Page last updated at 07:53 GMT, Sunday, 1 February 2009

Crisis may 'spark social unrest'

About 200 demonstrators have taken to the streets in Davos

Europe faces the risk of more social unrest unless measures are taken to quickly tackle the global economic crisis, France's finance minister says.

Christine Lagarde said trust in the financial system needs to be restored.

Leaders need to send a clear, understandable signal to ordinary people about how governments were intending to act, she added.

She said that action should be taken by the G20 summit taking place in London in April.

"We're facing two major risks: one is social unrest and the second is protectionism," she told the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"We need to restore confidence in the systems and confidence at large," she added.

On Saturday, hundreds of people demonstrated in Geneva and Davos to protest against the World Economic Forum.

Carrying banners reading "you are the crisis" and throwing snowballs at security guards, the demonstrators said those at the forum were not qualified to fix the world's problems.

Governments in France, Russia and Iceland have faced angry protests from citizens upset by their handling of the economic crisis.

French rail and air services were disrupted on Thursday as huge crowds took to the streets.

Iceland's coalition government collapsed on Monday under the strain of the financial crisis.

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