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Police Make Arrest Following Assault On Woman Leaving Protest Denouncing Anti-Asian Violence

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD announced Monday night it had made an arrest in the case of an Asian woman who was attacked as she was leaving a protest over the weekend.

It came amid a recent spike in anti-Asian violence in the city.

The incident happened at around 11:30 a.m. Sunday on Astor Place in the East Village.

Nursing a twisted, swollen ankle and a bruised lip, Katie Hou said she never thought something like this would happen to her.

"Angry. Very angry," Hou told CBS2's Andrea Grymes on Monday.

She said she and her 7-year-old daughter had just left the Black and Asian solidarity rally in Union Square when a man approached her, asking for their sign, which read "Racist = Psychopath."

"I thought he will be using it for the protest, so I said, 'OK, you can have it,'" Hou said.

Hou said she and he daughter walked away, but the suspect started stomping on the sign.

"I said, 'What are you doing?' And he just approached me and attacked me. I chase him and I tried to grab him," Hou said.

Hou said he had punched her and she twisted her ankle running after him. She said she yelled at him as he ran away.

Police said the suspect took off, disappearing into the Astor Place subway station.

Police believe her case was one of several suspected anti-Asian hate crimes over the last several days. The latest NYPD statistics show 22 anti-Asian hate crimes so far this year, compared to zero during the same time period last year.

Later Sunday on the Lower East Side, police sources say a 54-year-old woman was smashed in the face with a metal pipe by a man who allegedly shouted an anti-Asian slur. She was left needing stitches and in fear.

Her daughter told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis, "She is doing better, but the injured area still hurts. Now she's scared to travel on the streets since this happened during broad daylight, too. Therefore, it can happen at any time."

A man was arrested, and charged with assault as a hate crime.

Police are also looking for another man in connection to a similar crime. They say he yelled and punched a 66-year-old Asian man in the face on Allen Street on the Lower East Side on Saturday at around 9 a.m.

Police arrested 36-year-old Marc Mathieu over the weekend, charging him with assault as a hate crime for a subway attack Friday afternoon. He allegedly punched a 68-year-old Asian man on the 1 train.

On Monday afternoon, dozens attended a rally against anti-Asian hate and violence on the Lower East Side.

"An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," a speaker said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio again spoke out during his daily press conference.

"It sickens me. It angers me and we will deal with it aggressively. You can expect to see increased NYPD presence out there to protect you," de Blasio said.

Hou said she does not want what happened to her to discourage anyone from continuing to make their voice heard.

"Even though it's risky, that doesn't mean that you stay home and do your own things all the time," Hou said.

Kristine Mui is among several fellow Guardian Angels to hit the streets in Chinatown, Flushing, Sunset Park and the subway system to protect members of Asian communities.

"We just want to protect all Asians. It's not right what's going on right now," Mui said.

"Anybody that's being attacked or discriminated against, we're there to stick up for them to the best of our ability," Guardian Angel Philip Levine added.

Anyone with information about the latest attacks is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis contributed to this report

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