Boris Johnson Tackled Over Rise In Attacks On Poles In UK As Arkadiusz Jozwik Remembered In Harlow

Prosecutors in Poland want to try teens accused over Jozwik's death.

Poland’s foreign ministry on Saturday was expected to raise the increase in attacks on Poles living in the UK during a visit by British foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

The meeting in Warsaw took place as several hundred people gathered in Harlow, Essex, to remember Arkadiusz (Arek) Jozwik who was attacked there last Saturday and died on Monday.

Six teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of killing the 40-year-old in a suspected hate crime.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski
Alik Keplicz/AP

Co-organiser the Reverend Robert Findlay said Polish people had come to Harlow from places across the UK including Edinburgh, Leeds and London, the BBC reported.

The crowd gathered at the scene of the fatal attack outside a pizza takeaway before speeches and prayers and a silent march to a church in the town.

“The purpose of the march is that we meet to honour Arek who has died,” the broadcaster quoted Findlay as saying.

“We also pray that our gathering will bring comfort to the family and friends of Arek and beyond that we want to affirm to all Polish citizens that they are welcome here.

“It began as a local vigil but it has expanded nationally.”

The Guardian reported that prosecutors in Poland have launched their own investigation into Jozwik’s death. Under its laws, the teenagers accused over his death are liable to face trial there.

“Under Polish law, foreigners who commit crimes against Polish citizens are subject to trial before a Polish court,” Warsaw’s regional prosecutor, Jakub Romelczyk, told Poland’s TVP Info public broadcaster.

“Our investigation is independent from legal action taken in the state where the crime was committed.”

Agence France-Presse reported that the Warsaw district prosecutors’ office said on Friday that it planned to ask British authorities for their cooperation.

The Guardian further reported that the Polish foreign ministry said it would raise the issue of attacks on Poles living in the UK with Johnson.

The discussion follows an earlier talk between Johnson and his Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, at a meeting of foreign ministers in Potsdam this week.

According to the newspaper, Waszczykowski said that, at that earlier meeting, Johnson “promised to address the issue” and gave assurances that the “UK government does not accept the hate action against migrants and it will do everything to protect Poles and other foreigners against aggression”.

People attend a vigil in Harlow to pay tribute to Arkadiusz Jozwik
People attend a vigil in Harlow to pay tribute to Arkadiusz Jozwik
Chris Radburn/PA Wire

An estimated 800,000 people born in Poland live in Britain, while many other people have Polish ancestry following a migration of 200,000 people after the Second World War.

The Polish foreign minister has reportedly suggested that an educational campaign should be introduced in Britain “so as to make people aware that Brexit will not mean throwing immigrants out from the UK”.

Speaking at the scene of the killing on Wednesday, Arkady Rzegocki, Poland’s ambassador to the UK, said the tragedy could not be seen in isolation.

“Unfortunately there is much more after Brexit. We have found about 15 or 16 such situations. It is a very important tragedy and we have to work together on this issue,” he said.


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