Post-Brexit racism update

July 21, 2016 — News

Written by IRR News Team

Below we present an update of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive.

26 June: The home of an Asian family in Chelmsford has eggs thrown at it, in what they say is the latest in a series of racially motivated incidents aimed at them. (Essex Chronicle, 12 July 2016)

29 June: A seventy-year-old woman knocks down a sculpture created to ‘promote tolerance and understanding’ and rips the veil from a £6,300 artwork at the Royal College of Art, shouting ‘we voted to take our country back…Saudi Arabia go home’. She later pleads guilty to religiously aggravated criminal damage. (Court News, 18 July 2016)

29 June: A 14-year-old girl is racially abused and has water thrown at her by a man passing in a car as she stands at a bus stop in Carshalton. (This is Local London, 16 July 2016)

30 June: Amir Khan is racially abused by a man drinking with a group of men as he walks through the departure lounge at Newcastle airport. (Newcastle Chronicle, 13 July 2016)

30 June: Two families of Syrian refugees, newly housed in Bentilee, Stoke on Trent, are moved after being racially abused by a neighbour. (BBC News, 12 July 2016)

1 July: A mother walking her son to school in Rossendale, Lancashire, is told to ‘go home’ and then further racially abused by a man who pushes and shoves her before attempting to punch her young son. (Rossendale Free Press, 11 July 2016)

2 July: A Lithuanian woman is told to ‘go home’ after standing up for a Polish man being abused, as she queues at a post office in Doddington. A 47-year-old man is later arrested on suspicion of assault. (Peterborough Telegraph, 13 July 2016)

5 July: Serafim Dos Santos, a Portuguese father of five, is told to ‘go home’ and then repeatedly kicked in the head by two men in Redhill Park, Chadsmoor, Staffordshire. (Sunday Mercury, 18 July 2016)

6 July: The shed in the back garden of a Polish family’s home in Plymouth is set alight and destroyed. The family later find a note on their doorstep telling them: ‘Go back to your f*****g country next be your family’ [sic]. (Plymouth Herald, 7 July 2016)

6 July: Two men cycling through Westerham are racially abused. Police later release pictures of the man wanted in connection with the incident. (Kent & Sussex Courier, 13 July 2016)

7 July: An 18-year-old is attacked at a bus stop in Edinburgh after he intervenes as another man is racially abused. A 33-year-old man is arrested. (STV, 10 July 2016)

7 July: The Noor Ul Islam mosque in High Road, Leyton receives an envelope in the post which contains white powder and a letter with offensive language. (Chingford Guardian, 11 July 2016)

8 July: A brick is thrown though the front door of an Eastern European food shop in Norwich and a fire started. Local people raise £30,000 to help the owners of the shop. The windows of the shop are later covered in notes of support. The police say: ‘We are aware of suggestions this may have been a racially motivated incident and whilst there is currently no information to suggest this to be the case we will of course keep an open mind’. (Huffington Post, 10 July 2016, Independent, 13 July 2016)

8 July: A 65-year-old woman is racially abused and told to ‘go home’ as she waits at a bus stop in Streatham Vale, London; she calls her nephew and husband for help and when they arrive they too are threatened. (Evening Standard, 13 July 2016)

8 July: The Houses of Parliament are placed in ‘lockdown’ after an envelope containing white powder and a racist letter is sent to Lord Ahmed, a Labour peer. (Evening Standard, 8 July 2016)

8 July: A taxi driver is attacked, suffering bruising to his nose and head and two black eyes, outside Keighley train station. A 22-year-old man is later arrested. (Keighley News, 13 July 2016)

9 July: A 13-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man are arrested after a 55-year-old man is punched in the face in south Belfast in an attack being investigated as racially motivated. (Belfast Telegraph, 11 July 2016)

9 July: A letter containing white powder and bearing the words ’P**i filth’ is sent to Masjid Ayesha mosque in Tottenham. Similar letters have also been sent to the Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park and a business address in Canning Town, London. (Evening Standard, 10 July 2016)

9 July: A 19-year-old cycling along a road in Hartlepool is threatened by a group of men in a van, who wave an axe and throw a coke can at him, then deliberately swerve the van towards him. (Northern Echo, 12 July 2016)

