Half a million join France pensions protests: government

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Half a million people joined demonstrations against pensions reform in France on Tuesday morning ahead of the main protest in Paris, the government said.

Unions hailed the strike as the biggest yet in the long-running battle against the plan.

The interior ministry said that "about 500,000" people had joined in various demonstrations by early afternoon with turnout "slightly higher" than the last marches on October 2, boosted by the participation of high school pupils.

Bernard Thibault, leader of France's biggest union the CGT, said Tuesday's strike action was "the biggest day" of action since the government launched its plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

© 2010 AFP

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