PARIS -- A painting by Impressionist painter Claude Monet was damaged by vandals who broke into the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said intruders broke into the museum Sunday and damaged "The Argenteuil Bridge," a painting created by Monet in 1874, the International Herald Tribune reported Monday.
Albanel said the break-in, believed to have been perpetrated by four men and a woman, was "an attack against our memory and our heritage." She said the intruders, who appeared to have been drunk, "left various bits of filth" before "one of them stuck a fist into the magnificent masterpiece by Monet."
The minister said the alarms were set off when the painting was damaged but the intruders were able to flee before museum personnel could stop them. She said the painting can be restored.
Albanel called for stricter punishments for people who desecrate cultural sites and works of art. She said security at the country's museums and other locations would be improved.
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