Demonstrators protest in Bayonne, southwestern France, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. Picture: Bob Edme/AP Photo.

Paris - Protests in France against rising fuel prices entered a third day on Monday as some 20,000 demonstrators took part in 350 actions around the country, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

The numbers taking part in the blockages and demonstrations was lower than on Saturday, when about 283,000 heeded calls on social media and took to the streets wearing yellow high-visibility jackets.

One person died on Saturday when a motorist panicked at a roadblock and drove into a protester. There have been about 500 injuries in total since the protests started, according to the ministry spokesman.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe insisted on Sunday evening that the government was determined to go ahead with tax rises on fuel, saying it was taking measures to support those in need and other taxes were being cut.

"We simply want to make sure ... that the tax burden falls more on carbon than on work," Philippe told France 2 television.

Opposition parties ranging from the far-right to hard-left have backed the protests, which appear to be largely leaderless.

But major trade unions have refused to take part, saying they could not join a movement with far-right involvement.

French media reported several apparently racist or homophobic incidents during the hundreds of protests over the weekend.

Philippe said the actions had been good-humoured in many, but not all, cases.

"We saw yesterday, we saw today, some scenes that amounted to anarchy, that amounted to pressure [on those not supporting the protests]," he said.

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dpa