Berkeley teacher arrested for inciting riot at mostly peaceful Patriot Prayer rally

BERKELEY (KTVU/BCN)-- Three people were arrested this afternoon during a rally and march by the conservative group Patriot Prayer that started at the University of California at Berkeley campus.

A small group of roughly a half-dozen right-wing demonstrators, including several men wearing tactical vests with handcuff-style zip-ties hanging from the rigging, gathered at Sproul Plaza around 2 p.m.

They were immediately confronted and then surrounded by a slightly larger group of counter-protesters chanting, "No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all."

After several minutes of shouting, during which Patriot Prayer organizer Joey Gibson could be heard repeatedly asking counter-demonstrators whether they intended to let him speak, the group began to move south. The counter-demonstrators repeatedly blocked their path, however.

The crowd began to grow as Gibson and his companions stopped at the intersection of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way, where a small tent had been set up with a public address system near the edge of campus. But even with amplified sound, Gibson was practically inaudible over the sound of counter-demonstrators shouting him down.

Eventually a scuffle broke out and law enforcement moved in to separate the parties. Shortly after that, Gibson and his supporters began moving south on Telegraph, accompanied by a large contingent of police.

Another scuffle broke out in the vicinity of Telegraph and Channing Way, where police made two arrests.

Oakland resident Eddy Robinson, 47, was arrested on suspicion of participating in a riot and resisting arrest.

Yvonne Felarca, a 47-year-old resident of Oakland who also goes by Yvette Felarca,, was arrested on suspicion of battery, resisting arrest and for inciting a riot.

A Berkeley teacher and activist with the group, By Any Means Necessary, Felarca was charged in July with assault, participating a riot and inciting a riot after violence broke out at a white nationalist rally in Sacramento last year.

Immediately after Felarca was detained this afternoon, counter-demonstrators in the crowd began shouting for her release. She was taken to Santa Rita Jail. Her bail amount was not known. 

A third individual, 20-year-old Ricky Joseph Monzon, was arrested earlier in the day at Telegraph and Bancroft on suspicion of carrying a "banned weapon" inside the protest zone, according to police. Further details
about the weapon and the circumstances of Monzon's arrest were not immediately available.

Roughly 100 people marched south on Telegraph Avenue and then went east on Channing Way around 2:30 p.m., according to police. At its peak, the crowd swelled to around 250, according to police. 

The group ended up at People's Park near Haste and Bowditch streets, where they took to a small stage at the western end of the park and began to speak to a crowd composed mostly of supporters and the press.

"We will continue to come to Berkeley until they finally respect free speech," Gibson said. "We will never stop. Never in a million years." 

Kyle Chapman, known in the alt-right movement as "Based Stickman," also addressed the crowd.

"I'm talking about the need and importance for brave warriors, brothers and sisters of god, to stand up for their First Amendment rights," Chapman said. "To put their lives on the line and bleed if necessary to fight
for this republic and to fight for our freedoms and our rights."

Chapman, a resident of Daly City, is currently out on bail. He's been charged with at least one felony for allegedly possessing a leaded cane during a previous rally in Berkeley in March.

The crowd dispersed and began to leave People's Park around 3:20 p.m. Marching stopped around 4:20 p.m.

Police say the key to keeping the event from turning violent was preparation and help from other law enforcement agencies. 

The rally comes just days after the group Berkeley Patriot, a conservative student organization at UC Berkeley, canceled "Free Speech Week," a series of events on campus featuring several conservative speakers, including conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who appeared briefly at Sproul Plaza Sunday.

Participants at Tuesday's event said there will be other events in Berkeley to promote free speech but haven't released details yet. 

 

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