updated 10/5/2004 5:45:12 PM ET 2004-10-05T21:45:12

Several Dutch government Web sites remained offline Tuesday after an attack by hackers protesting unpopular policies of the right-wing Cabinet, the government said.

In what is known as a denial-of-service attack, the hackers continually made fake requests for information from the Web sites, effectively shutting out legitimate users, a government statement said.

No security sites had been breached, and only public information sites were disabled, said Henk Brons, a spokesman for the government information agency known by its Dutch acronym RVD. Two Dutch-language sites carrying information about government institutions and their activities were affected.

A group calling itself the "Hacking Crew 10pht" claimed responsibility for the attacks on a Dutch Web forum.

Brons said he had no further details on the hackers, adding that police were investigating.

The sites crashed when they became overloaded Monday afternoon. Technicians were still working on the problem more than 24 hours later, and Brons could not say when the sites would be back online.

The Dutch government has come under public criticism over planned spending cuts in 2005 on health care and early retirement benefits. On Saturday, 200,000 staged a protest in Amsterdam, the largest in the Netherlands in 20 years.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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