Major protest begins in capital over plans to raise retirement age

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Thousands of people gathered in Paris on Tuesday to protest against a proposed hike in the retirement age.
The huge demonstration in the French capital was one of more than 200 protests and one-day strikes by workers in sectors across the French economy planned around the country over a bill raising the retirement age to 62.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to crack down on "troublemakers" as clashes between youth and police broadened on Tuesday, saying he would ensure that "public order is guaranteed".
It was the sixth national day of demonstrations over the planned pension reform since early September.
Union leaders have vowed to keep up the pressure until the government scraps the unpopular plan, saying retirement at 60 is a fundamental social right that past generations fought hard to achieve.
Sarkozy called the reform his "duty" as a head of state and said it must go through to save France's generous but money-losing pension system.
The protests in France come as countries across Europe are cutting spending and raising taxes to bring down record deficits and debts from the worst recession in 70 years.

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