Post Brexit Racism Countered By Flowers And Messages Of Love At London Polish Centre

After hate crimes reported to police rose by 57%.

28/06/2016 14:16 | Updated 29 June 2016

People from across the country are showing immigrants that they are welcome in the UK after a shocking rise in hate crimes since Britain voted to leave the European Union on Friday.

From flowers being handed out at school to dozens of cards being sent to a Polish centre that was the target of racist abuse at the weekend, British citizens are going out of their way to make sure people of other cultures feel welcome.

It comes as the National Police Chiefs’ Council revealed that hate crimes reported to the police has risen 57% between Thursday and Sunday compared to the corresponding days four weeks ago.

Following the rise in racist attacks, the Metropolitan Police force has been placed on heightened alert for any rise in hate crime.

In London, a Polish community centre that was the target of a racially-motivated crime has been inundated with flowers and cards.

The Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK), in Hammersmith, had 'FUCK YOU' scrawled across its doors in graffiti on Sunday. 

But since the attack bunches of flowers, cards and other messages of love have been sent to the centre.

School children and families have also come out to support the centre.

“After yesterday I felt very upset, but this is nice.

“English people coming in and apologising for one person’s stupidity,” a receptionist at the centre told The Guardian. 

One of the cards read: “Dear Polish friends, we wanted to let you know how very sorry we are to hear about the abusive messages graffitied on to your building.

"It’s depressing enough that the UK (or part of it) will be leaving the EU.

"That the result of the referendum seems to have been interpreted by some as a licence to express their racism and xenophobia is truly horrifying.”

A small group of parents at a Northampton primary school will present flowers to mums and dads in the next few days as a symbol of solidarity.

Cedar Road Primary School parents will give flowers after Northampton voted overwhelming to leave the European Union.

Stephanie Small told the Northampton Chronicle: “No one should be singled out. The point of this is we just want everyone to know that we are all the same.

“There have been lots of things said on all sides about all sorts of issues. We need to just get on with it now.”

An anti-hate fundraiser has also been launched to raise money for Show Racism The Red Card.

Launched by Catrin Cooper, the JustGiving page is "in response to xenophobic abuse in the UK for Show Racism The Red Card because our differences are there to be celebrated".

More than £500 has been raised so far.

And in quintessentially British fashion, two Londoners launched Operation Scone in a bid to show Europe that the UK still loves them.

The campaign, launched in response to Operation Croissant, led to scones being handed out to people boarding and leaving the Eurostar.

As well as a scone, passengers were also given a postcard with the slogan “sorry we’ve scone” and messages of affection towards the French from Londoners.

Sarah Fox, who launched Operation Scone with her friend Jules Middleton, said: “We work together and after spending Friday feeling really depressed about the result and unable to concentrate, we felt we had to do something to show our EU friends that this wasn’t the result Londoners wanted.”

A detailed list compiled by Tell MAMA, a group that measures anti-Muslim attacks, revealed the rise in racist abuse people have received since Friday's referendum result.

Fiyaz Mughal, founder and director of Faith Matters, said: “The Brexit vote seems to have legitimised the prejudice of some people to the point where they are verbalising and targeting people at a street level who are visibly different.

“This is England 2016 and this is totally unacceptable.”

Examples of the racist behaviour documented includes a taxi driver telling a Muslim woman that he voted to leave the EU “to get rid of people like you”.

Other people report being called a “p***” and physical abuse.

On Tuesday, the BBC aired the moment its journalist Sima Kotecha was called a ‘p***’ by a Brexit voter in her home town of Basingstoke.

Kotecha was in “utter shock” speaking to Brexit voters in the Hampshire town where she grew up, where 52% of people voted to leave the EU.

Police are hunting a group of teenagers who were filmed hurling racial abuse at a mixed-race passenger on a Manchester tram on Tuesday.

Filmed with a mobile phone on, the footage shows three beer-drinking youths shouting at a commuter to “Get back to Africa” after he asked them to stop loudly swearing.

One of the boys on board the 7.40am Manchester tram hollers at the man, who speaks with an American accent, “Get off the tram now, I’ll waste you, I’ll waste anyone.”

Clarification: This story previously highlighted an event in Bristol showing school children handing out flowers, which had been reshared on the BBC Points West Facebook page. We have removed it due to the video being a year old.

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