10 Oct 2008

Mass rally in French Polynesia against French pension reform

4:26 pm on 10 October 2008

An estimated 7,000 people have marched through the French Polynesian capital in protest at French plans to reform the pension system.

This coincided with a strike called by several unions which are opposed to cuts amid concern over their impact on the economy.

Among those joining the march were opposition politicians, the president of the territorial assembly as well as a number of government ministers.

The unions demand a withdrawal of the reforms drawn up by the junior French minister in charge of overseas territories, Yves Jego, who is visiting the territory.

A union leader says with politicians joining the rally, there is such opposition to the planned changes that today's march only amounts to a warning strike.

Mr Jego rebuffed the critics, saying it is now indecent to take to the streets to ask for annual pensions that are 20'000 US dollars higher than those in France.