An encounter between the Traditionalist Worker Party and counter-protesters turned violent on Sunday, near the California’s State Capitol in Sacramento. At least ten people were attacked with knives. Two of them are critically injured, said the Fire Department.
The event started when 400 counter-protesters sieged 30 demonstrators of the Traditionalist Worker Party, California Highway Patrol Officer George Granada told The Associated Press (AP). Some people tried to scatter the encounter, while others involved themselves in a fight.
Two protesters suffered from stab injuries. They are being cared in a local hospital and will probably survive; officials told AP. The Capitol was placed on lockdown when the unprecedented situation occurred. The Sacramento Police has not made any arrest yet.
Video published on Social Media showed members of a white nationalist group and counter-protesters. Chris Harvey, the spokesman for the Sacramento Fire Department, said that nine people between ages 19 to 58 were injured, including men and women.
It is not clear which band started the fight, but all victims were involved in the demonstration. The Traditionalist Workers Party had received an official permission for a two-hour protest in front of the Capitol.
More than 100 officers were protecting the area since police had been previously informed about counter-protest movements. The Southern Poverty Law Center told AP the Traditionalist Worker Party is a group of college students, who defend white nationalism.
Traditionalist Worker Party statement on June 26 Event: https://t.co/DpbKIJoghf
— EricStriker (@Pr0tocolsrReal) June 27, 2016
Traditionalist Worker Party: “Street fighters are vital to protecting our White American families”
The Neo-Nazi group said in a statement that protest was successful because they “won the physical fight.” The group added that counter-protesters outnumbered it, and remarked the importance of “street fighters,” for defending White American families.
“Our Golden State comrades went up against over ten-to-one odds and won! Regretfully, one of our men was injured and is currently in the hospital, though at least five of the Antifa who instigated the violence with their cowardly tactics and improvised weaponry were sent to the hospital,”
The group is currently asking for donations to cover medical and legal expenses of the injured protesters.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) June 26, 2016
Sacramento Police: Officers were not obligated to ensure the safety of the Traditionalist Worker Party
Supporters of the Traditionalist Worker Party said that police was not effective at preventing violent acts. Cres Vellucci, an observer with the National Lawyers Guild, told AP that Sacramento Police officers should have separated the two groups.
Vellucci added that police’s response to stop violence and request medical help was “slow.” People who commented on the white nationalist’s statement said that conservative events are “deliberately under-protected by the police in California.”
Officer George Granada of the California Highway Patrol said police was not obligated to make sure that members of the nationalist group arrived safe to the Capitol, according to AP. A similar event took place in March, when Ku Klux Klan members and counter-protesters-involved in a fight, in Anaheim, California. Three people were injured with knives at that time.
Why can't the police stop these monkeys? pic.twitter.com/jk8XianDRF
— Viva Europa (@realVivaEuropa) June 27, 2016
Source: The Associated Press