Dueling protests over New York mosque near Ground Zero

Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday here in dueling protests over building a mosque close to Ground Zero, triggering noisy sidewalk arguments closely watched by a tight police guard.

About 1,500 people first marched in favor of a Muslim organization’s right to build a Muslim community center two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood until it was destroyed in the 9/11 terror strikes.

But later about 2,000 people gathered close by for a separate rally against the mosque, which was taking place just hours after the solemn ceremonies to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

They were addressed by Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders who flew from The Netherlands to urge the crowd: “This is where we have draw the line.”