SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Some 6,000 people have protested in the Bulgarian capital Sofia against government plans to raise the retirement age.

The rally Thursday was organized by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions after the government announced plans to lift the retirement age by four months to 63 years and 8 months for men and to 60 years and 8 months for women.

Bulgaria, the poorest European Union member, has a rapidly aging population of 7.3 million, one third of which are retirees. Most of them have to survive with an average pension of 160 euros ($200) a month. Protesters demanded an increase of the pensions instead of the retirement age.

"We do not want life-long labor for miserable pensions" read one of the slogans at the protest.