Fourteen people were hurt and 40 were arrested yesterday when rock-throwing protesters skirmished with police who guarded a small group of Ku Klux Klan members as they marched from the Washington Monument to the Capitol.

Eight of the injured were District police officers, including one whose neck was fractured by a brick that officials said was thrown from the anti-Klan crowd. The windshields of 12 police cars were shattered in the melee, along with the windows of several buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, police said.

No Klan members were hurt, and police characterized the protesters' injuries as minor.

The march by 27 members of the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan drew an estimated 1,200 demonstrators to the Mall area, which was sealed off to pedestrians and cars for most of the afternoon. Officials also shut the Capitol, the National Gallery of Art and the Archives Metro station.

Some 2,000 D.C. police officers in riot gear lined the route, as did 800 U.S. Capitol Police officers and 325 U.S. Park Police. All 4,750 District officers were put on call for the march, which D.C. Police Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. said had cost the city $800,000.

As the Klan members marched east on Constitution Avenue, carrying a Confederate flag and shouting "We are the KKK," officers on motorcycles and horses held the protesters more than a block away.

The distance kept the demonstrators from hearing the Klan members' shouts and prevented the marchers from being hit by the rocks, bricks and bottles thrown in their direction.

The event capped a week of court battles between D.C. officials and Klan leaders. City officials argued that they could not ensure public safety if the group were permitted to march the mile between the Washington Monument and the Capitol, and wanted the route limited to four blocks.

But in a last-minute ruling yesterday morning, U.S. District Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer upheld the Klan's request for the longer march, saying that the route is the "traditional segment of the nation's premier public forum."

Fulwood yesterday criticized Oberdorfer's ruling, citing the injuries and the cost to the city.

"We knew this was going to happen," Fulwood said after the march, during which he was struck by a brick. "We thought that the judge erred. I thought he used poor judgment."

Most of the violence erupted when protesters along the march route, straining over the thick wall of police officers, caught sight of the Klan members and surged toward the barricades. Several officers struck protesters with clubs and tackled them after the anti-Klan demonstrators spit on them and pelted them with bottles and rocks.

Several bystanders were hit by rocks, and an officer in a car parked in the intersection of Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW was trapped for 15 minutes as the crowd pelted the auto with rocks. Officers on motorcycles rescued him.

In the tense face-off with police, several black demonstrators taunted the black officers guarding the white supremacists. One group chanted over and over, "Your master say move!"

Some bystanders thought the police were too aggressive as the officers chased protesters, some of whom brought knapsacks stuffed with rocks or took bricks from construction sites along Pennsylvania Avenue.

"This is sickening," said Debra Williams, a Howard University student who was caught in some of the violence. "I haven't seen this many police for anything. People way in the back were throwing rocks, but the police were pushing and taking it out on the people up front."

Officers on motorcycles sometimes jumped curbs and drove through the crowd to chase protesters. One woman was knocked off her feet when she was clipped by a motorcycle's handlebars, and several protesters were thrown to the ground and kicked by police.

Afterward, Fulwood said he didn't believe his officers had used excessive force. "I think people have to realize that police officers don't start the violence," he said at a news conference. "Some of the frustration the demonstrators felt was clearly taken out on the police."

One D.C. officer who stood in the phalanx of police separating the protesters from the Klan members said he felt crushed in the "middle of two evils."

"All these people were throwing bottles and calling us 'Uncle Tom,' " the officer said. "We couldn't put our personal beliefs into the situation. I'm hoping they {the Klan} don't come back any time soon. It was rough."

After walking the 11-block route, the small band of Klan members stood on the Capitol steps for about 30 minutes, surrounded by hundreds of officers carrying riot shields.

Several Klan members shouted through megaphones, complaining about the "trampled rights of white Americans" and railing against minorities "stealing jobs from white people."

At the same time, about 500 anti-Klan demonstrators rallied just north of the Capitol near the Russell Senate Office Building. There, U.S. Capitol Police were showered with eggs, tomatoes, stones and bottles, Capitol Police spokesman Dan Nichols said. Officers swiftly cleared the park and arrested three people who would not leave.

Six of the 40 people arrested during the march were charged with assaulting a police officer, a felony. The others where charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct, police said.

Officials last night would not release the names of the eight injured officers or the six protesters who were hurt. The police officer whose neck was fractured was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where a spokesman said she was in fair condition.

Fulwood said protesters damaged property at several points near the march route, including buildings at 11th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Sixth Street and Indiana Avenue NW and New Jersey Avenue and D Street NW. He could not provide a dollar estimate for the damage.

The last time members of the Ku Klux Klan conducted a full-scale march in Washington is believed to have been in 1925, when 40,000 white supremacists and sympathizers paraded on Pennsylvania Avenue. Since then, there have been several Klan rallies in Washington, including one on Labor Day weekend that police confined to the steps of the Capitol.

In 1982, when a Klan group rallied in Lafayette Square across from the White House, an anti-Klan demonstration erupted into a disturbance that left 12 police officers injured and many downtown businesses damaged and looted.

As the Klan members donned their multi-colored robes at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW to begin the march, one member led them in prayer. "Heavenly Father, there are a lot of critics and God-haters," Charles Beasley said. "Give us protection for this march."

Beasley later said he was marching "against abortion, communism, gayism and school mixing -- blacks shouldn't be in school with our children or marrying white women."

Sahu Barron, an organizer of the All People's Congress, an anti-Klan group, said she considered the event a "victory because the whole world is watching . . . . We've shown the hypocrisy of President Bush, who talks about democracy but lets the Klan come here."

Virgil Griffin, the leader of the Klan group, also declared victory. "My God, we made it," he said as he stood on the Capitol steps. "No communist will ever stop us again."

But Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union, which fought in court for the Klan's right to march, said yesterday's event was "not a victory for the Klan. It was a victory for free speech."

Staff writers Stephen Buckley, Lynne Duke, Rene Sanchez, Paul Valentine, Martin Weil and Michael Ybarra contributed to this report.