Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meanwhile, in the alternate and somewhat healthier reality that is Europe...

"Massive protests across France

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets and staged strikes across France to protest the government's handling of the country's economic crisis.

Public and private sector workers are demanding greater protection for their jobs and salaries, and better efforts by the government to stimulate the economy.

Estelle Yousouffa, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Paris, said at least one million people had taken to the streets, with protests held in about 200 towns and cities.

Tens of thousands of protesters in the capital walked from the Place de la Bastille towards the city centre.

"The country is literally is on hold," Yousouffa said.

"Things are functioning, some classes in school are open, but all public offices are closed, 30 per cent of the transport and the trains are working."

'Call for help'

Francois Chereque, of the CFDT union, said the protests were "the biggest workers' rallies in 20 years".

"We refuse to pay for the capitalist crisis," read one banner at a protest in the central city of Lyon.

Another said: "The capitalist economy is sick... let's let it die"."

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