ROME Hundreds took to the streets in the northern Italian city of Genoa to protest against a meeting of European far-right political groups on Saturday, and tension simmered at times with police.
Demonstrators gathered in a square to the east of the coastal city ahead of the meeting, which was organised by hardline Italian group Forza Nuova and went ahead as planned.
They waved banners reading, "Genoa anti-fascist, free city, defend our country." Local media said around 1,000 protesters turned out.
The meeting was attended by Udo Voigt, a European lawmaker from Germany's far-right National Democratic Party, former leader of the British National Party Nick Griffin, and representatives of Romanian and French far-right movements.
Genoa Mayor Marco Doria joined the protest march.
"The presence of figures in Genoa that call into question ... democratic values, anti-fascist values, tolerance, merits a response," Doria told local newspaper Il Secolo XIX.
The largely peaceful demonstration was punctuated by isolated moments of tension. Some protesters brawled amongst themselves and others threw smoke bombs at police.
Video footage showed protesters and police squaring up to each other in the street near where the meeting was held. A few blows were exchanged, but no injuries were reported.
(Writing by Isla Binnie; Editing by Clelia Oziel)