Police used pepper spray and a water cannon to stop protesters, some of whom were masked, from getting onto the grounds of the conference.
Some 400 protesters were detained after clashes erupted between police, supporters of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and left wing demonstrators outside the site of the AfD annual conference in the German city of Stuttgart on Saturday.
Hundreds of demonstrators temporarily blocked access roads to the conference location, by setting car tires on fire and forming human chains, police spokesman Lambert Maute said.
The violence began at around 6 a.m. local time and clashes continued for four hours, forcing the AfD’s two-day congress – which was expected to draw up a party platform encompassing its immigration views – to open late.
“Police detained around 400 violent protesters who threw stones at officers and attacked them with fireworks,” Maute said, adding there were more than 1,000 security forces and about the same number of demonstrators overall.
The police used pepper spray and a water cannon to stop protesters, some of whom were masked, from getting onto the grounds of the conference, but said that some demonstrators still managed to assault several party members.
“There were no injuries reported, only some minor incidents of eye irritation due to the pepper spray,” the spokesman said.
One placard from demonstrators read “Your hate campaign pisses us off” while another said “FCK AFD”. The demonstrators mostly wore black clothes and some of them had masks, the police spokesman said.