A German state has ordered that Christian crosses should be placed on the entrance of all government buildings.
Bavaria’s conservative government has said the crosses should not be seen as religious symbols, but are meant to reflect the southern German state’s “cultural identity and Christian-western influence.”
Crosses are already compulsory in public schools and courtrooms in predominantly Catholic Bavaria.
The decree will not affect municipal and federal government buildings in Bavaria, according to German news agency dpa.
The governing Christian Social Union — the Bavaria-only wing of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party — is hoping to avoid losing its state majority to Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party on the right whose anti-Muslim campaigns have struck a chord with some German voters.
Bavaria is one of the richer states in Germany and has managed migrant inflows better than other areas.
Despite this, in the most recent election the AfD rose to 12 per cent in the region.
There has also been talk of Bavaria’s own border guard after large numbers of migrants entered the state.
The number of migrants could rise after Germany agreed to take in 10,000 migrants who were selected by the United Nations’ refugee (UNHCR) agency.
Ms Merkel said the refugees would be part of a resettlement programme in Germany but did not indicate where in the country they would settle or from which countries they would come.
Agency contributed to this report