KKK California state Grand Dragon William Quigg being roughed up by counter protestors. (www.nate-thayer.com)

Ku Klux Klan leader William Quigg thanked a Jewish man for pushing him out of harm’s way during a violent confrontation between KKK activists and anti-KKK protesters in California on Saturday.

The fight began after half a dozen Klan members arrived at Pearson Park in Anaheim, where they were scheduled to hold a rally. Several dozen protesters, waiting for the Klansmen at the site, immediately confronted them when they arrived, according to the LA Times.

Brian Levin — director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino — was at the scene trying to interview the KKK ringleader, whom he identified as William Quigg, when the violence broke out. Levin, who is Jewish, said he was standing next to Quigg when a crowd of angry demonstrators swarmed around the Klan members. Levin pushed the Klan leader away from the mob.

Levin said he then asked Quigg, “How do you feel that a Jewish guy just saved your life?”

“Thank you,” replied Quigg, whose organization is known for its white supremacist and anti-Semitic views.

Levin added that several Klan members jumped in an SUV and sped off, leaving others to “fend for themselves.”

Quigg is the leader of the Loyal White Knights in California and other Western states, Levin said. The sect aims to raise awareness about illegal immigration, terrorism and street crime.

The LA Times noted that the Klan members at the rally were not dressed in the hate group’s traditional white-hooded gowns, but were wearing clothes adorned with emblems promoting white supremacy.

Five people were injured in the fight, including three protesters who were stabbed. One protester was critically wounded after being stabbed with the decorative end of either a Confederate or American flag pole. Authorities arrested 13 people in total, but The Associated Press reported that five people were subsequently released after police reviewed video footage of the violence.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, reported that there were some 190 active KKK groups, with 5,000-8,000 members, operating in the US last year.

By: Shiryn Ghermezian/The Algemeiner