Anti-racist rally outside Germany's neo-Nazi murder trial

Dozens of anti-racist demonstrators rallied outside a German courthouse where the biggest neo-Nazi murder trial in the country's history was to open Monday.

Several organisations fighting the far right gathered for the protest, where activists hoisted banners with slogans such as "Against Nazi terror, state and everyday racism" and urged German authorities to take a harder line against extremists and their crimes.

Two women jostled with security forces and smashed a bottle outside the barricades, police said, amid a massive turnout of international media for the trial in the southern city of Munich.

Beate Zschaepe, 38, the last surviving member of a far-right trio calling itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU), is charged with complicity in the murders of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek immigrant and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Four alleged accomplices will join her in the dock for the trial secured with a major police presence.

Zschaepe is also accused of involvement in 15 armed robberies, arson and attempted murder in two bomb attacks.

The investigation was bungled by German authorities, who for years suspected Turkish mafia groups were behind the killings. They later admitted that files relevant to the case were shredded.

In custody since turning herself in on November 8, 2011, Zschaepe arrived at the court from her cell in solitary confinement at Sadelheim prison, one of Germany's largest.

She was led into the courtroom wearing a black blazer, a pressed white shirt and large hoop earrings. She stood with her back to television cameras waiting for the proceedings to begin.