Moment Irish tourist damages statue outside Brussels Stock Exchange the day after it was unveiled following £15,000 restoration
- The building and sculpture had just been restored in a £77million project
- Do you know who the tourist is? Email [email protected]
An Irishman has been arrested in Brussels after breaking off part of a newly restored statue outside the city’s Stock Exchange.
The city centre building, known as the Bourse, was reopened just the day before following a three-year restoration project costing £77million.
Shocking video taken of the incident on Sunday shows the man, who appears to be drunk, climbing up the statue, which is called ‘The hand with a torch’.
Astonished crowds watched as he clambered onto the sculpture, which depicts a lion and a man holding a torch and is one of two which flank the entrance.
As he goes to dismount the artwork, he grabs onto it to steady himself, snapping the torch and what appears to be part of the arm off as he jumps to the ground.
The man is thought to have been intercepted by police in a nearby fast food restaurant soon after and arrested.
The Stock Exchange now wants to recoup the thousands in damages directly from the man, Belgian media reports.
Nel Vandevennet, who managed the restoration project, told outlet VRT NWS: ‘The repairs are going to cost a lot of money because the work will have to be done by real craftsmen.
‘It is listed heritage and there will be follow-up from the monuments and landscapes agency of the Brussels region.’
Pictures show the erosion suffered by the stone statue before it was restored. Now, it will need to be worked on again.
‘We would like to carry out the repairs quickly, but it will surely take a few weeks or even months,’ said Vandevennet.
‘The whole building has only just been restored to its former glory, including the two lions which were in a bad way.
‘We thought the sculptures would enjoy greater respect. We just think it’s very sad this happened.’
The reopening of the landmark has been highly anticipated in the Belgian city, with guided tours being put on as tourists are welcomed back.
It is not the only attraction to have suffered damage from tourists this summer, with Rome’s Colosseum targeted by a holidaymaker in June.
Ivan Dimitrov, 27, who also goes by the name Ivan Hawkins, was caught on camera by American holidaymaker Ryan Lutz as he carved the words, ‘Ivan and Hayley 23’ into the brickwork with a set of keys.
Then in July, a 17-year-old Swiss girl was also caught carving into the walls of the ancient amphitheatre.