Page last updated at 23:32 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

In pictures: French strike

Protesters in Paris, 29 Jan

Union leaders claim as many as 2.5 million people took to the streets as France saw its first big strike triggered by the global credit crunch. French police put the number at just over one million.

Protesters in Paris hold up lighted flares, 29 Jan

In Paris, tens of thousands marched from Place de la Bastille to the centre of the capital, some carrying lighted flares.

An empty platform in St Lazare station, Paris

Platforms at St Lazare station, Paris, and elsewhere stood deserted as rail services were hit by strike action.

A demonstrator in Nice

This demonstrator in Nice carried a placard calling for President Nicolas Sarkozy to resign.

A demonstrator in Paris wears a Sarkozy mask

A protester in Paris donned a Sarkozy mask and held a placard reading "Hello - Beat it, loser" - words the president famously snapped at a hostile member of a crowd during a walkabout last year.

Demonstrators in Lyon

Demonstrators in Lyon carried a red banner calling for "Neither state nor bosses - revolution!"

Demonstrators in Lyon

Other demonstrators in Lyon "mourned" the loss of civil liberties and the privatisation of hospitals and postal services.

Strikers demonstrate in Marseille's Old Port

Large numbers of strikers thronged the Old Port at the heart of Marseille, the biggest city in southern France.

Demonstrators next to rubbish bins set on fire in Paris.

In Paris, some of the protesters threw stones and set fire to rubbish bins.

Police arresting protesters in Paris.

Police had to use tear gas to dispel the crowd of youths.

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