Moment Irish tourist damages statue outside Brussels Stock Exchange the day after it was unveiled following £15,000 restoration

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  • Reading time:4 min(s) read

  • Irishman was arrested after snapping off part of ‘the hand with a torch’ statue
  • Stock Exchange had just undergone £77m restoration, including work to statue
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An Irishman has been arrested in Brussels after breaking off part of a statue outside the city’s Stock Exchange – which had just cost £15,000 to restore.

The building, known as the Bourse, was reopened just a day before the incident on Sunday, following a three-year £77million restoration project.

Shocking video shows the man, who appears to be drunk, climbing up the statue, which is called ‘the hand with a torch’ and is one of two which flank the entrance.

Astonished crowds watched as he clambered on to the sculpture, which depicts a lion and a man holding a torch.

As he goes to dismount the artwork, he grabs on to it to steady himself, snapping the torch and what appears to be part of the arm off as he jumps to the ground. 

Astonished crowds watched as he clambered on to the sculpture, which depicts a lion and a man holding a torch

Astonished crowds watched as he clambered on to the sculpture, which depicts a lion and a man holding a torch

Video taken of the incident on Sunday shows the man appearing to steady himself by holding onto the statue's arm

Video taken of the incident on Sunday shows the man appearing to steady himself by holding onto the statue’s arm

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.’

The torch and what appears to be part of the arm of the statue clatters to the floor as the man makes his way down

The torch and what appears to be part of the arm of the statue clatters to the floor as the man makes his way down 

The torch and what appears to be part of the arm of the statue clatters to the floor as the man makes his way down

The tourist looks down as he realises he’s knocked part of the statue off 

Pictures show the statue in a state of disrepair before it was restored. Now, it will need to be worked on again

Pictures show the statue in a state of disrepair before it was restored. Now, it will need to be worked on again

The reopening of the landmark has been highly anticipated in the Belgian city, with guided tours being put on as tourists are welcomed back

The reopening of the landmark has been highly anticipated in the Belgian city, with guided tours being put on as tourists are welcomed back

Pictures show the erosion suffered by the stone statue before it was restored. Now, it will need to be worked on again. 

READ MORE: Tourist who carved his name into Colosseum wall is a fitness instructor who lives in Bristol

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‘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 an American tourist 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.




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