Police in Anaheim, Ca. released five Ku Klux Klan members who were attacked at a rally Saturday, saying the Klan members had a right to defend themselves, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Six men, dressed in shirts with Klan and Confederate flag insignia, arrived Saturday in Anaheim to display “White Lives Matter” signs. Ten to 20 anti-Klan protesters also showed up, and started violently attacking the Klansmen, who responded by stabbing three protesters.
“Regardless of an individual or groups’ beliefs or ideologies, they are entitled to live without the fear of physical violence and have the right, under the law, to defend themselves when attacked,” the police wrote in a statement.
Thirteen people were arrested in total, according to the Times.
Police stated that the protesters had, “the intent of perpetrating violence,” while an eyewitness added he was “afraid for their lives.” That same eyewitness claimed, “The counter-protesters were so angry, they would have torn these folks limb from limb.”
According to the police, the Klan members were repeatedly attacked by the protesters and fought back using knives and the end of flagpoles, resulting in the three stabbings.
The five now released KKK members were arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon; seven of the protesters were arrested for suspicion of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.
“Though the Klan members were released, prosecutors will review the case and decide whether to file criminal charges,” the Times reports.
KKK “imperial wizard” Chris Barker told the Associated Press that the KKK demonstration was intended to be peaceful. He then remarked that despite the intended peace, “If we’re attacked, we will attack back.”