French students to march Tuesday against pension reform

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France's main student union called on its members to take to the streets next Tuesday to fight President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62.

UNEF urged students and young people "everywhere in France" to demonstrate and take part in sit-ins to show the government that the wider protest movement was not fizzling out during the half-term school holidays that start Friday.

The holidays "are not a break in the mobilisation," UNEF leader Jean-Baptiste Prevost told reporters. "We will find a way to continue it."

The planned student demos will come two days before another day of mass strikes and street protests called by France's main trades unions.

France has for the last two months been in the grip of a wave of protests against Sarkozy's bid to raise retirement age from 60 and the age at which retirees can get full pension payments from 65 to 67.

The pension reform bill has been moving through parliament and Labour Minister Eric Woerth said it would be approved in a Senate vote "in the coming hours", which means it could become law as early as next week.

© 2010 AFP

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