More than 12,000 members of Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian minority community have taken to the streets in protest at a new language law introduced on Tuesday.

The new law limits the use of minority languages. Anyone speaking Hungarian in public buildings, for example, could be fined.

The Slovak government says the legislation does not breach European standards, but the Hungarian minority in Slovakia and the government of neighbouring Hungary call it discriminatory. Bratislava accuses Hungary of promoting its national culture in Slovakia.

The leaders of the two countries are due to meet next week in an attempt to ease tensions. More than half-a-million ethnic Hungarians live in Slovakia.