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Poland: Thousands Protest Against Labor Reforms

Warsaw, 26 April 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Tens of thousands of Polish trade unionists today rallied in Warsaw to protest proposed new labor reforms which the government says are necessary to fight record unemployment. The rally, organized by the Solidarity trade union, marked its first major show of strength since the right-wing government it backed was swept from power by the reformed communists in last September's general election.

Support for Premier Leszek Miller's leftist coalition has slipped and social discontent grown after it failed to staunch rising unemployment.

Workers from shipyards, steelworks, and coal mines fear legislation now before parliament to ease hire-and-fire rules meant they could end up joining over 3 million jobless.

Police put the crowd at about 30,000.