Oakland Chinatown celebrates Lunar New Year amid calls for police support

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland's Lunar New Year celebration was streamed online this year, featuring dragon dances, speakers, and firecrackers.

But as night fell, the streets became quiet.

RELATED: SF's Chinatown celebrates Lunar New Year while calling for unity, allyship after recent attacks on Asian Americans

"Once sun sets, everybody closes. Because they are afraid," said Galen Chiu, manager of From the Heart Flowers in Chinatown.

While the desire for safety is real, Chiu said the conversation about it could have a negative impact on businesses.

"It kinda makes it harder for people to come out and spend money or to do business," said Chiu. "If they don't have a reason to come down here, they wouldn't come down here."

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Oakland's newest police chief announced Monday that an arrest has been made after a 91-year-old man was violently shoved in Chinatown.



Alameda resident Raymond Leung stopped by to pick up food from a restaurant in Pacific Renaissance Plaza. He said he was aware of the reports of violence against the Asian community, but wanted to come support a local restaurant.

"With unity, that's the most powerful thing you could ask for. You can't let one or two bad apples ruin it for everybody," said Leung.

Yet, he said he still walked around with caution.

RELATED: Oakland's Chinatown on edge after more than 20 reported robberies, Chamber of Commerce president says

"When we are out we definitely want to be careful with our surroundings," he said.

Newly sworn-in Oakland Police Chief and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf strolled through the neighborhood Friday afternoon, checking in with businesses about safety concerns.

A march in solidarity with victims of violence is planned on Saturday at 3 p.m. beginning at Madison Square Park and ending at Clinton Park.
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