SACRAMENTO — There were signs that the protest turned melee at the Capitol on Sunday afternoon would end violently, most notably the ideologies and patterns of behavior of the various groups that were known to be going days in advance.
On the surface, it was a planned protest/counter-protest between white supremacist groups such as the Golden State Skinheads and the Traditionalist Worker Party, juxtaposed with those who oppose their message. The latter group includes Black Bloc, Anti-Fascist Action and By Any Means Necessary.
What resulted was chaos. But it’s clear both sides expected violence and planned for it.
“I would use the word force. Neo Nazis and other fascists don’t back down, they can, and they ought to be made to back down,” said Scott Green, a supporter of the Anti-Fascist Action group, also known as Antifa. Green, who used an alias while speaking to FOX40 for safety, did not attend the protest, but he says he has been present at similar ones that ended violently.
Antifa itself isn’t new, but is an offshoot of the group Anti-Racist Action, which started in the late ’80s in Minneapolis.
At its core, it advocates confronting groups they consider fascist and fighting back with force.
“It is simply a militant movement against fascism in any and all of its forms whenever it manifests,” said Green, who added groups like Antifa often clash physically with white nationalists.
In fact, this support page started to solicit donations to pay medical costs for those injured more than two weeks before Sunday’s confrontation.
Green says though they use force — they don’t consider themselves intolerant.
“It’s a fallacy to think that if we’re not tolerating someone else’s hatred and bigotry than we’re equally intolerant,” Green said.
On the other side of the protest were the Golden State Skinheads and the Traditionalist Worker Party.
Neither group shied away from the aftermath of the event or the lead up to it.
TWP’s current leader, Matthew Heimbach, posted an image on social media before the melee showing a gathering of people, presumably TWP members, with shields in advance of violence. Their beliefs are clear — white Americans are under attack by cultural, religious and political diversity.
After the clash, the group celebrated its own members and their actions at the protest through endearing social media posts and pictures.
One describing the event said, “Odds were against them, yet they stood strong.”
Another post featured a song written about the clash in Sacramento, with the message that the songwriter “celebrates our victory in Sacramento.”