Spikes In Racist Abuse Reported After Brexit

Across the UK, people are being told to "go home"

Newspapers are displayed for sale the day after Britain voted to leave the EU, at a newsagents in central London, Britain June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall - RTX2I4B7 — REUTERS
Jun 27, 2016 at 10:49 AM ET

Hate crimes and hostility toward people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds appear to be on the rise since the UK voted to leave the European Union Thursday. Seemingly emboldened by the Brexit vote, neo-Nazis and casual racists alike are making their feelings known, according to a slew of accounts posted on social media.

In several cases, Polish people were specifically targeted. In Huntingdon, a town north of the British capital, leaflets ordering “Polish vermin” to “go home” were left on cars. In London, a Polish cultural center had what the BBC described as “racist graffiti” scrawled across its entrance on Sunday morning. According to the Polish Embassy in London, there have also been other incidents of public hate targeting Polish people, who comprise the largest population of non-Brits in the United Kingdom; more people come to the UK from Poland than from any other EU country.

The stories so far are anecdotal—since the vote was just a few days ago. But, Jess Phillips, a member of the UK Parliament, tweeted that she is hoping to dig deeper, seeing how incidents like these over the last weekend compare to the week before, to determine how significant the spike in xenophobic incidents has been.

Many have taken to social media to share their experiences and those of others with the hashtag #PostRefRacism, although their claims were not independently verified. According to their accounts, some people across the UK have urged others who may not fit their definition of British to “go home.”