PARIS, June 9 (UPI) -- French police evacuated Pont des Arts, the famed "Locks of Love" bridge, on Sunday after an 8-foot section of railing broke off under the weight of the locks.
Since 2008, tourists have attached what has become known as "love locks" to the 492-foot iron bridge, completely covering the Ponte des Arts with small, steel locks. Tourists then throw the lock keys into the Seine below.
Protesters argue the locks threaten both the aesthetic and structural integrity of the historic bridge, and other landmarks -- including other bridges and the Eiffel Tower -- where tourists have attached locks. Protest organizers sent an open letter to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo that read, in part:
"This is most apparent on the Pont des Arts, which has been terribly degraded, both visually and structurally in a few short years, the heart of Paris has been made ugly, robbing Parisians of quality of life and the ability to safely enjoy their own spaces along the Seine, which has itself been polluted by thousands of discarded keys.
"The time has come to enact a ban on 'love locks' in order to return our bridges to their original beauty and purpose."
It is unclear when the Pont des Arts will reopen.