Protesters on Thursday braved a thunder storm to gather at Mexico City's Zocalo, one of the largest squares in the world, to protest against the president's faltering economic reforms.

"Fox has a Pinocchio nose, he makes big promises and doesn’t fulfill them," said a protester.

Despite their varied backgrounds, the protesters – ranging from uniformed nurses to peasants in cowboy hats - were unanimous in their condemnation of the president.

Expectations belied

Former Coca-Cola executive Fox came to power in 2000 on a wave of optimism, ending 71 years of often corrupt one-party rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

But he has failed so far to deliver on election promises of creating jobs and accelerating economic growth.

"No to privatization, VAT and Imperialism," read one banner at the march, headed by unions and opposition leaders.

Fox says reforms are needed to lift Mexico out of economic stupor.

The economy grew only 0.4% in the third quarter of this year. Unemployment is near six-year highs.

But there is grudging acceptance that Fox has made progress in the fight against corruption and drug-trafficking.

Opinion polls show he is still regarded as an honest politician, unlike some of his predecessors.