Far-right protesters hurled bricks and smoke bombs on Saturday as riot police kept them apart from anti-racism demonstrators.

Police said they had made five arrests during the protests in the city of Bradford and a Reuters photographer saw two demonstrators slightly injured with cuts.

The government banned planned marches by the English Defence League (EDL), which stages demonstrations against radical Islam, and the rival Unite Against Fascism group in Bradford -- the scene in 2001 of Britain's worst race riots in 20 years.

But demonstrations which did not involve a march were permitted.

Several hundred EDL supporters arrived on buses from cities around the north of England. They were kept away from a smaller group of anti-racism demonstrators by a large force of police, some with riot shields and helmets.

The two groups of demonstrators hurled abuse at each other and some on the EDL side threw plastic bottles and smoke bombs.

At one point, a group of about 30 from the EDL demonstration got into a nearby area of waste ground where they threw half-bricks at police before they were dispersed.

EDL supporters were later escorted to buses to leave Bradford.

Several previous confrontations between EDL and Unite Against Fascism supporters have led to violence.

In April, police arrested nine people after far-right demonstrators clashed with officers during a protest against a planned mosque in Dudley in the English Midlands.

The EDL sprang up last year after a small group from a local Muslim community staged a protest in the town of Luton against British troops returning from Iraq.

(Reporting by Phil Noble, Adrian Croft)