Nationwide strike in India against retail reform
NEW DELHI (AFP) - Shopkeepers, traders and labourers blocked railway lines and closed markets across India on Thursday in a nationwide day of protest against reforms allowing in foreign supermarkets such as Walmart.
Opposition parties and trade unions called the strike after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week announced a raft of reforms designed to revive India's slowing economy, a move that has sparked a furious backlash.
Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai were among cities most affected by the 24-hour stoppage, with the majority of shops, factories, schools and offices shut down for the day.
Protests were held across India with effigies of Dr Singh burnt by demonstrators in Bangalore, while strikers blocked some national highways and major rail routes.