Hundreds of anti-racism demonstrators gathered to support the Black Lives Matter movement, with organisers promising that social distancing would be adhered to.
Tensions flared when a group of counter-protestors also congregated and began to disrupt speeches in Bolton, Lancs.
Black Lives Matter demonstrators "took a knee" - a symbolic act to remember the life of George Floyd, who died in the USA when a police officer pressed a knee onto his neck for several minutes.
But they were heckled by a crowd of counter-protestors, many waving Union flags and wearing England football shirts.
Calls for equality and a better future for all during a speech were booed by counter-protesters who also chanted "white lives matter " and "all lives matter".
Chants of ‘no justice, no peace’ were met by a chorus of the national anthem and chants of "Eng-er-land" as tensions rose.
Pictures from the scene show a tense stand off as the groups came together, separated by police.
Counter-protestors can be seen giving flicking the Vs at anti-racism demonstrators.
But officers had to call for back-up as sporadic skirmishes broke out.
Tensions had been high since the march started at 1pm.
Two metre high fencing was erected around the war memorial in the town centre ahead of the demonstration to protect it from vandalism.