“They are organizing to attack and kill us"

A middle school teacher who was accused of punching a neo-Nazi during a 2016 protest has said that standing up to fascism is not a crime.

The Huffington Post reports that Yvette Felarca was arrested last month for her alleged involvement in a Sacramento anti-fascist demonstration in June 2016.

Felarca, who teaches in Berkley, California, is also a member of an activist group called By Any Means Necessary. The 47-year-old was charged with felony assault and two misdemeanour counts of inciting and participating in a riot.

In a video, Felarca is seen repeatedly punching a member of a white nationalist group called the Traditionalist Worker Party. The group is described as “a front for neo-Nazi sympathizers” by ABC 10.

Speaking at her arraignment, Felarca told the court last week that the charges are false and should be dropped. However, the activist added that she had the right to defend herself against fascists.

“Standing up against fascism and the rise of Nazism and fascism in this country is not a crime,” she said. “We have the right to defend ourselves.”

Felarca had told reporters in 2016 that the goal of the demonstration was to “shut down the Nazi scum.”

“They are organizing to attack and kill us,” she said. “So we have a right to self-defense. … That is why we have to shut them down by any means necessary.”

Her next court date is 4 October but is scheduled to teach again at her Berkeley middle school when her students return later this month. She cannot be legally fired unless convicted of a felony.