Thousands take part in anti-Sarkozy protests in France

May 1st, 2009 - 11:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris, May 1 (DPA) Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of France Friday to protest against the policies and reforms of President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government.
In an unprecedented gesture of solidarity, all eight major trade unions marched together in the traditional May Day demonstrations to demand that the government do more to avert massive layoffs and that Sarkozy stop the planned reforms of French labour laws.

Some 300 such protest marches were scheduled to take place throughout the country, twice as many as in 2008, with the largest demonstration set for Paris.

Trade unions said some 35,000 people had marched in Marseille, while 25,000 took part in demonstrations in Nantes. Police estimates of the crowds were substantially lower.

Union leaders had hoped that the May Day protests would draw as many people as had demonstrated in the nation-wide anti-government protests on March 19, when up to 3 million were in the streets, according to trade union figures.

However, many workers apparently took advantage of the three-day weekend to go on holiday, so that the numbers were significantly lower than in March.

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