LOS ANGELES: Three men were stabbed Saturday, one critically, after a small group of Ku Klux Klan members staging an anti-immigrant rally in Southern California clashed with a larger gathering of counter-?protesters, police said.
The violence erupted shortly after noon in Anaheim’s Pearson Park, about 3 miles from Disneyland. The KKK had advertised plans for the rally and about 30 anti-Klan protesters showed up beforehand, said Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt said. When the Klan members arrived they were attacked as they exited their cars, he said.
One Klansman stabbed a counter-protester with the decorative end of a flag pole, Wyatt said. That stabbing set off a vicious brawl in which Klan members and protesters fought across an entire city block.
Witness video shows Klansmen dressed in black shirts decorated with the Klan cross and Confederate flag patches being surrounded by counter-protesters as they arrive at the park. A KKK member appears to hold out a flag to fend off the crowd.
“I got stabbed,” a man is then heard screaming, lifting his T-shirt to show a wound to his stomach.
One Anaheim police sergeant saw another Klan member with a knife in his hand and a counter-protester bleeding nearby, Wyatt said. The sergeant took the KKK member into custody. Meanwhile, counter-protesters stomped on two KKK members, he said.
“All hell broke loose,” said Brian Levin, director of California State University, San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, who witnessed the violence. “I thought they were going to stomp these Klansmen to death.”
Wyatt said police were present when the violence erupted but did not say how many officers were deployed.
In total, 13 people were detained; six Klan members in connection with three stabbings and seven counter-protesters suspected of assaulting KKK members.