March 19, 2009
French unions have claimed that up to three million people have taken part in street protests amid a national strike against France’s economic policies.
Police gave an estimate of 1.2 million people at rallies nationwide.
Schools have been closed and public transport disrupted, with demonstrations held in about 200 towns.
Unions are demanding more is spent to protect workers in the recession. Unemployment has reached two million and is expected to rise further.
Union members marched towards the Place de la Nation in Paris behind a banner that read: “United against the crisis, defend employment, spending power and public services.”
“They have a profound sense of social injustice,” said Jean-Claude Mailly, head of the large Force Ouvriere union, “and that, I think, is something that neither the government nor the employers have understood.”