French pension protests bring out 340,000: official

16th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

At least 340,000 demonstrators had taken to the streets of towns and cities around France by midday Saturday, fewer than on four previous protests against pension reform, the interior ministry said.

The provisional figure was released before the start of the main rally of the day in the capital Paris, and the protests' trade union organisers typically give a much higher estimate of the number of people taking part.

On October 2 -- the last time French labour leaders organised a protest against raising the retirement age on a Saturday -- some 380,000 supporters had joined them by the same point, according to interior ministry figures.

And the previous protest, Tuesday's nationwide day of strikes, drew half a million by noon. Nevertheless, in both cases organisers claimed far higher turnout numbers, and union leaders say their movement is gathering steam.

© 2010 AFP

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