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UK G20 protest to demand global economic reforms

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people will march through London on Saturday to call on G20 leaders to reform the global economy to help fight poverty, inequality and climate change, according to organisers.

In what is expected to be one of the biggest demonstrations in London since a 2003 protest against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, more than 100 groups have united to deliver their broad message ahead of the G20 summit in the capital on April 2.

Under the umbrella slogan "Put People First", unions and aid agencies, churches and environmental groups, will say the economic recovery must be based on equality and fairness rather than a return to "business as usual".

"What we want is fundamental change, a rebuilding of the economy for the 21st century," said Benedict Southworth, director of the World Development Movement, a poverty lobby group that is jointly organising the march.

"We are about to spend our money and our children's money in a one-off spending fest. What are we going to get for it? We want a lot more than just the banks being propped up."

As well as fixing the financial system, G20 leaders have a duty to improve public services, create more decent jobs and develop a greener economy, he added.

In Paris, demonstrators will protest under the slogan "We will not pay for their crisis".

The London march will take place against a backdrop of a deepening recession in Britain, where unemployment rose above 2 million in February, house prices fell 11.4 percent on the year in January and industrial output in January saw its worst drop since 1981.

Organisers say they want to send a message to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, trailing in the polls before an election due by mid-2010, that voters will express their anger on election day unless the economy is fundamentally reformed.

While police fear some protest groups are planning a "Summer of Rage" targeting London's financial centres, the organisers of Saturday's march say it will be noisy but peaceful.

All police leave in the capital has been cancelled to cope with planned protests by anarchists around the summit. (Additional reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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