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Protesters urge government to quit

Thousands of Croatian protesters have accused the government of economic hardship and widespread corruption during a march on a bankrupt factory in the capital, Zagreb.

Female former workers of the Kamensko textile factory led the march on International Women's Day, placing roses in front of the factory that has been in bankruptcy proceedings following privatisation, Croatian media reported.

The crowd chanted "we want to work," and "to the streets" as they demanded that the government resign.

Several thousand people then marched to the headquarters of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union and other political parties.

A similar march was held in the Adriatic port of Rijeka, Hina news agency reported. Protesters there chanted "down with the government" and "thieves" as they walked the streets of the coastal town.

Many Croats are angry with their politicians, saying they have not done enough to boost the economy even as the government plans to wrap up EU accession talks this year, in a major step toward formally joining the 27-nation bloc.

Protest marches have been held almost daily over the past few weeks, increasing pressure on the government which could be facing elections later this year or early in 2012. Some of the protests have turned violent.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic has called all political parties for consultations over the situation in the country, Croatian media said.

They said Mr Josipovic also wants to discuss whether to hold a referendum on the possible EU membership.

Government officials have warned that protests could slow down the country's EU accession process.

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