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German Jobless Protests Planned

March 2, 1998

BIELEFELD, Germany (AP) _ Seeking to unify Germany’s 4.8 million unemployed, activists Monday scheduled new demonstrations in 200 cities to protest the nation’s record jobless rate.

The protests, set for Thursday, would be the second in what organizers hope will be monthly rallies outside government unemployment offices, timed to coincide with Federal Labor Office announcements of jobless figures.

Protests in early February drew more than 30,000 people after the Labor Office reported January’s jobless rate hit a postwar high of 12.6 percent.

From its headquarters in the northwestern city of Bielefeld, the unemployment union hopes to inspire the kind of massive demonstrations seen in France in recent months. February’s protests were the first in Germany, although unemployment numbers have been worsening for months.

Supported by Germany’s powerful labor unions as well as church groups, organizers said protesters also would rally Thursday outside Deutsche Bank branches and local offices of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s party of Christian Democrats.

Protesters said they want the government to create jobs by instituting a 35-hour workweek in all branches of industry.

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