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2016 Sacramento riot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2016 Sacramento riot
DateJune 26, 2016
MethodsRiot, rally
Resulted inRally permit revoked[nb 1]
Parties to the civil conflict
By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)
Antifa, Sacramento and other organizations and supporters, [3]
Lead figures
Yvette Felarca

The 2016 Sacramento riot was a civil disorder at a neo-Nazi rally outside the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California on June 26, 2016. Anti-fascist counter-protesters and white supremacist groups were involved. Ten people were hospitalized for stabbing and laceration wounds with the majority of those hospitalized being counter-protesters.


A crowd outside the California State Capitol after the riot. An anarchist flag is carried in the foreground. Debris lies on the plaza.
A crowd outside the California State Capitol after the riot. An anarchist flag is carried in the foreground. Debris lies on the plaza.

A neo-Nazi group called the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) had a permit[nb 2] for a rally on the west steps of the capitol building.[5][6] They were joined by their affiliate, Golden State Skinheads (GSS).

Several groups led by Antifa (Anti-Fascist Action) Sacramento and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) organized a counter protest. BAMN issued a statement saying that "collective power through mass militant direct action can shut these Nazis down and deal the fascists and white-supremacists a decisive tactical defeat".[7] Antifa Sacramento stated that fighting fascism was not a political duty, but a moral one, and called for direct action against them.[8][9]

Anti-fascist protesters started arriving around 9:00 a.m. and just before 11:00 a.m. they confronted a TV crew, shouting "no cameras" at reporter Mike Luery of KCRA and the cameraman. The protesters grabbed Luery's mic and attempted to grab the camera.[10]

Just before the TWP rally was scheduled to begin around noon, about 300 or more[11] anarchists and other counter-protesters confronted the group.[1][12] Members of the counter-protesters wore masks and used wooden bats, sticks, fireworks, and other weapons. A few people carried knives, though which side brought the knives used in the subsequent stabbings is unknown. About 400 people were involved in the violence. Ten people were hospitalized, all for multiple stabbing and laceration wounds,[1][11] including two in critical life-threatening condition.[6][13] Only one of the TWP and GSS members was stabbed.[14] The capitol was locked down.[5] Streets were closed. Over 100 police officers responded in riot gear and on horseback. They used rubber pellets and pepper-spray balls.[1]

Matthew Heimbach, the chairman of the TWP, said they expected violence, although they planned the rally to be peaceful.[5] TWP sent about 30 people together with Golden State Skinheads.[citation needed]

Yvette Felarca, an organizer for BAMN stated that "mass militant action, with an integrated group of people" was used to shut down white nationalists.[15] Felarca was filmed punching a man at the protests.[16][17]

California Assemblyman Jim Cooper was at the Capitol during the riot. He said violence was unnecessary, and the counter-protesters could have shut down the rally with yelling.[18]

Cres Vellucci, a police observer and representative for the National Lawyers Guild, described the violence as a "free-for-all". Vellucci said the police basically let people do what they wanted and fight it out.[19]


The Traditionalist Workers Party is listed as a white nationalist extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center,[5] which describes TWP as the political wing of the Traditionalist Youth Network.[20] The rally was also organized by the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi organization.[21][22]

Counter-protests were organized by BAMN, a militant left-wing activist group[23] that organizes demonstrations and litigation to achieve its aims. It organizes primarily in colleges and K-12 schools.[citation needed]


A middle school in Berkeley, California received an email threatening harm against its students if it did not fire Yvette Felarca, a teacher at the school who was caught on video violently attacking a protestor and is an organizer with BAMN(By Any Means Necessary). In response, police increased security at the school and summer programs were moved to other locations.[24] Because Felarca's actions were committed off-hours, no action can be taken against her unless the police file charges against her, which they did.[17] Cate Cauguiran reported that the police and the California Highway Patrol were investigating a video of Felarca punching a protester.[25]

