Violent incidents have erupted in Frankfurt ahead of a huge anti-austerity rally against the European Central Bank, on the day its new headquarters are being inaugurated in the German city.
A massive security operation is underway with at least 10,000 protesters expected from across Europe.
Among those attending, some 900 activists have travelled on a specially chartered train from Berlin. Some 60 buses were coming from 39 European cities.
But already cars have been burned, windows smashed and stones thrown at police. Injuries are being reported.
Police say some 350 people have been detained.
Responding to a call from the anti-capitalist collective Blockupy, activists have gathered on the day of the grand opening of the new 1.3 billion euro ECB buildling, determined to spoil the party.
“The main reason for the protest is that the ECB is in the troika and the troika is responsible for the austerity policies that have pushed so many into poverty,” said Ulrich Wilken, one of the rally’s organisers
Peaceful protests are planned against austerity policies demonstrators blame on the powerful institution but events so far will heighten fears that the disruption could end in serious violence.
Thousands of police from across Germany have been mobilised, in what is being described as one of the biggest police deployments ever organised in Frankfurt.