News, Politics

Yellow Vest Protests Continue in France

By Obier - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
By Obier – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

For the past five Saturdays, people in France have taken to the streets to protest against their government. They wear bright yellow vests; the demonstrations are known as the “yellow vest protests.”

The protesters want the government to lower the tax on gasoline so fuel will cost less, and they want a better cost-of-living. They also want to be “heard” by the government, to be listened to.

For that reason, many of the protests have become violent. Some protesters say that peaceful protests haven’t worked (in other words, they haven’t caused the government to listen to the protesters).

The protesters’ yellow vests were chosen because drivers in France are required to have one of the highly visible vests in their vehicle (for instance, in case they have a car accident, they can put on the vest and be more easily seen by emergency workers.)

The vest has become a symbol of the protests.

The protests began on November 17, when more than 300,000 people went into the streets of France and blocked roads and roundabouts. 

There were fewer than 4,500 people at this weekend’s protests; the movement may be slowing down in France.

However, people in other countries–including Canada–have joined the yellow vest movement, protesting in cities including Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. Similar protests have taken place in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The Story Behind The Story: Protests, cultural norms, tipping point, breaking news

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Being listened to is a big deal, for everyone. The protestors in today’s story want to be heard by their government. What do you do when you feel like you are not being listened to?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
The article mentions that the protests have lost some momentum in France. However, the article ends by noting that similar protests have begun internationally. Based on what you read, do you believe that these protests will gain momentum over the next few weeks or peter out? Why do you think so?

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Language Feature: Semi Colon ( ; )
The semi colon is a punctuation mark that is often misused. Here’s how it works. Think of a semi colon just like a period. It is placed at the end of a sentence and before the next. The significance of a semi colon is that it tells the reader that the sentences on either side of it are very closely related. Take a look at this example:

 They wear bright yellow vests; the demonstrations are known as the “yellow vest protests.”

How does the usage of a semi colon alter your comprehension?