More than 7,000 opponents of Germany’s policy towards asylum seekers marched in the eastern city on Monday evening.
Five hundred police officers halted a counter-demonstration by around 1,000 people, closing off key streets to keep the groups separate and avoid potentially violent clashes.
The situation was “markedly more heated than in recent weeks,” a police spokesman told news agency dpa.
Dresden has seen successive demonstrations over what participants regard as excessive influence of Islam in Germany and Europe. Marches were called by the so-called Pegida Alliance, an abbreviation of the German for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West”.
The issues of asylum seekers and Islam have fuelled tensions in a number of cities this autumn. Numerous demonstrations took place against what participants regard as excessive influence on society by Islamic communities.
Some protests specifically targetted the Salafist branch of Islam and bids by some members to introduce aspects of Sharia law in German cities.