Police investigate Brexit-linked racist attacks

LONDON • Police were yesterday looking into a racist attack on a Polish community building in London and hate notes posted through the doors of Polish residents in Cambridgeshire, the media reported, amid increasing incidents of racism believed to be fuelled by the result of the EU referendum.

The Metropolitan police said that they were called to the Polish Social and Cultural Association in Hammersmith, west London, yesterday morning after suspected racist graffiti was found on the building's front entrance.

Police said they were looking into "allegedly racially motivated criminal damage", but did not confirm the content of the message, which has since been washed off, according to The Guardian.

The Evening Standard reported that the words "Go home" were allegedly sprayed.

Mr Greg Hands, Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham, condemned the act on Twitter as "an unspeakable crime" and "indescribably awful".

"Further, let us all say it loud and clear that Poles are incredibly welcome in the UK and the word 'Solidarity' never felt more appropriate."

The incident comes as Cambridgeshire police investigate after cards reading "No more Polish vermin" were allegedly posted through letterboxes following Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

The laminated cards, which were printed in English and Polish, were discovered by members of the public last Friday morning in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, an area where 54.2 per cent backed Brexit and 45.8 per cent voted to stay in the EU, the Mirror reported yesterday.

One woman who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals said that her elderly mother, who is disabled, found one of the cards on her doorstep.

The 37-year-old, a mother of three, said: "I went to pick my mum up around 9am and was disgusted to see what somebody had left on her doorstep.

"My mum has a few Polish neighbours who are very nice and she was very upset to see these kinds of messages," the woman was quoted by the Mirror as saying.

"Regardless of what you think about the EU, this kind of thing is unacceptable," she added.

Other reports of racist incidents believed to be fuelled by the Brexit result, were posted on social media.

These included a woman tweeting about how her daughter saw a Muslim woman surrounded by a gang of men in Birmingham telling her to "get out, we voted Leave".

A former Conservative chairman, Baroness Warsi, told Sky News that race hate crime organisations had reported some "disturbing early results".

She blamed the "divisive and xenophobic" Leave campaigning during the EU referendum.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Police investigate Brexit-linked racist attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe