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Activist Diyabanza Arrested After Attempted Theft At Louvre

Congolese activist Mwazulu Diyabanza was presented in court after his attempted theft at the Louvre museum a few days ago.

According to news reports, the incident took place on October 22. Diyabanza was seen in a video posted on Twitter at the museum, proclaiming that he was “here to take back what was stolen and plundered” from them. A representative of the Louvre Museum disclosed that the target of the theft was an 18th-century sculpture. The sculpture was originally from Flores, an island near Indonesia which was once under Portugal. The representative also said that the museum staff immediately intervened and prevented the theft, as well as avoid any damage to the artefact. After the hearing. Diyabanza was released and his trial scheduled for December 3rd. The judge noted the complexity of the case and hence scheduled for almost 5 weeks later.

Mwazulu Diyabanza is known for his activism around repatriation of colonial rule. He has staged protests at a number of other notable museums, including Afrika Museum (Berg en Dal, Netherlands), and Museum of African, Oceanic and Native American Arts (Marseille, France). Recently, he also tried to steal a 19th-century African pole from Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in Paris. A French court did not give any prison sentence for the incident, though Diyabanza was fined €2,000 for the act.

Diyabanza maintains that his intention was to stage protests, not actually steal anything. In September, he told the New York Times that his motivation for the protests came after realizing that he had to pay to view artefacts that were stolen from his home.