Police say a heated clash between left-wing and right-wing groups at the Frankfurt Book Fair has resulted in three arrests.

Frankfurt police said the confrontation happened late Saturday (14 October) at an event organised by German 'new right' publishing company Antaois involved about 400 people.

Police said Sunday that three people were temporarily detained, but didn't specify to which group they belonged. They urged witnesses to come forward.

A spokeswoman for annual book fair denied reports of a brawl, but said there had been "unpleasant comments" from right-wing activists.

Book Fair spokeswoman Katja Boehne says organisers haven't decided what steps to take to prevent such incidents in future.

In a statement, the organisers the world's largest publishing event added they condemned the "targeted provocations" between "left- and right-wing groupings".

"The Frankfurt book fair thrives on diversity of opinion and is a space for free dialogue," it added.

Antaois is considered part of the intellectual vanguard of nationalist movements in German-speaking countries.

One of those in attendance at the book fair was far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Bjorn Höcke, who was promoting his book Mit Linken leben (Living with Leftists).

According to Deutsche Welle, protesters began shouting "Nazis out" towards Höcke's supporters, who responded with "Everybody hates the Antifa", referring to the left-wing anti-fascist collective.