And I do mean melee. This is hand-to-hand combat, as the first clip below vividly captures. You’ll see thuggery at American protests sometimes, like when anti-Trump lefties egged and sucker-punched some of his fans after a rally in San Jose earlier this month, but watch below at 0:14 as a protester rushes in from the left, squares up, and breaks a board over the back of a guy’s head, dropping him cold. It looks like a fascist/communist street battle from the 30s. Maybe we’ve now reached that stage of Weimar America.
Reason has a nice write-up of what happened. The Traditionalist Workers Party, a white supremacist group, held a rally at the state capitol in Sacramento. “Anti-fascist” leftists showed up spoiling for a fight. They outnumbered the Nazis and, as best as anyone can tell, they were the ones who instigated the violence:
The first sign of violence came just before 11 a.m., when KCRA reporter Mike Luery and his cameraman were caught in an altercation with anti-fascist protesters shouting “no cameras” and demanding they leave.
“We’re not causing the problem; your belligerent people are causing the problem,” Luery told the crowd before someone knocked his mike from his hand and others tried to grab the camera. The pair were eventually shoved out of the crowd and crossed the street away from the protesters.
Damion Osborne, a Sacramento community activist who came out to join the anti-Nazi protesters Sunday, said more trouble erupted about 11:20 a.m. when a neo-Nazi with a stick, a sign and shirt with a swastika and the words “White Power” approached the crowd.
“He dodged a bottle and then a rock, then someone broke a rock over his back,” said Osborne, 26.
According to Osborne, the crowd tried to take the Nazi’s sign. When he wouldn’t give it up, a girl punched him. One of the leaders of the highly fascistic “anti-fascist” group crowed afterward about how successful her side had been in using violence to suppress free speech: “They came out of this in worse shape than us… Not just physically, but politically, they lost. The Nazis did not recruit anyone new today, and our side did.” (The leader of the white supremacist counter-crowed, “we got six of them.”) The anti-fascist mobilization had even been promoted as a “Shut Down Nazi Rally” event rather than a simple protest. Result, per the LA Times: No fewer than seven people were stabbed.
And yes, as with nearly every story in modern America, there’s a Trump nexus here. The white supremacists organized their rally, said their spokesman, “as a reaction around the Donald Trump rallies where working-class white Americans were trying to peacefully organize, not on racial terms.” It was a response to leftist intimidation after Trump’s San Jose event; they saw an opportunity to promote their group by standing up for the rights of Trump supporters and anti-fascists couldn’t resist trying to intimidate them too. They might need the National Guard at the next Trump rally in California, assuming there is one. Three clips here, two of the melee and the third to give you a sense of how tense the scene was even with cops on horseback in the mix, trying to keep order.
— Frances Wang (@ABC10Frances) June 26, 2016