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There are protests in France which have been named the yellow vest protests. They are named after the yellow vests that protesters have been wearing. The vests are in every car in France so almost everyone in France owns one of these vests.

The protests started in November 2018 and have been mostly taking place every Saturday. People are upset about basic necessities being more expensive than in the past. Meanwhile, their wages have not risen by as much as their monthly costs. This has caused a situation where people have been getting less money every year as costs rise and their wages stay the same. Over the years, people have been getting more and more angry about the living situation.

In recent years, the French government has been trying to fight global warming. One of the things that the French government has been doing is raising taxes on fuel for cars. During 2018, the government has been increasing the cost of fuel regularly. The next rise was scheduled for January 2019.

The fuel tax is what made people really angry. They have been angry for many years but the fuel tax was the final straw. Although the fuel tax sparked the protests, people are demanding huge changes. They want higher wages, lower taxes, more jobs and higher taxes for companies.

The French government has done many things to try and make the protesters happy. However, nobody is sure what will make them stop protesting.

Difficult words

Protests: People strongly saying they do do not agree with something.

Necessities: Something is absolutely needed.

Meanwhile: Something is happening while something else is happening.

Wages: The money people earn from their jobs.

Situation: How something is happening.

Taxes: Extra money that pays for government services.

Scheduled: Making something for a specific day or time.

The Final Straw: The last thing that happens before someone gets really angry.

Sparked: Something which starts something else.

Demanding: Strongly making someone do something.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Protests  A. Requirement
 2. Necessities  B. Payment
 3.  Meanwhile  C. Plan
 4. Wages  D. Complain
 5. Scheduled  E.  Happening

True or False?

1. There are many protests in Germany right now. T / F

2. The protesters are wearing green vests.  T / F

3. Every car in France has a yellow vest inside of it.  T / F

4. Wages have not been rising enough.  T / F

5. People do not mind the new fuel tax. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. every / France / vests / are / car / in / The / in

2. their / not / have / Meanwhile, / risen / wages

3. the / fuel / of / government / The / been / has / increasing / cost

4. next / rise / was / January / for / The / scheduled

5. years / angry / many / have / for / They / been

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Nobody Basic Yellow
Wages Raising Sparked

There are protests in France which have been named the ____________ vest protests. They are named after the yellow vests that protesters have been wearing. The vests are in every car in France so almost everyone in France owns one of these vests.

The protests started in November 2018 and have been mostly taking place every Saturday. People are upset about __________ necessities being more expensive than in the past. Meanwhile, their wages have not risen by as much as their monthly costs. This has caused a situation where people have been getting less money every year as costs rise and their _________ stay the same. Over the years, people have been getting more and more angry about the living situation.

In recent years, the French government has been trying to fight global warming. One of the things that the French government has been doing is __________ taxes on fuel for cars. During 2018, the government has been increasing the cost of fuel regularly. The next rise was scheduled for January 2019.

The fuel tax is what made people really angry. They have been angry for many years but the fuel tax was the final straw. Although the fuel tax ____________ the protests, people are demanding huge changes. They want higher wages, lower taxes, more jobs and higher taxes for companies.

The French government has done many things to try and make the protesters happy. However, ____________ is sure what will make them stop protesting.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3.  Have you heard about these protests in France?
4. Are taxes high in your country?
5. Do you mind paying taxes?
6. Is the cost of living high in your country?
7. Does the cost of living match wages in your country?
8. What can be done to improve the lives of regular working people?
9. Do you agree with the protesters in France?
10. Have you ever joined a protest?
11. Do you think protests are a good way to enact change?
12. Have people protested in your country often? If so, about what?
13. Is diesel or gasoline more popular in your country?
14. Does your country have any plan to discourage people from using diesel?
15. Why do you think protests often turn violent?
16. What do you think about the protestors blocking the roads?
17. What are the dangers of protesting?
18. Other than protesting, what is another way to get your voice heard?
19. Do you think the internet helps protests be more peaceful or more dangerous?
20. Are there any questions that you would like to ask the protesters?