PARIS (AP) _ Hundreds of black-robed judges ditched their traditional reserve during a protest Friday, many hurling legal texts onto the pavement outside the Justice Ministry to demand better working conditions.

Some 500 judges came to Paris to call on the government to cough up more money for extra staff, including court clerks, and better improved conditions.

On the chic Place Vendome, the judges sang songs, urging action from Justice Minister Marylise Lebranchu. Some flung their red and blue legal texts onto the pavement in front of the ministry.

``The justice system's budget is a budget of destitution,'' said Valery Turcey, secretary-general of the magistrates' trade union.