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Part of iconic Paris bridge collapses from ‘love locks’ craze

Photo: AFP

Tourists were evacuated from the Pont des Arts footbridge in central Paris over the weekend, after more than two metres of railing collapsed, crumbling under the weight of a thousand so-called "love locks".

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Police sources said the railing collapsed shortly before 6pm on Sunday, but that no one had been hurt by the incident.

Thousands of Paris visitors cross the Pont des Arts, or cruise under it on tourist boats, each day.

Couples travelling through the French capital have adopted the tradition of inscribing a padlock with their initials and attaching it to the famous footbridge as a sign of their shared love.

The footbridge, which links the Seine river’s opposite banks near the Louvre Museum, was closed after the accident, but police said it would be reopened on Monday.

A spreading ‘danger’

Despite the tender intentions behind the locks, a growing number of people have started expressing security and aesthetic concerns over the trend.

Two young US nationals living in Paris have gathered thousands of signatures for a petition they launched in March calling for the locks to be removed.

The padlocks only appeared on the Pont des Arts in 2008.

At first, only a few dozen locks hung scattered across the footbridge, but today the full 150 metre length of the overpass is covered with them.

The practice has also spread to other bridges in Paris while 40 locks were recently removed from the Eiffel Tower.

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