Rescuers try to talk down Eiffel Tower climber

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Unidentified man climbs the Eiffel Tower in Paris

An unidentified man (L) climbs the Eiffel Tower, which had to be evacuated, in Paris, France, May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - Rescuers were trying to talk down a man who scaled the Eiffel Tower on Monday and forced the monument's evacuation.

Live television images showed one specialist fireman and another rescuer perched on the 324-metre (1,063-foot) tower's wrought-iron struts, just below the highest viewing platform trying to persuade the unknown man to give himself up.

Police in Paris said the climber's motives were not clear and a negotiator was present. France's BFM TV reported that he had threatened to commit suicide.

"The man entered the tower normally and started to climb once he was on the second floor," a spokeswoman for the tower's operator told Reuters.

Police cordoned off several streets closest to the tower as crowds of onlookers gazed up at the perilous operation which began mid-afternoon.

The lattice tower, named after its designer and builder Gustave Eiffel, is one of the world's most recognizable landmarks. It was constructed between 1887 and 1889 and is the equivalent height of an 81-storey building.

The Eiffel Tower will be closed until further notice, its operator said in a statement.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet and Richard Lough; Editing by Toby Chopra and Andrew Cawthorne)