Demonstators sought to blockade the inauguration ceremony for the European Central Bank's new headquarters in a protest over the bank's role in supervising efforts to restrain spending and reduce debt in financiallly troubled countries such as Greece were targeted by German police.
A police car was set on fire, windows were smashed and demonstrators threw stones at police in Frankfurt early on Wednesday ahead of a massive anti-austerity rally marking the opening of the European Central Bank's new headquarters.
An AFP journalist at the scene said the windows had been smashed at the citizens' centre and burning tyres were in the road nearby.
Convoys of police vans sped through the streets of the financial capital with sirens blaring since the early hours and helicopters could be heard hovering overhead.
While police expect most of the protesters to remain peaceful, water cannon and helicopters are standing by in case the situation turns violent.
"It is one of the biggest deployments ever in the city," a police spokeswoman told AFP, adding that there was a "high possibility" that violence could erupt.
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