Hate and violent confrontation have no place in Anaheim, Mayor Tom Tait said Monday in the wake of events at a downtown park over the weekend.
“While free speech is a right of all Americans, the Ku Klux Klan’s foul message of divisiveness is unwelcome in Anaheim,” Tait said.
A dozen people were arrested and several were injured when KKK members clashed with counter demonstrators at Pearson Park on Saturday.
Anaheim was aware of and prepared for the event, Tait said, and the city will always honor and protect groups seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights.
“The police had a hard job in this instance to protect people across the board,” he said.
Saturday’s incident now rests with the legal system, and we must let that process play out, according to Tait.
“Our duties under the law in no way excuse the actions of the Klan,” he said. “They are morally responsible for bringing a provocative message of hate to our city. With the KKK’s long history of fear and intimidation, they clearly struck a raw nerve.”
The city of Anaheim stands with anyone who peacefully speaks out against hatred, according to Tait.
“But violence in our streets is never is the answer,” he said. “Above all, we are a city that respects and enforces the law on behalf of our residents, businesses and visitors.”
Saturday’s incident did a grave disserve to Anaheim, a modern, ethically rich city that draws strength in tolerance and kindness, Tait said.
“That isn’t the Anaheim I know and doesn’t reflect the city that we are,” he said. “The people of Anaheim, who embrace their neighbors and graciously open their city to visitors, deserve better.”
Mayor Tait and other city leaders plan to be on hand for a community peace walk and candlelight vigil on Monday. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. at Pearson Park at 400 N. Harbor Blvd. with a walk to City Hall at 200 S. Anaheim Blvd.
“It is important that our community has a chance to peacefully come together to show the world the Anaheim we all know and love,” Tait said.