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Polish Communities In The UK Targeted With Abuse After Brexit

Police said offensive leaflets targeting Poles had been distributed in various areas and graffiti had been daubed on a Polish cultural center.

28/06/2016 12:15 AM AEST | Updated June 28, 2016 00:15
Neil Hall/Reuters
In the days following the referendum when Britain voted to leave the European Union, Poles in the United Kingdom have been targeted with "xenophobic abuse," the Polish Embassy said.

LONDON (Reuters) - The Polish embassy in London said on Monday it was deeply concerned by what it said were recent incidents of xenophobic abuse directed against the Polish community since Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Police said offensive leaflets targeting Poles had been distributed in Huntingdon, central England, and graffiti had been daubed on a Polish cultural center in central London on Sunday, three days after the vote.

Both incidents were being treated as racially motivated hate crimes, police said.

The Polish embassy said in a statement: "We are shocked and deeply concerned by the recent incidents of xenophobic abuse directed against the Polish community and other UK residents of migrant heritage.

"At the same time, we would like to (offer thanks) for all the messages of support and solidarity with the Polish community expressed by the British public."

Neil Hall / Reuters
Police officers leave the Polish Social and Cultural Association after graffiti was painted on the side of the building.

Immigration emerged as one of the key themes of the EU referendum campaign, with those who backed a British exit arguing the bloc had allowed uncontrolled numbers of migrants to come to Britain from eastern Europe.

Cambridgeshire Police said officers had met upset members of the local Polish community after offensive leaflets were left on cars and delivered to homes on Sunday.

According to the local paper, the Cambridge News, the cards, which had a Polish translation, read: "Leave the EU/No more Polish vermin".

"The production and distribution of this and any other similar material is committing the crime of inciting racial hatred," said Detective Superintendent Martin Brunning in a statement.

At the Polish Social and Cultural Association in London, which opened in 1974 and is home to the majority of Britain's Polish organizations, graffiti was painted on the side of the building calling on Poles to leave the United Kingdom.

"This is an outrageous act that disgusts not only me and the Polish community but everyone in Hammersmith & Fulham," local lawmaker Andy Slaughter said on Twitter.

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