Taking to the streets: France's biggest demos

7th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Between 2.5 million and three million strikers turned out on Tuesday to march in rallies across France to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to increase the retirement age to 62, the trade unions estimated, while the interior ministry put turnout at 1.12 million.

Here in order of magnitude are the main previous major demonstrations in France over the past 15 years, according to figures given by the organisers.

Three million

- March 19, 2009: Unions say three million, and police 1.2 million people, demonstrated in support of jobs and wages.

- March 28, 2006: Three million demonstrate, according to the unions, against a youth contract, called the CPE, which aimed to encourage companies to hire workers under the age of 26 by loosening redundancy rules during the first two years. The interior ministry puts the figure at one million people, including 92,000 in Paris.

2.5 million

- September 7, 2010: Between 2.5 and three million people, according to the unions, and 1.12 million according to the police demonstrate against the planned pension reform.

- January 29, 2009: Demonstrations across France bring 2.5 million people to the streets, according to the unions, in defence of jobs, purchasing power and public services. The interior ministry says one million turned out.

2.2 million

- December 12, 1995: A demonstration against Prime Minister Alain Juppe's austerity programme brings out 2.2 million according to the organisers, one million according to the police.

Two million

- May 13, 2003: Unions say two million people, the police 1.13 million people, demonstrated against a government pension reform bill.

- June 24, 2010: A mass strike against the government's plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 brings out two million, according to organisers, and 797,000 according to the police.

© 2010 AFP

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