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10,000 march against government cuts

27 February 2004

HANOVER – Some 10,000 protesters from throughout Germany converged on Hanover Friday to march against federal funding cuts in social welfare programmes and pension austerity measures.

The protest, held at the site of the 2001 Hanover World’s Fair, also targeted Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who hails from Hanover.

“We are protesting against policies that make the poor poorer while passing over the rich,” said protest organizer Adolf Bauer.

The protesters also lashed out at the government’s health-insurance reforms, aimed at reducing spiralling medical costs.

“The health reform burdens the sick while leaving doctors, the pharmaceuticals companies and the insurance companies largely unscathed,” said Bauer.

In addition, a freeze in federal pension benefits for nearly 20 million elderly Germans “means many people are being forced to live on a pittance”, he said.

Subject: German news