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German police, protesters in standoff near ECB

German police officers block anti capitalism Blockupy protesters with several thousand people taking part in Frankfurt, Saturday, June 1, 2013. Crowds of anti-capitalist protesters blocked streets leading to the European Central Bank in Germany's financial capital to protest its role in pushing for austerity cutbacks as a way to fight the continent's debt crisis. (AP Photo/dpa, Fredrik von Erichsen)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- German police and thousands of anti-capitalist protesters are engaged in a standoff near the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

Police in Germany's financial capital say about 7,000 protesters are refusing to move after officers encircled a group of about 200-300 people for refusing to remove face masks.

Organizers of the "Blockupy" protest say up to 20,000 people have come to demonstrate against the ECB's role in pushing European countries to cut government spending as part of efforts to reduce public debt.

Frankfurt police spokesman Erich Mueller said Saturday that officers had used pepper spray and batons to stop some protesters from breaking through police lines.

He says there have been no arrests or reported injuries so far.