9 July: A man driving his car through Folkestone is racially abused by a man and woman with a pushchair; when he stops his car, a beer can is thrown at him, he is spat at and head-butted. (Folkestone Herald, 13 July 2016, Kent Online, 13 July 2016)

9 July: Lewisham Labour councillor Damien Egan and his family are called ‘foreign parasites’ as they walk along Lewisham High Street. (This is Local London, 13 July 2016)

10 July: In Maidstone, a Portuguese woman is told to ‘f**k off back to your own country’ or she’s ‘going to f**king get it’. Police later arrest 53-year-old Stephen Morris on suspicion of racially aggravated harassment. (Kent & Sussex Courier, 13 July 2016)

11 July: After racist graffiti, ‘f**k off Polish *****’, is written on two Polish shops, Mieszko and Reksio, in Hoddesdon, the shop owners receive messages of support from local people. (Hertfordshire Mercury, 12 July 2016, 15 July 2016)

11 July: A white man throws coins and pebbles at a couple and their two children, before racially abusing them in Chelmsford. (Brentwood Weekly News, 19 July 2016)

12 July: A man racially abuses and threatens staff at an Exmouth kebab house. (Exeter Express & Echo, 15 July 2016)

12 July: The head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), Mark Hamilton, reveals that hate crime reported to police in the week before and the week after the referendum increased by 42 per cent, to more than 3,000 allegations. ‘Some people took [the vote] as a licence to behave in a racist or other discriminatory way’, he observes. (Guardian, 11 July 2016)

12 July: Racist graffiti including swastikas are found on an unoccupied cottage in Alnwick. (Northumberland Gazette, 12 July 2016)

12 July: A Plymouth councillor reports on racist attacks in the city since Brexit: ‘A young man was beaten up and had his arm broken because he was “Russian” – in fact he’s Afghan … A young Muslim woman doing her PGCE degree to educate our children was abused as she walked to the Mosque … A local architect has nine international employees who have all suffered abuse.’ (Plymouth Herald, 12 July 2016)

14 July: The Plymouth Herald reports that a Polish family whose shed was burnt down has been offered a new bespoke shed by a timber company, to show the family that ‘not everybody is racist and antisocial’. (Plymouth Herald, 14 July 2016)

14 July: Two children, aged 12 and 13, walking home from school in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, are racially abused by a person in a car who pulls up beside them. (Evesham Journal, 19 July 2016)

15 July: Teacher, Nurul Islam, 32, who is waiting to pick up students, is asked to remove his hoodie (which bears his surname) at a Hertford pub as it upsets pub customers. (BBC News, 20 July 2016)

16 July: A man rubs ‘joke’ faeces on the face of a four-year-old Asian child in Worcester, before trying to do the same to the girl’s mother whilst his friends cheer, in an incident which the police treat as racially motivated. (Worcester News, 18 July 2016)

18 July: Newcastle restaurant owner Shasiqul Islam receives his own menus in the post, with the words ‘Muslims are filth’ and ‘Mohammed is a peedo [sic]’ scrawled on them. Staff at the restaurant also report receiving phone calls telling them to ‘go back to your own country’. British-born Islam says ‘If the Government had been doing its job properly people wouldn’t be confused and angry’. (Metro, 18 July 2016)

18 July: A Congolese family is allegedly targeted by a mother in a school playground in Manchester, she racially abuses them and their two children and tells them ‘You don’t deserve to be here. You should go back to Africa where you came from’. The family accuse the school of failing to act following previous allegations of racism. (Manchester Evening News, 20 July 2016)

19 July: A 55-year-old man accused of ripping the niqab off a woman out with her family in a Sunderland shopping centre, on 3 July, has his case sent to Newcastle crown court. (Chronicle Live, 19 July 2016)

19 July: Polish mum Sylwia Borowska, who runs `pub in Morecambe, reports being racially abused following the referendum vote. In one incident a friend asked if she was ‘packing’ and ‘are you not deported yet?’. (The Visitor, 19 July 2016)

20 July: Anand Aggarwal, 39, reports being racially abused on a train from Cheetham Hill to Dewsbury. He is called a ‘f*****g immigrant’ and accused of being a ‘P*** taking their jobs’. (Manchester Evening News, 20 July 2016)

Related links

Read about other incidents and attacks: Post Brexit racism

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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