With the rise of Donald Trump, American politics has become increasingly violent over the past few months. The newest outbreak took place at the California Capitol Sunday afternoon when two neo-Nazi groups rallied together in support of the presumptive Republican nominee, and were faced with protesters.
The Traditionalist Worker Party states on its website, "European-Americans are the descendants of indigenous people of Europe. They are often identified on government forms as Caucasian or 'white'. We believe that European-American identity is under constant attack by members of American institutions such as the state, education, culture and even churches." Some of its beliefs include enforcing the "traditional" family, attacking anti-Christian values, and supporting the enclaves (or separation) of different heritages within the U.S. The California Skinheads, a white supremacist group and a branch of the Traditionalist Worker Party, joined in the rallies. Their website states that the group's mission is to fight "for the rights of whites," and to "secure a future for our people."
"The purpose of the protest was a reaction around the Donald Trump rallies where working-class white Americans were trying to peacefully organize," Matt Parrott, spokesman for the Traditionalist Worker Party told the Sacramento Bee.
But the protest soon became a battle before it even had a chance to begin. The 30 members of the Traditionalist Worker Party that came out for the protest were met by about 400 anti-fascist protesters, according to California Highway Patrol Officer George Granada.
The counter protesters began by chanting "Nazi scum off our streets," and soon the tension between the two parties erupted into violence. Robert Bautista, a bystander, told the Los Angeles Times that the anti-fascists "beat the heck out of a couple guys."
Bottles, rocks, and sticks were thrown and swung by the opposing groups. One hundred police officers swarmed the capitol to regain order. By the conclusion of the violent outburst, five people had been stabbed and multiple people injured. While attending to an African American man who had been stabbed in the leg, medical assistant Andrea Combs, 43, told the Bee, "The Nazis are after the black people. I saw the second stabbing victim drop, too."
People from both sides of the riots were quick to put the blame on each other for starting the violence. Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers told the Bee that "regardless of the message, it’s the skinheads’ First Amendment right to free speech."
Meanwhile, Yvette Felarca, a counter protester, told CBS News that the anti-fascists achieved their goal. "[We] came out to shut them down and we succeeded in doing that." With the election nearly four months away, political rallies and riots will probably only get more violent as tensions increase about the future of the country.