Both sides of the protest have claimed victory. The TWP considered the action a success because "six Antifas have been hospitalized in critical condition, with many more being treated for lesser injuries" while they "only suffered one significant casualty."[26] The counter-protesters considered it a success because they prevented the TWP from achieving their objective of holding a rally in Sacramento.[citation needed]

The TWP planned to be in Cleveland, Ohio for the Republican National Convention there in July.[27]

The Anti-Defamation League wrote that despite both sides claiming success it's "the white supremacists who most benefit from the free publicity" generated by the violence.[28]

Genevieve Leigh, writing for the Trotskyists World Socialist Web Site, denounced the violence by counter-protesters. Leigh wrote that violence by small groups does not address the fundamental structural problems of a capitalist society and "ultimately play in the hands of the state."[29]

On June 30, representatives and community leaders across Sacramento held a unity conference at the Capitol to denounce the violence on Sunday. Darrell Steinberg, the mayor of Sacramento, said “what happened here on Sunday is the opposite of what Sacramento is about.” Richard Pan, a Senator for Sacramento’s 6th District, said ”Many people come here to articulate different views and it’s important people have the ability to do so but violence is not the answer to addressing those issues."[30]

As of July 19, 2017, one suspected neo-Nazi protester and three counter-protesters were charged with crimes connected to the riot.[4] Teacher and BAMN organizer Yvette Felarca was one of those arrested.[31]


