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Protesters Rally in Amsterdam, Berlin Over Social Cuts - 2004-10-02

About 200,000 people have rallied in Amsterdam against government plans to reform the social benefits system.

Protesters organized by labor unions waved flags and carried banners in the Dutch capital, chanting against the plans.

The protest has been described as the largest demonstration in the Netherlands since anti-nuclear rallies more than two decades ago.

The Dutch government says the pension and welfare systems need reforming to spur economic growth.

Meanwhile in Berlin, at least 25,000 people from all over Germany rallied against social welfare cuts.

The protests in Germany are patterned after the weekly 1989 demonstrations that helped lead to the destruction of the Berlin Wall. But the number of participants has dropped in recent weeks.