French unions see modest turnout for anti-reform protests

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Paris police say 10,000 people joined demonstrations over Hollande's 'responsibility pact' which aims to slash labour costs, unions claim 60,000. 

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French unions drew tens of thousands to protests on Tuesday against President Francois Hollande's latest economic reforms, substantially lower than other union-organized demonstrations of recent years, reports Reuters.

The protests, called by the CGT and Force Ouvriere unions, were among the first displays of street anger over Hollande's "responsibility pact", which aims to slash labor costs and kickstart job creation in Europe's second-largest economy.

But turnout was a fraction of past rallies against reform plans and fell well short of demonstrations in Paris last year against same-sex marriage that drew hundreds of thousands.

In Paris, where protests draw the largest crowds, police said some 10,000 protesters turned out versus an estimate of 60,000 from the CGT union. Nationally it said turnout was around 240,000, a figure it was impossible to verify independently.

While street opposition to Hollande's reforms has been muted, widespread frustration over unemployment above 10 percent is keeping his approval scores at record lows in the lead-up to local elections.

Read more of this report from Reuters.

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