  1. ^ "After the first violent event, we revoked the permit for the event." — CHP Capitol spokesman[1]
  2. ^ Photo caption: "Anti-fascist counter-protesters parade through Sacramento after multiple people were stabbed during a clash between neo-Nazis holding a permitted rally and counter-protesters on Sunday at the state capitol in Sacramento, California, United States, June 26, 2016." — Reuters/Max Whittaker[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Magagnini, Stephen; Garrison, Ellen; Stanton, Sam (June 26, 2016). "At least 10 hurt at chaotic, bloody neo-Nazi rally at Capitol". The Sacramento Bee. The McClatchy Company. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Stabbings amid chaos at Calif. "Nazi mega-rally"". CBS News. Associated Press. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  3. ^ Evans, Greg (Jun 26, 2016). "CNN Re-Airs Three-Year-Old Interview With Hate Group Leader Following Sacramento's Bloody Brawl". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b Stanton, Sam (July 19, 2017). "One suspected neo-Nazi and three counter-demonstrators charged in Capitol riot". The Sacramento Bee. Prosecutors have arrested a total of four suspects in last year's riot at the state Capitol, one a suspected neo-Nazi who is also accused of defacing a Colorado synagogue and three anti-fascist counter-demonstrators, including a Berkeley middle school teacher.
  5. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Eric M.; Madden, Justin; Ortiz, Fiona; McGurty, Frank; Reese, Chris (June 26, 2016). "Clash at California capitol leaves at least 10 injured". Reuters. Reuters News Agency, Thomson Reuters. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Seven hospitalized in California stabbing at neo-Nazi rally". The Star Online. Star Media Group. AFP. June 27, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  7. ^ "NO "FREE SPEECH" FOR FASCISTS! Mass, militant demonstration shuts down Sacramento Neo-Nazi rally!". BAMN. June 26, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016. A determined opposition prepared to assert our collective power through mass militant direct action can shut these Nazis down and deal the fascists and white-supremacists a decisive tactical defeat.
  8. ^ "CALL TO ACTION!!! STOP TRADITIONALIST WORKERS PARTY!!!". Antifa Sacramento. Archived from the original on June 26, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  9. ^ "Capitol chaos: Who is behind these groups?". KXTV. ABC News. June 27, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  10. ^ Mike Luery (July 26, 2016). "KCRA reporter caught in protest violence". KCRA. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Ellis, Ralph (Jun 26, 2016). "At least 10 injured -- some stabbed -- at California rally, authorities say". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  12. ^ Serna, Joseph (June 27, 2016). "Neo-Nazis didn't start the violence at state Capitol, police say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  13. ^ Moffatt, Bob (June 26, 2016). "10 Injured After Clash Of Right-Wing And Left-Wing Groups At State Capitol". Capital Public Radio. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  14. ^ Queally, James (June 27, 2016). "Violence in Sacramento shows old and new faces of white extremism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  15. ^ Garrison, Ellen (June 26, 2016). "Activist Yvette Felarca says anti-fascist rally at the Capitol will prevent more violence". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  16. ^ Robert Mackey (June 28, 2016). "White Supremacists Are Met With Rocks in Sacramento and Scorn in Newcastle". The Intercept. Retrieved June 28, 2016. After the melee, Yvette Felarca, a national organizer with BAMN — who was seen on video cursing at and punching one of the white nationalists...
  17. ^ a b Ioffee, Karina (June 28, 2016). "FBI investigates threat against Berkeley school after teacher's counterprotest at rally". East Bay Times. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  18. ^ Debra Saunders (June 30, 2016). "Fascists against freedom, unite". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved July 1, 2016. Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-California, was downtown when he heard about the violence and went to the Capitol to see for himself. He saw counter-protesters ready for a fight. And for no reason. The neo-Nazis, he told me, 'were way outnumbered.' The counter-protesters could have yelled and drowned out the neo-Nazis, who then would have 'gone home.' But the counter-protesters had shown up 'ready for action.'
  19. ^ Sam Stanton and Anita Chabria (June 27, 2016). "Police defend response to violent rally at California Capitol". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 6, 2016. He described it as a 'free-for-all.' 'The police didn’t step in really at all,' Vellucci said. 'They basically just let people do what they wanted to do.' [...] 'It was like someone made a decision,' Vellucci said. 'In this case, someone made a decision just to let them fight it out, that’s what it appeared.'
  20. ^ Dwyer, Colin (June 26, 2016). "Amid Violence At White Nationalist Rally In Sacramento, At Least 10 Hospitalized". NPR. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  21. ^ "Several people stabbed during Neo-Nazi event in Sacramento". Fox News. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Stabbings amid chaos at Calif. "Nazi mega-rally"". CBS News. Associated Press. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  23. ^ BAMN leader talks about militancy in media interview
  24. ^ Raguso, Emilie (June 27, 2016). "Anonymous email threatens students at Berkeley school after Sacramento rally tied to local teacher". Berkeleyside. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  25. ^ Cate Cauguiran (June 29, 2016). "Berkeley Teacher On Video Punching Neo-Nazi Supporter At State Capitol Rally". CBS SF Bay Area. Retrieved June 30, 2016. Police and the California Highway Patrol are still investigating the incident.
  26. ^ "Outnumbered Sacramento Spartans Rout Leftist Scum; A Call For Nationalist Solidarity – Traditionalist Youth Network". 2016-06-27. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  27. ^ Seattle Times staff (June 27, 2016). "White nationalist group says it will be at Republican convention". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. McClatchy Washington Bureau (TNS) and Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  28. ^ "The Hate Group Behind the Sacramento White Supremacist Rally". ADL. June 28, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2016. Both sides declared "success" after the fracas, but it is the white supremacist who most benefit from the free publicity that such violent generates.
  29. ^ Genevieve Leigh (June 28, 2016). "Violent confrontation at Sacramento racist demonstration leaves 10 injured". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved July 6, 2016. A fight against openly fascistic groups like these, as well as radical right-wing tendencies seen in the 2016 US presidential campaign, cannot be achieved through the anarchistic groups that were apparently on scene in Sunday’s conflict. Violent confrontations between small groups cannot address the fundamental social antagonisms in capitalist society and ultimately play into the hands of the state. The actions of isolated groups, devoid of a socialist political program or a concept of the class struggle, can never serve as a substitute for the collective struggle of the working class.
  30. ^ Angela Musallam (June 30, 2016). "After Capitol Violence, Calls Begin For Peace In Sacramento". CBS Sacramento. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  31. ^ Lee, Christine. "BUSD teacher, activist Yvette Felarca arrested Tuesday". The Daily Californian. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
This page was last edited on 8 December 2018, at 20:25
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