French police were forced to use tear gas to break up around 1000 protesters outside the Paris motor show overnight as local workers become increasingly unsettled over the country’s dire economic situation and the growing state of unemployment.

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The group of protesters included a large number of PSA Peugeot Citroen employees belonging to the company’s Aulnay plant near Paris, which will cease vehicle production in 2014.

Reuters reports the protest, headed by one of France’s largest labour unions, is the first nationwide rally since President Francois Hollande came to power in May, when he promised to cut the country’s deficit without impacting growth.

The news comes on the back of more gloom for the French manufacturer, which will reportedly slash annual production of the new Peugeot 208 city car from 175,000 units to 140,000 at its Poissy factory in north-central France and potentially scale back from three shifts per day to two.

More than three million people are now jobless in France, the highest rate of unemployment since 1999.

In July, PSA announced it would cut 8000 jobs across its European operations over the coming years as part of a restructuring program designed to improve the embattled company’s financial situation.

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