BERLIN (AP) – Tens of thousands of German workers from across the country marched through downtown Berlin on Saturday to call for increased government measures to protect their jobs and prosperity.

German unions organized the mass demonstration as part of a European-wide effort to demand more action to protect their jobs during the economic downturn.

Protests in Brussels and Spain took place on Friday.

German union representatives estimated 100,000 workers took part in Saturday’s protest. Police confirmed that tens of thousands of protesters took part.

In a speech to a rally following the march, the head of the Association of German Unions, Michael Sommer, laid the blame for the current crisis not only on bankers, but also on “German and European politicians who were carried away by limitless greed.”

Concrete measures that the unions are seeking include introduction of a minimum wage, an increase in unemployment benefits and limits on how much top managers can earn. In Germany, wages are set by industry and union negotiators who are not bound by a government-imposed minimum wage.

Trade union representatives from several EU nations are calling for a “new social deal for Europe” in which workers get the same kind of protection from their government as have banks.

AP-ES-05-16-09 1227EDT

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