Multiple people were stabbed and viciously beaten during a brutal clash between white supremacists and protesters just outside the Capitol building in Sacramento, California.
Members of the neo-Nazi party Traditionalist Workers Party, dressed in black, began arriving a little before noon on Sunday for their planned March and ran into hundreds of protesters bearing signs stating “The Bay Don’t Play” and “Nazi Scum.”
Crowds erupt into chorus - "Nazi go home." pic.twitter.com/WYh3bRcdMC— Jazmine Ulloa (@jazmineulloa) June 26, 2016
Violence erupted almost immediately and by the time the riot ended 20 minutes later, at least 10 people had been brutally stabbed, nine were hospitalized for injuries and many others suffered from minor bruises and cuts.
"They attacked each other without hesitation," said counter-protester Chandra Zafra, 50, a member of the Mexica Movement nonprofit. "It was a war zone."
“I don't think there was any verbal exchange, just full on fight,” said California Highway Patrol Officer George Granada.
“The goal today was to shut down the Nazi’s recruitment rally,” Yvette Felerca, an organizer of BAMN, a coalition that fights for immigrant rights, said. “And I wanna congratulate anyone who came out today, because we succeeded in doing that. We defeated them and their efforts. They had to run in hiding. Running from and hiding behind the police and then running away altogether.”
The riot spilled onto nearby park areas where bloodied people were seen getting punched, kicked and beaten with bats. Despite the presence of armored police, people were unafraid to use mace and flagpoles to attack each other.
Elias Odom, 17, came to take photos as an amateur photog and witnessed the clash - "It was chaos." pic.twitter.com/ceqHv0PIeh— Jazmine Ulloa (@jazmineulloa) June 26, 2016
Police also reported they were approached by a person who found a loaded handgun on the Capitol grounds. The firearm was turned over to the police and will be used as evidence.
Police were forced to use tear gas and pepper spray on the demonstrators to break them up, but were unable to do so before serious injuries could be prevented.
The white supremacist group's vice chairman, Matt Parrott, who was not present at the Sacramento rally, said it was a peaceful march and blamed “leftist radicals” for instigating the violence.
The party’s white nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach said only one of the injured people belonged to his group, which organized the original rally.
Heimbach is a Donald Trump supporter and is the one responsible for pushing and throwing out a black girl at a Trump rally.
Things getting a little heated at the Trump rally pic.twitter.com/X974Ih3tZI— Carly Price (@CarlyPrice18) March 1, 2016
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group that tracks down hate groups, recently labeled the Traditionalist Workers Party as an “identitarian-inspired umbrella group that aims to indoctrinate high school and college students into white nationalism.”