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Police, demonstrators injured in scuffles outside far-right NPD conference

Mass arrests have been made in the southern town of Weinheim after protesters violently clashed with riot police. Demonstrators had tried to break barriers erected to protect a far-right political party conference.

German riot police arrested 125 people - many from leftist activist movements - as the National Democratic Party (NPD) opened its party conference in the small town of Weinheim on Saturday.

Police said activists tried to force their way through barricades erected in the town to protect the party conference. A riot ensued with rock-throwing protesters exchanging blows with baton-wielding police amidst clouds of pepper spray.

But by noon, the situation had calmed down. Thousands of people demonstrated peacefully against the NPD under the banner, "Weinheim is colorful."

It is the third time that the NPD has held its conference Weinheim, a town of about 44,000 people. The local government has in the past tried unsuccessfully to prevent the party from holding its party conference there.

Gegendemonstranten beim NPD-Bundesparteitag in Weinheim

Authorities said that riot police arrested 125 people after activists tried to overpower police barricades in the city

Pepper spray, batons and rocks

The NPD is a far-right political party that critics accuse of xenophobia. It has managed to avoid being banned by German officials despite its reputation for links to outlawed fringe groups.

jar/gsw (dpa, SWR)

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