German riot police deployed for anti-Islam AfD conference in Cologne
Thousands of police officers have been deployed in Cologne, Germany, as thousands of left-wing protesters gather to demonstrate against an Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party conference.
The AfD, a populist right-wing and anti-Islam party, will seek to choose a new co-leader to take it up to a general election later this year.
Police have deployed 4,000 officers.
Two have been injured in clashes, one while escorting party members.
They have described the mood as tense and there are several reports of arrests. One man was detained after a police officer was hurt.
Some 10,000 protesters are there already, in German. Many shops are closed for the day, people in Cologne have tweeted, and police helicopters are overhead.
About 100 people tried to break through a police line on the opposite side of the Rhine river from the conference venue, Die VElt newspaper reports. Outside the hotel, 50-60 people blocked access using a chain of bicycles. Police broke this up, leading to skirmishes with protesters.
It is not the first time an AfD conference has attracted demonstrations. When the party met last year in Stuttgart,hundreds of protesters were detained.
Police escorted 13 couples through nearby streets to their wedding ceremonies in the city hall, local news site RP Online reports. One told the site in german: “We’re getting straight out and celebrating in Bochum [another city in the region].”