Yvette Felcara told the court, “we have the right to defend ourselves.”
A Berkeley-area teacher and political organizer says that she’s justified in throwing a punch at a neo-Nazi during a demonstration because she’s on a mission to save the world from “fascism” — and therefore she can’t be guilty of a crime.
Yvette Felarca, who teaches a number of very lucky middle school students in the Bay Area, also serves as the California organizer for By Any Means Necessary or BAMN, an “anti-fascist” group that claims to be fighting the “new civil rights movement.” In her spare time, Felarca organizes opposition marches whenever neo-Nazis hold rallies in California.
But Felarca is no peaceful protester. As part of her “anti-Fascist” opposition she embraces violence, and just this week faced charges in a California court for “inciting a riot” when she hauled off and punched a neo-Nazi during a “peaceful counter-protest” held opposite a white supremacist rally in Sacramento last summer. The assault triggered a brawl, with Felarca in the middle.
Felarca was arrested last month and charged with “assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury, a felony, and participating in a riot, and inciting a riot, both misdemeanors,” according to local paper Berkeleyside. During her arraignment this week, Felarca was unapologetic, telling the court that she’s justified in punching Nazis and that the charges should be dropped.
“Standing up against fascism and the rise of Nazism and fascism in this country is not a crime,” Felarca said. “We have the right to defend ourselves.”
Her goal, Felarca told reporters during the protest in 2016, was to “shut down the Nazi scum.” “They are organizing to attack and kill us,” she told Al Jazeera, who was on the scene at the rally. “So we have a right to self-defense. … That is why we have to shut them down by any means necessary.”
Unfortunately for Felarca, that’s not exactly how self-defense works in a court of law. But it’s not likely she’s deeply concerned; even as she stands trial for her previous “anti-fascism,” she and her group, BAMN, are plotting another counter-protest, this time against a group of anti-Marxists who will march on Berkeley this weekend. Calling the rally a “white supremacist march” she told media this week she and her group plan to live up to their name, “by any means necessary.”