A far-right rally at the state Capitol erupted into chaos today, as counter-protesters and marchers clashed violently. The LA Times reports that a group of neo-Nazis planned the event several weeks in advance, and that at least five people have been stabbed. The Sacramento Fire Department describes the resulting violence as a "mass casualty incident," and notes that some of the injuries are critical.
Frances Wang, a reporter with ABC 10, was on the scene and captured dramatic video of members of the Traditionalist Worker Party — a group which the Times identifies as neo-Nazi — clashing with black-clad counter-protesters. The disturbing videos show people being beaten and kicked, some from behind, as police on horseback and foot struggle to restore order.
In response to the violence, ABC 10 reports that the original rally organized by the Traditionalist Worker Party has been canceled. On their website, the group describes its purpose as "building a nationwide network of grassroots local leaders who will lead Americans toward a peaceful and prosperous future free from economic exploitation, federal tyranny, and anti-Christian degeneracy.”
The identity of the stabbing victims — whether neo-Nazi or counter-protester — remains unclear, although one witness tweeted out that three of the four people he saw stabbed were African American.
This incident is reminiscent of a far-right rally and counter-protest in Anaheim in February. In that instance, members of the KKK fought with counter-protesters, and at least three people were allegedly stabbed by an alleged San Francisco Klansman in the resulting melee.
Police remain on the scene at the Capitol building, and no arrests have been made at this time.
Update: According to the Sacramento Fire Department, seven people have been transported to the hospital after sustaining injuries. The Capitol is reportedly now clear of all protesters. ABC 10 now reports that two of the injured have life-threatening injuries.
Chris Harvey of SFD described the scene to the LA Times as "quite a bit of a melee."
Although not in attendance today, the chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party, Matthew Heimbach, told the paper that "We will be back. This is a victory for us because more of them walked away injured."