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KKK protest points to long history in SoCal




A group of protesters dressed in black attacked a group of Ku Klux Klan members as they arrived to an Anaheim park to rally.
A group of protesters dressed in black attacked a group of Ku Klux Klan members as they arrived to an Anaheim park to rally.
Madelaine Valdes-Vasquez

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Five Ku Klux Klan members arrested by Anaheim police have now been released, according to officials. The KKK members clashed with counter protesters Saturday in Anaheim. The confrontation quickly grew violent and three people were stabbed, one critically.

The Anaheim Police Department says 12 people were arrested. Seven others, who were seen beating the Klan members and attacking them with wooden posts, remain in custody.

"At that point I wasn't have a deep, philosophical, introspective thought," said Brian Levin, a professor at Cal-State University, San Bernardino who filmed the incident on his cell phone and rushed to a Klan member who had fallen to the ground and was getting hit by counter protesters.

"I put myself over him...telling people to get away, do not hit him," said Levin, who added that although he strongly disagrees with the group's views and stances, did not want to see him hurt.

The incident points to a long and troubled history of the KKK presence in the area, said Joanna Mendelson, California Investigative researcher & Director of Special Projects at the Anti-Defamation League.

"Even if there's a handful of members, even if their voice is small, it certainly sends ripple effects in the community ," she said. "People are outraged, people are angry, people are upset to know that these groups and this ideology can flourish in today's time."

A coalition of community groups and religious leaders, including the Mexican Consulate and the Orange County chapter of the NAACP, say they are planning a candlelight vigil tonight at 6pm in Anaheim.

RELATED: Update: 3 stabbed at KKK gathering in Anaheim; police defends response