Ten people suffered stab wounds and other injuries on Sunday after members of a white nationalist group that planned to rally outside the California state Capitol building in Sacramento clashed with a larger group of counter protesters, authorities said.
California highway patrol officer George Granada said about 30 members of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white-supremacist and anti-immigration group, were gathering for a rally around noon Sunday when they were met by about 400 counter-protesters and a fight broke out.
As people tried to leave the area, smaller fights started, Granada said.
Authorities were investigating what happened, but no arrests have been made.
The Sacramento fire department posted on Twitter that some of the patients had “critical trauma stab wounds”. It was unclear to which group the injured belonged.
According to The Sacramento Bee newspaper, the stabbing spree broke out between some 25 neo-Nazis who had permission to protest on the capitol’s west steps and more than 150 anarchists and “anti-fascist” counterprotesters.
Videos and photos posted online showed the crowd grow violent, with some members clubbing others with what appeared to be bats or lumber, while still others threw rocks.
An injured and bloody black man lying on the sidewalk was attended to by members of the crowd in a video posted online by the Bee. Two white men with blood dripping down their shaved heads were escorted by police in another clip on CNN.
Sacramento fire department spokesman Chris Harvey said nine men and one woman, ranging from 19 to 58 years old, were treated for stab wounds, cuts, scrapes and bruises. Of the injured, two were taken to the hospital with life-threatening stab wounds, Harvey said.
“There was a large number of people carrying sticks and rushing to either get into the melee or see what was going on,” he said.
After the protest, Traditionalist Worker Party leader Matthew Heimbach said in a statement broadcast by CNN that “the anti-fascists used knives, bottles, bricks and chunks of concrete they broke off a construction site”.
“When they attacked, our men defended themselves to be able to drive the attackers off,” he said.