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Thousands rally in Paris against French president Sarkozy

 
 
 
 
 
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French workers attend the rally in Paris on January 18, 2012.

Thousands of people have participated in a rally in Paris, attacking French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans for dealing with the country’s unemployment crisis, Press TV reports.

As France gauges the international fallout from losing its triple-A credit rating, Sarkozy has called for the formation of an emergency jobs council to try and boost his dipping popularity at home ahead of presidential elections, which are to be held in two rounds in April and May.

After a four-hour-long meeting at the Elysée Palace with labor and business leaders, the president on Wednesday announced an EUR 430 million (USD 550 million) plan to reduce unemployment and restart economic growth.

On Wednesday, the protesters took to the streets of the capital to voice discontent over the measures included in the plan.

Activists have blamed Sarkozy’s failed economic leadership for the official unemployment rate, which stands at over 10 percent, the unofficial figure amounting to over 17 percent, and the recent downgrading of France’s credit rating by the New York-headquartered credit rating agency, the Standard & Poor’s.

The downgrade comes, despite Sarkozy’s having used to present himself as the person capable of steering the eurozone’s second-largest economy out of crisis.

After the meeting, Sarkozy also said that he would introduce his employment plans before the end of January.

The president stated that he would shift part of the burden of social welfare from companies onto consumers and convince workers to agree to payment cuts in exchange for job security.

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