Tension has been growing in the centre of the German city of Cologne as a far right group began what has been described as an “anti-Islamisation Conference”.
The three-day event, which includes a rally at the site of a mosque under construction, is organised by the “Pro-Cologne” rightist group and is expected to attract support from nationalists across Europe.
But local left wing and civil rights campaigners are planning a series of counter protests.
Cologne’s Mayor said: “The reason for the conference was the building of the large mosque in the city, and the extreme right wing has been whipping up fear. The majority of the city and its politicians don’t want the rally.”
An estimated 333,000 immigrants live in Cologne -the majority of them are Muslim.
Police this weekend are expecting several hundred people at the nationalist protest and up to 10 times as many at the counter-demonstrations.