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Mass shooting in Atlanta and #StopAsianHate movement: What's going on in the US?

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

The man shot eight people, including six women, from Asian countries. The tragic event happened against the backdrop of an outbreak of racism against the Asian population of the United States
10:43, 22 March 2021

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A new scandal has erupted in the United States, caused by the tragic events in Atlanta. There, in different SPA, eight people were killed, including 6 women of Korean origin. This came amid an increase in reports of anti-Asian racism, including beatings and attacks on Asians. Although the authorities said the motive was not racism, the shooting sparked outrage on social media, with users posting in support of the #StopAsianHate movement. We will tell you more about what happened.

What happened

The mass shooting began around 5:00 pm local time on March 16 at Youngs Asian massage parlor in Acworth, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Four people - two Asian women, a white man and a white woman – have died from their injuries. According to The Atlanta Journal, 33-year-old Deline Ashley Yaun, 44-year-old Daoyu Feng, 49-year-old Xiaojie Tang and 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels were killed.

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Elsias Hernandez-Ortiz, a 30-year-old Hispanic, was injured and taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Less than an hour later, the police received a new call at the Gold Spa. There were found three women who died on the spot from gunshot wounds.

While at the scene, the police received a call to another spa center across the road, where they found another woman who had been shot. Their names were not disclosed, but the South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed that all four are of Korean descent.

Police from surveillance cameras identified the shooter. The suspect is 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Georgia. He was soon detained.

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While at the scene, the police received a call to another spa center across the road, where they found another woman who had been shot. Their names were not disclosed, but the South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed that all four are of Korean descent.

Police from surveillance cameras identified the shooter. The suspect is 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Georgia. He was soon detained.

The New York City Police Department's Counter-Terrorism Unit has announced the deployment of additional patrols to Asian communities as a precautionary measure.

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President Joe Biden said the FBI had informed him of the crime and noted that Asian Americans are worried about the increase in violence. He called the attack "very unpleasant."

"We are not yet clear on the motive. But I want to appeal to the representatives of Asian Americans: we support you and understand how it scared, shocked, and angered all people," said Vice President Kamala Harris.

Human rights group Stop AAPI Hate said the shooting is an "untold tragedy" for the families of the victims and also for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, who "suffer from high levels of racial discrimination."

Rising anti-Asian racism

The deadly attack comes amid an increase in reports of anti-Asian racism and violence during the coronavirus pandemic.

Between March 2020 and last month, she received nearly 3,800 hate-related incident reports in Asia, according to Stop AAPI Hate. Women accounted for a much higher proportion of referrals - 68% compared to 29% for men.

In the United States, there have been a series of attacks on people of Asian and Asian-American descent. In late January 2021, an 84-year-old Thai man died in San Francisco after being attacked during a morning walk. A few days later, a 91-year-old Asian man was pushed hard to the ground in Auckland's Chinatown.

In California, 51-year-old Matthew Leung, an Asian American, was waiting for a bus at a bus stop when he was attacked for no reason by a cyclist.

Experts pointed to several factors underlying the rise in anti-Asian racism during the pandemic: a history of xenophobia towards Asian communities, the repeated use of racist rhetoric by ex-President Donald Trump to describe Covid-19 (Trump called the coronavirus the Chinese virus, or kung flu - by analogies with kung-fu).

The group said not enough has been done to protect Asian Americans from increased levels of hatred, discrimination and violence. Concrete action must be taken now.

#StopAsianHate movement

Amid rising incidents of violence, Asians in the United States began to protest, forming the #StopAsianHate movement. Such action took place on February 14 in San Francisco, on February 18 in California.

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People came out with posters "Hate is a virus", "Stop hate", "Love our people the way you love our food."

The Atlanta shooting sparked new protests by civil rights defenders and some political leaders, celebrities, who denounced the rise in anti-Asian discrimination. The surge in violence was condemned by Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Holmes, Kate Hudson, Barack Obama.

“What happened yesterday in Atlanta was cruel, tragic and by no means an isolated incident. Hatred of AAPI is perpetuated uncontrollably, and it is disgusting! I deeply worry about the Asian community, and my heart is with the loved ones of those whom we lost yesterday. Hatred must stop," Rihanna wrote.

Even after police said there was no reason to believe a racist motive, not all Asian minorities agreed.

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"If one thing was made clear last year, it’s that American policing is a deeply flawed institution. Protests over racism and the police killings of Black Americans have fueled efforts to shift funding away from law enforcement and toward social services like mental health care and education. Cities across the country are now grappling with what the function of police should be as they consider the future of public safety," Vice writes.

"Cherokee Co. Sherrif’s Department out with a statement. They say they interviewed the alleged shooter in Atlanta last night and he said it wasn’t about race…it was about his blaming women at these parlors for his addiction to sex," MSNBC journalist Hayes Brown notes.

Local residents, who came to the scene of the tragedy with flowers and candles, also noticed that there were several strip clubs and sex shops near the massage parlors, but the criminal decided to arrange shooting in the places where Asians worked.

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