Tens of thousands protest at German welfare cuts

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Nearly 100,000 people took to the streets across Germany Saturday in protest at government cuts in social welfare, trade union officials said.

"In Stuttgart, Dortmund, Nuremberg and Erfurt nearly 100,000 trade unionists demonstrated against social injustices," the German trade union federation DGB said, adding that the protest was a "big success."

No incidents were reported.

Demonstrators, who said poorer people were bearing the consequences of the financial and economic crisis, shouted, "Social justice is something different. We need a new policy".

"Working conditions and people's lives are deteriorating," they said.

Protesters were particularly angry with plans to raise the official retirement age over coming years from 65 to 67 years to compensate in part for an ageing population that is living longer, as well as cuts in the health system and low wages.

In neighbouring France, a plan to raise the official retirement age to 62, from 60 at present, provoked massive street protests.

© 2010 AFP

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