Xenophobic attacks target Romanians living in the UK

Newsroom 28/06/2016 | 18:19

Xenophobic attacks have spiked in the UK post Brexit, reports by National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show. Among those targeted are members of the Polish, Romanian but also Pakistani communities.

According to NPCC, reports to the police hate crime reporting site True Vision rose by 57 percent in the aftermath of the UK referendum, between June 23-26. In figures, that means that between Thursday and Sunday a total of 85 hate crime reports were recorded, in contrast with the 54 reports registered in the corresponding days of the previous month.

Reports by local press talk of several incidents that took place in the London area. A major incident took place in London’s Hammersmith area, where the front door of the Polish and Social Cultural Association was covered in racist graffiti. “We were very disturbed and upset this morning to find really unpleasant graffiti all across the front of our building when our staff came in,” Joanna Mludzinska, the Association’s Chair said in a video on Twitter.

The incident was condemned by the local community as well as by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. In his first Commons appearance since the June 23 referendum and his subsequent resignation announcement, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We have a fundamental responsibility to bring our country together. In the past few days we have seen despicable graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre, we’ve seen verbal abuse hurled against individuals because they are members of ethnic minorities. Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country”.

Other incidents targeted Polish families and saw leaflets that read “Leave the EU – no more Polish vermin” being placed on cars near a school in London.

The Romanian community living in the UK has also been targeted by racial abuse, with several reports surfacing online. One Twitter user, James Titcombe, tweeted: “Daughter tells me someone wrote ‘[Child’s name] go back to Romania’ on the wall in the girls toilets at School today.”

Speaking to Fox News, 32-year-old Romanian Oana Gorcea, who has been living in Britain for more than a decade, said: “Before Friday we lived in a tolerant society. I’ve been here 13 years, but I’ve never felt like I had to hide where I came from. But from Friday, things completely changed.”

Gorcea, who works for a multinational company, told the American news outlet that her street was being raided by “English commandos who walk around and try to intimidate non-white non-English people.”

An online campaign targeting racial abuse in post-Brexit Britain is trying to counteract the mounting number of racial abuse incidents. Individuals can use the hashtag #postrefracism to highlight racial abuse incidents involving immigrants online.

Romanian authorities have reacted to reports of racial abuse incidents by assuring Romanian citizens of their full support.  In a June 28 press release, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) encouraged Romanian citizens living in the UK to report all racist incidents to the UK authorities as well as to the Embassy of Romania in London.

Georgeta Gheorghe

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