NEW YORK (AP) — A crowd gathered in New York City on Saturday to denounce an uptick in attacks on people of Asian descent in the city and across the country.
Hundreds of people rallied at Foley Square in lower Manhattan, not far from where an Asian man was critically injured Thursday in what police said was an unprovoked stabbing by another man who was charged with attempted murder.
“It’s really been terrifying for our community,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, a New York-based advocacy group. “What is happening is not right.”
Federal, state and local politicians at the rally, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and state Attorney General Letitia James, also condemned violence against men and women of Asian descent.
“We will not accept hatred in New York City,” de Blasio said. “Stop Asian hate. This is the message we have to get out, not just in New York City but all over this country.”
A spike in verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans has been reported since the coronavirus, which emerged from China, reached the United States. Stop AAPI Hate, launched by two advocacy groups to encourage Asian Americans to report such incidents, has documented more than 3,000 attacks to date.
In Thursday’s stabbing in New York, police said Salman Muflihi, 23, stabbed a 36-year-old Asian man in a random attack.
Muflihi pleaded not guilty to attempted murder during a court hearing Saturday. He had been charged with hate crimes, but the Manhattan district attorney’s office is not prosecuting the case as a hate crime, news outlets reported. A prosecutor said at the hearing that the victim remains in critical condition and may not survive.
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