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Louvre Is Locked Down For A Short Time After A Man Attacks Guard



That's the of emergency vehicles outside the Louvre in Paris this morning. The museum was put on lockdown for a short time after a man attacked a guard at one of the entrances to the complex. The man was shot by another guard. French anti-terror prosecutors are now investigating. And let's turn to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris and, Eleanor, what happened here?

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Well, this morning, police say a man attacked one of the soldiers on guard - he was part of a patrol - with a machete at the entrance to a very upscale shopping mall that leads to the Louvre. He slightly wounded him. Another soldier fired five shots at the attacker who is wounded now but conscious.

GREENE: And why are anti-terror prosecutors getting involved here so early?

BEARDSLEY: Well, David, witnesses say that the man shouted God is great in Arabic as he attacked the soldier. Beyond that, very little is known. We don't know who this man was or his nationality. Police say he did have a suitcase with him and, you know, he attacked - and a backpack. And he attacked the soldier after being told he couldn't enter the mall with his bags. Now, I went out to the Louvre. It was on lockdown. People - it was cleared out. And people say now - they say now that there was no explosives in his bag and it's been reopened - second man's been arrested.

GREENE: OK. So the museum reopened, sort of getting back to normal maybe. But this is a city, Eleanor, that really has never gotten back to normal because of all the recent terrible attacks in the past two years.

BEARDSLEY: Yeah, David, you're right, and there are these, you know, soldiers and patrols all over Paris, especially at somewhere like the Louvre, which is one of the most visited sites in France. The prime minister spoke today, and he reminded people that the country is still on high alert. But this is kind of hard to remember sometimes, David, because you go back to your normal life and France has been on high alert for a year now. But, you know, there is a presidential election coming up in three months. Immigration and security are huge issues. And today was just a reminder that this is the new normal in France, and especially Paris, I'd say.

GREENE: OK, talking to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley where there was an attack this morning at the Louvre, the famous museum, in the city. Eleanor, thanks so much.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.