At least 1,000 people took part in a three-hour anti-austerity protest at the European Central Bank (ECB) building in the German city of Frankfurt on Friday.

A small group of masked protesters attempted to break the police cordon around the ECB offices, while others blocked several streets leading to the building. Police used pepper spray to stop them.

The protest was organised by the so-called Blockupy movement against cuts in government spending in the Eurozone. A similar protest was due to take place at Frankfurt airport.

“We have blockaded the ECB,” a spokeswoman said. “The business operations of the ECB have been successfully interrupted.” The group said 3,000 of its supporters were gathered in Frankfurt.

Police, however, put the number at 1,000 to 1,400.

“Apart from a few isolated actions, it has all been peaceful,” a police spokesman said.

The ECB made extensive preparations to keep operations running normally during the protest.

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