned. In 2010 concerns were expressed about the locks, which disappeared from the bridge one night but were later found to have been removed by an art student who had turned them into a sculpture.
Protesters who say the thousands of locks are an eyesore and vandalism have long warned they are also a risk to the iron bridge, which is a listed monument, and launched a petition to have them removed. There are also campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In an open letter to the Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, the petition organisers complained that the locks were “like a plague on our city’s historic bridges and sites”.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata
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