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​Police: 3 stabbed at California KKK gathering

First responders treat an injured person at a Ku Klux Klan rally and counter-protest Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 in Anaheim, California.

CBS Los Angeles

Last Updated Feb 27, 2016 5:58 PM EST

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Police said three people were stabbed and more than a dozen arrested Saturday at a Ku Klux Klan gathering in Southern California.

An altercation between a group of KKK members and counter-protesters erupted at a Klan rally in Anaheim, with both sides involved in violent attacks, Sgt. Daron Wyatt with the Anaheim Police Department told The Associated Press.

Three people, all believed to be counter-protesters, were stabbed, with one of them in critical condition.

A police spokesman said six of those arrested are Klan supporters and seven counter-protesters.

Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times the Klansmen used the point of a flagpole as a weapon while fighting with counter-protesters.

A Klansman in handcuffs could be heard telling a police officer that he "stabbed him in self-defense," the Times reported.

Wyatt said a Klan member was stomped on by counter-protesters during another altercation.

No information on the other victims' conditions was immediately available. Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

The KKK has a long history in Southern California, with Klansmen holding elected office in Anaheim in the 1920s. Nationwide, the number of active KKK groups increased to 190 in 2015 after falling in 2013 and 2014, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In January 2015, packets containing fliers condemning Martin Luther King, Jr. and supporting the Ku Klux Klan were left in the driveways of about 40 homes in Santa Ana, about eight miles south of Anaheim. The baggies contained a KKK business card, rock and candy.

The fliers opened with the heading, "On Martin Luther King Day, you are celebrating a communist pervert." The bottom of the fliers state they came from the "Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan."