London: Over 100 incidents of racial abuse and hate crimes, including alleged racist graffiti and cards reading “no more Polish vermin” posted outside a school, have been reported since the UK voted to leave the EU, it emerged yesterday.
Protests outside Downing Street against the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU. Pic/Getty Images
Scotland Yard was called in to inspect suspected racist graffiti found on the front entrance of the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in London. “We are investigating the racially motivated criminal damage on a building,” Metropolitan Police said, urging any witnesses to come forward.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary was also investigating racism reports around laminated signs calling on people to leave the UK being posted through the doors of members of the Polish community in Huntingdon. “The production and distribution of this and any other similar material is committing the crime of inciting racial hatred,” Detective Superintendent Martin Brunning of the Constabulary said.
Meanwhile, two men were arrested in Birmingham after a protest outside a mosque on Saturday where police confiscated a banner with the slogan “rapefugees not welcome”. Officers were also investigating reports from Upton Park, where a witness said he went to the aid of a Polish man and his father who were beaten up on Saturday night.
Many of the incidents seem to show the mistaken belief that EU citizens living in the UK will be forced to leave instantly as a result of the referendum result.
Britain “may never” trigger the formal divorce process with the EU despite last week’s referendum in which the country voted to leave, EU diplomats have said. “My personal belief is they will never notify” the EU about their intention to leave, a senior EU diplomat said on Sunday.
Informal exit may not be an option
The European Union and Britain on Monday appeared to be heading for a stalemate over the bloc’s summit slated for Tuesday to discuss UK’s vote to leave. With Europe’s leaders divided over how to negotiate Britain’s exit and London apparently reluctant to initiate formal talks on leaving, an EU source said lawyers had concluded that a member state could not be forced to launch the process.