French strike nationwide over economic crisis

PARIS Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:24am GMT

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech on research and innovation at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 22, 2009. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech on research and innovation at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 22, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

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PARIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of French workers staged a nationwide strike on Thursday to try to force President Nicolas Sarkozy and business leaders to do more to protect jobs and wages during the economic crisis.

Public transport was snarled in many cities, scores of flights were cancelled, and schools, banks, hospitals, the post office, law courts and state broadcasters were also expected to be hit by the protest.

The strike aims to highlight fears of growing unemployment, discontent over Sarkozy's reluctance to help consumers and resentment towards bankers blamed for the economic slump.

"We need to sound a cry of anger," said Francois Chereque, head of the moderate CFDT union.

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