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Three stabbed at KKK rally in California

At least three people have been stabbed in clashes at a Ku Klux Klan rally in the US state of California. One of the victims was left critically injured after being impaled by the decorative end of a flagpole.

Police said they arrested more than a dozen people after a brawl erupted between Ku Klux Klan members and a crowd of counterprotesters in Anaheim, California, on Saturday.

The white supremacist group had reportedly planned to hold a rally at the site just outside Disneyland.

"As soon as they got out of their vehicle, immediately they were attacked by counterprotesters and this caused a melee down the block," local police spokesman Sergeant Daron Wyatt said.

One witness told AFP that counterprotesters "smashed the side window of the Klan SUV and the front windshield. ... At that point, the crowd got extremely violent."

A group of around 50 protesters chased the Klansmen down the road, throwing sticks and yelling, another witness reported.

One KKK member stabbed a counter-protester with a flagpole in the ensuing violence, Wyatt said, while rival demonstrators stomped on two Klansmen lying on the ground.

The white supremacy group was founded in 1865 after the abolition of slavery in the US South. The city of Anaheim has a long history of KKK activity - in 1924, four out of five members of its city council belonged to the Klan.

Although the extremist group has historically targeted blacks, its members have also carried out attacks on Jews, immigrants, gays and lesbians. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are currently between 5,000 and 8,000 KKK members.

nm/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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