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Investigation Continues Into White Nationalist Rally in Sacramento, California

A police officer grabs a man antagonizing "anti-fascist" protestors after multiple people were stabbed during a clash between neo-Nazis holding a permitted rally and counter-protestors on Sunday at the state capitol in Sacramento, California, United State

Law enforcement authorities are continuing to investigate a white nationalist rally that turned violent Sunday in the western city of Sacramento, California, leaving at least 10 people injured - two of them critically.

California Highway Patrol spokesman George Granada told VOA a "heightened investigation" is underway, as police seek information from witnesses, video and the community at-large.

A rally outside the California State Capitol by a group of about 30 members of a white nationalist group known as the Traditionalist Worker Party became violent when about 400 counter protesters arrived and fights broke out.

Officials say people were treated for cuts, bruises and stab wounds. Videos published online showed dozens of people being punched, kicked and hit with sticks and wooden bats. The two critically injured people suffered stab wounds, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.

The party had been scheduled and the group received a permit to protest for two hours in front of the capitol. Police were aware of the counter protest and deployed more than 100 officers.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which follows hate groups, said the party was created last year as the political arm of the Traditionalist Youth Network, which aims to attract young people to white nationalism.

A recent post on the network's website said members planned the rally in Sacramento to protest globalization and defend their right to free expression.

"We concluded that it was time to use this rally to make a statement about the precarious situation our race is in," the network said. "With our folk on the brink of becoming a disarmed, disengaged and disenfranchised minority, the time to do something was yesterday!"

"This rally was a snapshot of different groups of which the most violent are extremists, the anti-fascists on one hand and the white nationalists on the other," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

Levin described Sunday's violence as "fissures of anxiety and fear" during a period of "great change." Levin expressed concern that the fissures "extend well into the mainstream, even among people of good will."

Sunday's clash comes after a February confrontation in Anaheim, California between Ku Klux Klan members and counter protesters left three people injured.