Police clash with protesters trying to block access to the Alternative for Germany's (AfD) gathering in Hannover to vote for a new leader.

German police use water cannon as protesters create a blockade ahead of the congress of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Hanover, Germany. December 2, 2017.
German police use water cannon as protesters create a blockade ahead of the congress of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Hanover, Germany. December 2, 2017. (Reuters)

German police have used water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters, who tried to block access to a nationalist party convention in Hannover.

Clashes between police and protesters on Saturday briefly delayed the opening of the Alternative for Germany's (AfD) gathering.

The party, which won seats in parliament for the first time this year, has a leadership race this weekend to fill a void created when its best-known figure abruptly quit.

AfD co-chair Frauke Petry quit the party in September, accusing it of flirting with far-right extremism.

Petry's departure left her rival, Joerg Meuthen, alone as chairman. Meuthen is vying for re-election Saturday at the party's meeting in Hannover. It's not clear if AfD will decide to have one or two chairs.

Source: AP