France has suspended planned increases in fuel taxes for six months after violent protests in the streets of Paris and other cities.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the delay of the tax increases in a speech on national television.

“No tax is worth putting the nation’s unity in danger,” he said.

The prime minister also spoke of the protesters. He said that the French who have worn yellow vests “want taxes to drop, and work to pay.”

Fuel taxes had been set to rise on January 1. Philippe said the increase would go into effect six months later. He also announced that electricity and natural gas prices will not increase before May 2019.

President Emanuel Macron announced the tax increases last month. French officials said they are designed to move the country away from fossil fuels and part of an effort to fight climate change.

The demonstrations started on November 17 in Paris. Protesters wore yellow traffic vests that French drivers are required to carry in their vehicles. Since then, the “yellow vest” protests have developed into a movement against Macron.

 More than 100 people were injured and more than 400 arrested.

However, his policies have angered many French citizens who say he does not care about most of the people. The yellow vest protesters have called him “president of the rich.”

It is unclear whether the government’s latest moves will put an end to the protests.

The movement does not seem to be led by a known labor leader or opposition politician. That, observers say, makes it more difficult for government officials to answer.

Some officials, however, hope that the lack of clear leadership will lead the movement to break apart.

Exercise 1

Vocabulary

Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

 

vest (n.) /ˈvɛst/ - a sleeveless piece of clothing with buttons down the front that is worn over a shirt and under a suit jacket

  • a bulletproof vest

 

fossil (n.) /ˈfɑːsəl/ - something (such as a leaf, skeleton, or footprint) that is from a plant or animal which lived in ancient times and that you can see in some rocks

  • a dinosaur fossil

 

 

Exercise 2 

Questions

Answer these questions about the article.

  1. Why are people protesting in France?
  2. How many people were injured, and how many arrested?
  3. Why were vests yellow?
  4. What was the result?

 

 

Exercise 3

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks with the correct word listed below.

vest, fossil

 

  1. Protesters wore yellow _____ to signal they are drivers.
  2. _______ fuels are damaging to our planet.

 

 

Exercise 4

Discussion

Have a discussion on following questions.

  1. Did they have the right to protest?
  2. Was fuel too expencive?
  3. How much is fuel in your country?
  4. Would you protest for lower prices?

Source

This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.