"Monday Demonstration" against Hartz IV Reforms in Rostock (August 9, 2004)
After lengthy negotiations between the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, the latter approved the labor market reform law Hartz IV on July 9, 2004. Representatives of the East German Länder [federal states] either opposed the law or abstained from voting. The law prescribed the merging of unemployment benefits and social welfare assistance effective January 1, 2005. To protest the Hartz IV legislation, "Monday demonstrations" reminiscent of those in the fall of 1989 were held in East German cities between August and October 2004. On Monday, August 9, 2004, more than 20,000 people protested nationwide. A demonstration also took place that day in Rostock (see photo). The sign in the foreground reads: "Hartz IV isn't social, because only the wealthy people get the money." Photo: Bernd Wüstneck.