French rallies draw 825,000 say police, 3 million say unions
Some 825,000 demonstrators took to the streets of France on Saturday, fewer than on previous protests against pension reform, the government said, while unions said "around three million" marched.
Traditionally figures given by French government and labour leaders vary wildly, and while the police figure suggested the protest movement is losing steam the unions insisted they had done as well as they expected.
The last time a rally against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the minimum retirement age was held on a Saturday -- on October 2 -- police said that 899,000 marched while union leaders said it was three million.
And at the most recent rally, held during a day of strike action on Tuesday, officers counted 1.2 million while unions said 3.5 million demonstrated.
Saturday's final totals will no doubt be disputed in the coming days, but the rival figures appear to suggest that the number of those taking part has at the least hit a plateau and may have begun to fall off.
© 2010 AFP