• Several incidents between February and March have some members of Montreal's Asian community worried about a potential increase in racially-motivated attacks.
  • After a stabbing on boulevard Décarie, the Korean Consulate asked its citizens to "pay special attention to personal safety." 
  • Several viral Facebook posts detailed further incidents.

Members of Montreal's Asian community have expressed concern about their safety after a stabbing and an attack on a popular local restaurant. On Sunday, March 15, a Korean man was stabbed while walking on boulevard Décarie. A few days later, popular local Korean restaurant GaNaDaRa was was broken into and robbed.

The incident on Décarie prompted the Korean Consulate of Montreal to release a notice to members of Montreal's Korean community, warning them to "pay special attention to personal safety." 

The SPVM tells MTL Blog that there hasn't been a rise in crimes against Montrealers of Asian descent, however. 

Jihae Sohn, a Korean Montrealer who brought the incidents to light in a widely circulated (but now deleted) Facebook post, tells MTL Blog that "my goal was to bring this to the attention of all Montrealers. I want solidarity."

In early March, the Vietnamese and Chinese communities also experienced a series of separate, potentially racially motivated attacks. Two Buddhist temples and statues in Chinatown were vandalized in what the SPVM considers "hate crimes." 

Also in March, a local restaurant issued a public apology for allegedly targeting a passerby of Asian descent with a joke many have called racist

While the motives of the incidents are unknown, some members of Montreal's Asian community have said the events represent an increase in racially motivated attacks and verbal assaults.  

Whether or not any of these incidents is correlated to the COVID-19 outbreak is unknown.

A week after an act of vandalism in Chinatown, Mayor Valérie Plante held a press conference in the neighbourhood.

She said that "it’s clear that fewer people are visiting Chinatown and it’s affecting the merchants here. The coronavirus is no excuse for discrimination and inappropriate gestures."

After the assault on the Korean man in N.D.G., Sohn said that "every Korean heard the news."

She notes that she isn't expecting some kind of special protection due to these incidents, but says that racially motivated incidents against anybody need to be addressed and stopped. 

"We all have the right to be protected. That's the role of both a nation and a city. I want to emphasize that this should be regarded as a nationwide issue."

READ ALSO: Mayor Tells Public Not To Panic & Says COVID-19 Is 'No Excuse For Discrimination' (Video)

For some Asian Montrealers, however, racism goes well beyond the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Monica Pang-Charbonneau, who detailed another alleged racist incident in a Facebook post, tells MTL Blog that "casual racism is every day."

"Whenever I speak about it people tell me it’s just a joke and how I should just shake it off and that bothers me so much because these people that tell to do so come from a privileged background and they've never experienced anything like that."

A recent New York Times report said that many Asian-Americans fear for their safety as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, citing examples like an assault on a 16-year-old boy in San Fernando Valley or an incident of a woman being beaten on the New York City subway. 

Countless supporters have spoken out against these attacks against and incidents involving Montreal's Asian community. Some, however, feel that more can be done to protect the Asian community during a time of crisis. 

"No matter where we're from, we're all in a state of emergency," said Sohn.

"We have to help each other, not attack and blame."

The Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice has established a campaign called Stop The Spread, which aims to raise awareness about racist incidents against the Asian community. 

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