An activist, Emery Diyabanza has been fined €1,000 for removing an African artefact from a Paris museum in protest at France’s colonial-era looting of art.
Diyabanza grabbed a 19th Century Chadian wooden funerary post from the Quai Branly museum in June in a protest that was live-streamed, saying he had “come to claim back the stolen property of Africa”.
The judge who fined him for aggravated robbery, said he wanted to “discourage” similar stunts, saying there are other ways of drawing the attention of politicians and the public” to the issue of colonial cultural theft.
Media reports has it that, three other activists who joined Diyabanza at the museum received suspended fines of €250, €750, and €1,000, while a fourth was cleared of the charges.
Diyabanza, originally from DR Congo, has carried out similar protests in other French cities and in the Netherlands.
While speaking with the media, he noted that “the fact that he had to pay his own money to see what had been taken by force, a heritage that belonged back home where he comes from influenced his decision to take action.”