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Demonstrators demand action to combat Asian hate in San Francisco

Demonstrators demand action to combat Asian hate crime in San Francisco
Demonstrators demand action to combat Asian hate crime in San Francisco 04:09

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Protesters disrupted traffic and marched down busy Columbus Avenue in San Francisco Sunday afternoon chanting "fight Asian hate" and "justice for our elders."

Many recent anti-Asian-hate marches have stayed on sidewalks or within parks but rally organizers said playing nice, following rules and maintaining the "model minority" image have got them nowhere. They're changing their tactics, becoming disruptive and aggressive to make their demands heard.

RELATED: SFPD arrests man in beating assault of 70-year-old Asian community leader

"We've been doing rallies for years, yelling 'stop Asian hate' and hearing from elected leaders that they're going to do everything they can to protect Asians and stop Asian hate over and over and over again. We've had enough of rhetoric. We want results," said rally co-organizer Justin Zhu. Zhu is also a co-founder with the organization Stand With Asian-Americans.

While rally organizers thanked local and state leaders who attended the rally, organizers did not invite them to speak to the roughly 100 demonstrators gathered at Washington Square park. Instead, they put the police department in the hot seat, demanding more protection for Asian seniors.

"We're here to demand that (SFPD) Chief (William) Scott -- within 10 days of this rally -- host a public town hall so we can all come and ask some questions, to figure out what are we going to do about Asian violence against our elders," Zhu said.

Like COVID and monkeypox, demonstrators said the Asian attacks should be treated by city leaders as a public health emergency.

"People are scared. It feels like open season on the Asian-American community," said Christina Chen, an organizer with Compassion in Oakland.

The anger comes after four people attacked a 70-year-old Chinese woman in the lobby of a senior housing complex on Francisco Street last Sunday. There are now flyers posted in the complex alerting other residents.

"I don't know if it was a crime of opportunity (or) maybe a hate crime but that's being investigated by our robbery division," said SFPD Lt. Marc Moreno.

Surveillance footage showed four young attackers beating and kicking the woman in the head. They robbed her of an old iPhone.

"I think they appear to be juveniles. I don't know that someone is 11 (years old). But I know that, hopefully, very soon we can announce some leads," said Lt. Moreno.

Gregory Chew
Gregory Chew SFPD

On Tuesday, police said a man punched and kicked 70-year-old Gregory Chew as he was walking home in the South of Market district.

Chew shared a photo with KPIX  that showed his swollen eye. He also suffered from a broken shoulder.

Police said nothing was said or taken -- it was just an unprovoked attack. Police arrested a suspect on Sunday, 34-year-old San Francisco resident Derrick Yearby.

San Francisco police said they are stepping up patrols in and around Chinatown but it's unclear if the police chief will agree to do a town hall meeting on the Asian attacks.

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