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Germany

German Demo Rallies Against Cutting Jobless Benefits

An estimated 10,000 demonstrators gathered at the Alexanderplatz square in eastern Berlin Saturday to protest against Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's plans to reduce unemployment pay. The rally on the eve of the 14th anniversary of German unification was called by the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the democratic successors to the communist party of East Germany. Banners proclaiming "We are the People," an echo of slogans shouted during the run-up to the fall of the wall in 1989, and a flag from the former (East) German Democratic Republic brandishing the words, "Back to the Future," flew over crowds in the crowded city square. The anti-globalization group Attac and the service sector union Ver.di assisted in organizing the demonstration, which is just the latest in a long line of protests in the eastern half of the country against the government's reform plans.