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French government to suspend fuel tax hike after weeks of yellow vest unrest

Paris / The French government on Tuesday suspended its plans to hike fuel taxes following a huge public backlash that saw weeks of tense and violent protests as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators clad in fluorescent clothing blockaded roads across the nation and clashed with security forces in the capital. 

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe made the announcement in a televised speech following an emergency cabinet meeting called by President Emmanuel Macron to analyze the response to the so-called “gilet jaunes” (yellow vests) protests.

“I suspend, for a period of six months, these fiscal measures,” Philippe said in an address. “They will not be applied until they have been debated by all concerned parties. During this time, we will identify how these measures can be brought into effect in a fair and effective manner,” he added.

The PM said that all French citizens had the right to protest, as it was one of the pillars of the Republic, but condemned acts of violence that took place during the demonstrations.

“The government does not accept the violence that took place last Saturday against law enforcement, against national monuments, public buildings and businesses,” he added.

The protest movement, named after the high visibility jackets worn by participants and mobilized largely through social media, grew quickly after Macron announced plans to raise taxes on diesel and gasoline, but turned sour in Paris over the weekend as violent clashes erupted with riot police.

Some protesters torched parked vehicles and vandalized shops, and police detained around 600 people nationwide.

French press has billed the unrest as Macron’s greatest political test since taking office in May 2017.

Members of the gilet jaunes had been slated to meet with the PM later on Tuesday but the encounter was looking increasingly doubtful after some protesters threatened to block access to the talks.

Macron was forced to cancel a scheduled two-day visit to Serbia in a bid to find an end to the stand-off.

The fuel tax increase had been due to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.  (December 4, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

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Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)

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Question 1
Según el texto, el primer ministro francés...    
desmiente que los precios de los carburantes hayan sido congelados.
dijo que se seguirá pagando lo mismo por los carburantes, la luz y el gas.
anunció que habrá un incremento del precio de los carburantes.
Question 2
Esas medidas fueron tomadas...    
sin tener en cuenta a los chalecos amarillos.
sin la intención de evitar nuevas protestas.
para evitar que haya más protestas en el país.
Question 3
En sus declaraciones, el primer ministro quitó importancia a esas protestas.    
Para nada.
No se sabe.
Así es.
Question 4
Sobre la inspección de los vehículos se dice que...  
por ahora esta ya no será tan estricta como tenían pensado.
cada vez se harán controles más minuciosos y estrictos.
ya no será necesario que ningún vehículo pase ninguna inspección técnica.
Question 5
El Gobierno francés...    
desmiente que se vaya a congelar el precio de la luz y del gas.
no subirá el precio de la luz y del gas en enero.
aseguró que el mes que viene nadie pagará por el consumo de luz y gas.
Question 6
No habido ninguna víctima mortal a causa de estas protestas.    
¡Imposible saberlo!
Es verdad.
En absoluto.
Question 7
En el vídeo se dice que...    
hubo personas que dañaron el mobiliario urbano durante las protestas.
no se han registrado daños ni destrozos en el mobiliario urbano durante unas protestas.
unas personas destrozaron el mobiliario urbano antes de que comenzaran unas protestas.
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