FRENCH prime minister Edouard Philippe, standing firm against a wave of protests which have injured more than 400 people, has said that fuel tax hikes would remain in place.

“The course we set is good and we will keep it,” Philippe said during an interview on TV station France-2. “It’s not when the wind blows that you change course.”

Nearly 300,000 protesters paralysed traffic at more than 2000 strategic sites around France on Saturday in a bid to force the government to lower taxes on diesel fuel and petrol.

A protester was struck and killed on Saturday when a panicked driver faced a roadblock in the eastern Savoie region.

French press reports on Sunday said the driver was charged with manslaughter and released.

At last count, at least 409 people had been injured – 14 seriously, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Sunday on RTL radio. Holdouts refusing to end the protests continued to slow traffic on Sunday.

Blockades were counted at 150 scattered locations on Sunday, Castaner told RTL radio.

The situation throughout the night was “agitated,” Castaner said, with “aggressions, fights, knife-slashing” taking place, including among the protesters.

Overall, 157 people were detained for questioning – double the number reported on Saturday night.