Hundreds of people rallied in Lower Manhattan Saturday to protest increasing violence against Asian Americans.
The rally in Foley Square was near the site of Thursday’s attack on a 36-year-old Asian man, who was stabbed in the stomach. Police arrested Salman Muflihi, 23, who was initially charged with attempted murder as a hate crime and assault as a hate crime among other counts.
“We will not accept hatred in New York City! Stop Asian hate. This is the message we have to get out not just in New York City, but all over this country. Stop Asian hate, stop it now,” Mayor de Blasio told the crowd.
Rep. Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat who is of Taiwanese descent said, “Too many people are living in fear right now.”
“People are literally scared to leave their homes,” Meng said. “We’ve been taught our entire life to just fit in. Just be quiet, don’t speak up, be invisible. If you are invisible enough you will be seen as American. But we are here to say we will be invisible no more! We will speak up! … We are American, too.”
Attorney General Letitia James encouraged victims to report attacks.
“Come to my office so that we can do something about it. Come to my office so that we can go after these individuals who hate us and shut them down,” James said.
State Sen. John Liu, a Queens Democrat, who was born in Taiwan, said, “When you attack any of us, we will all stand up and fight back. … We are going to be loud and proud.”
Prosecutors on Saturday dropped hate crime charges against Muflihi during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. He now faces attempted murder and attempted assault charges in the case.