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Anti-fascist leader arrested after Calif. Capitol brawl

Yvonne C. Felarca, 47, was arrested Tuesday on charges of inciting and participating in a riot and assault likely to cause great bodily injury


In this Nov. 19. 2014 file photo Yvette Felarca, an alumni of the University of California Berkeley and member of the group By Any Means Necessary, claps and yells as a vote is taken to raise tuition during a meeting of the University of California Board of Regents in San Francisco.

AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

By Don Thompson
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California authorities announced Wednesday that they arrested a prominent San Francisco Bay Area anti-fascist leader on charges stemming from a state Capitol brawl last year between white nationalist groups and counter-protesters.

Yvonne C. Felarca, 47, was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles on charges of inciting and participating in a riot and assault likely to cause great bodily injury, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said.

Yvette Felarca is the name used by the leader and spokeswoman for the group By Any Means Necessary, but public records show her given name is Yvonne Capistrano Felarca.

By Any Means Necessary has not returned repeated telephone messages from The Associated Press over two days.

A second counter-protester, Michael Williams, 56, was arrested Wednesday in Yolo County on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a riot.

They are the last of four arrests stemming from a June 2016 melee that erupted when more than 300 counter-protesters confronted about 30 members of the Traditionalist Worker Party. Prosecutors on Tuesday announced the arrests of a party supporter and another counter-protester.

Felarca attended the Capitol protest and gave television interviews after the melee. Following those interviews, Berkeley police last year investigated threats against Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School where Felarca was a teacher. School officials could not be reached Wednesday.

She also has been prominent at several clashes in Berkeley involving the Occupy movement and more recently between supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump and conservative leaders.

Prosecutors said there are no more outstanding warrants from last year’s clash, although the California Highway Patrol had sought charges against 101 participants after an eight-month investigation. The district attorney’s office said many counter-protesters were masked, making it difficult to bring charges including against those involved in several stabbings and an assault on a Sacramento television station’s news crew.

Fourteen people had stab wounds, cuts and bruises, with two of the injured surviving critical stab wounds.

The district attorney’s office also rejected dozens of lesser charges including unlawful assembly or possessing illegal signs and banners.

“Our role is to investigate the incident and make recommendations to the district attorney’s office,” highway patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader said Wednesday. “Ultimately it’s up to the district attorney’s office to determine who should be arrested and face charges.”