Multiple people stabbed at Sacramento far-right rally & counter-protest (VIDEO)
Final from State Capitol incident: 10 patients, 9 M, 1 F, 19 to 58 age range. Multiple stab and laceration wounds. pic.twitter.com/r3aSvrGH4H— SacFire PIO (@SacFirePIO) June 27, 2016
The Traditionalist Worker Party members, often described as a neo-Nazi group who have links to white supremacy and far-right causes, showed up for a planned rally at the Sacramento Capitol, where they were met by activists from Antifa Sacramento counter-protest, local media report.
The rally was organized by the TWP to “protest against globalization and in defense of the right to free expression” and was reportedly also attended by members of the Golden State Skinheads, Blood & Honor, National Socialist Movement and Ku Klux Klan.
Mass casualty incident, multiple stabbing victims at State Capitol during rally. SFD crews triaging patients now. pic.twitter.com/0jGU3hpMXs— SacFire PIO (@SacFirePIO) June 26, 2016
Sacramento Fire Department (SFD) said a total of seven patients were transported to nearby hospitals from the site of the incident, some of them in critical condition from stab wounds. They however didn’t specify which group the injured were from.
No arrests were made according to a local ABC 10 network reporter, who captured some of the shocking violence that erupted between the groups, and said police used tear gas to disperse the rival protesters.
Estevan Hernandez of the ANSWER coalition, who participated in the counter-protest, says he witnessed the moment most violent clashes broke out and claims they were “attacked by fascists.”
“Police were trying very, very hard to get the fascist right-wingers to have their demonstration. So there was a police line preventing our forces, anti-racist, from pushing back on the fascists. So, every now and then, at the corner of the capitol building different fascist would just pop-out… trying to get on the capitol grounds,” Hernandez told RT. “And when they came up to the protest line of the protesters, our movement, they started violently attacking our supporters. One of the people who came with us today was knocked on the ground, they kicked him repeatedly, and some people were stabbed, in fact.”
RT also spoke to a representative of the Traditionalist Worker’s Party, which has been accused of having initiated violence in Sacramento, to hear their side of the story. Party Chairman Matthew Heimbach rejected the accusations as “ridiculous” and claimed that his group “was outnumbered by eight to one” with the counter-protestors who “had baseball bats, knives, bottles.”
“We were the ones who were attacked by people who had weapons and saying that they were going to kill us. This is attempted and premeditated murder…” he said adding that the counter-protestors were shouting “kill the Nazis.”
Heimbach said that the members of his party acted entirely out of self-defense: “Even when we were outnumbered …we stood our ground and we won.”
“If you actually just look at the video even the leftists put up, in many cases we disarm them. Man for man, one of ours is easily worth 10 of theirs,” he told RT. “Even though we were severely outnumbered our men with a drive of nationalism, physical training and courage and organization were able to stand together and…to defeat our foes.”
Traditionalist Worker Party (TradWorker) is a relatively new political wing of Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Youth Network (TradYouth), which stands for “faith, family and folk.”
TradWorker says the group aims to lead Americans toward a future “free from economic exploitation, federal tyranny, and anti-Christian degeneracy.”
“We will help you, your family, and your town while the other parties are fighting a thousand miles from home over how to help (or bomb) people ten thousand miles from home,” it says.
The group was listed as one of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Advanced White Supremacy’ hate groups, active in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
A counter-protest was organised by Sacramento Antifa, an anti-fascist movement whose objective is to “force the Nazis off our streets and to send a strong message that they are not welcome in society and especially Sacramento.”
The incident is just the latest in a rising number of clashes between the far-left and far-right in the United States. In February, there were violent clashes during a planned Ku Klux Klan rally that also took place in California.
Brian Levin, director of the center for the study of hate and extremism, told RT he believes the clashes are the result of public disillusionment in the United States.
“When people feel that the United States is heading the wrong direction, and they’re confused about what’s going on with their place in the world, these messages from extremists can direct and amplify these fears into things that become really irrational,” said Levin.
“But make no mistake, on the left here in the United States there is a fringe that looks for violent confrontations whenever hate groups try to rally, particularly in Metropolitan areas,” he added.
Political analyst Max Abrahms says this type of violence has a history in the US, dating back to slavery and resistance in the South, only now it involves “today’s anti-Muslim, Islamophobia, xenophobia, but we’re in a different stage now insofar that it’s linked to a major party candidate.
“I have to think that this neo-Nazi turnout was probably more likely to be pro-Trump, and had he not been running, then maybe there wouldn’t be this rally in the first place,” said Abrahms. “One could raise real questions about whether they should have the liberty to protest because it’s impossible to separate their ideology from their violent tactics."