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French Mayor on Hunger Strike to Protest Budget

November 12 2012, 09:42

PARIS (AP) — The mayor of a French town struggling with poverty is on a hunger strike in front of the National Assembly to protest what he calls "financial penury" and lack of support from the national government.

Stephane Gatignon got some unexpected backing Saturday from Manuel Valls, France's highest security official, who stopped by his tent in Paris to offer support.

"It's my duty as mayor," Gatignon tweeted Friday as he began his strike.

He has said he will stay until at least Tuesday, when the National Assembly takes up the budget for municipal financing.

Gatignon says that without more money, he will no longer be able to pay salaries or help those most in need in his town, a suburb of Paris that is one of the poorest municipalities in France.

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