#SafetyPin campaign in Britain to show solidarity with immigrants post-Brexit

A demonstrator holds up a placard saying Stand together Stop Brexit at an anti-Brexit protest in Trafalgar Square in central London on June 28.
A demonstrator holds up a placard saying Stand together Stop Brexit at an anti-Brexit protest in Trafalgar Square in central London on June 28. PHOTO: AFP

Following reports of racist abuse in Britain since the June 23 EU referendum result, one woman has launched an online campaign called #SafetyPin to show solidarity against racism.

Allison, who doesn't want to reveal her surname for safety reasons, is an American living in London. She told The Guardian that she was concerned about the increase in abuse cases as she kept seeing reports about people being abused on buses and trains.

To tackle the situation, she started the hashtag, #SafetyPin, on Twitter asking people to wear a safety pin in public so that any potential victims of racist abuse can turn to them for help.

In an interview with British news website indy100, Allison said there is no language or political slogans involved.

"It is just a little signal that shows people facing hate crimes that they're not alone and their right to be in the UK is supported," she said.

On the first day of the #SafetyPin campaign, she said on Twitter (@cheeahs): "For EU nationals and for immigrants, this (safety pin) means I'm a safe person in an unsafe world."

Since then, several people have been tweeting pictures wearing the symbol.

She added that she was inspired by #ridewithme, a hashtag which sprung up to show support towards victims of hate crimes following the Sydney cafe siege in December 2014.

British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan called the campaign "utterly absurd" and said the display is more about people having to prove they are not racist.

 

The UK Police said online reports of hate crime incidents had risen by 57 per cent between June 23 and 26 compared with the corresponding days four weeks ago.

Prime Minister David Cameron promised on Wednesday (June 29) to clamp down on hate crime in the wake of a spike in racially motivated incidents since Britain voted to leave the European Union which have spread fear among ethnic minority groups.

"We will not tolerate hate crime or any kind of attacks against people in our country because of their ethnic origin," Mr Cameron told lawmakers who repeatedly asked him to provide support to EU nationals living in Britain.