Police in London confirmed Sunday (26 June) they were investigating “racially motivated” damage to a Polish cultural centre, in the wake of Britain’s Brexit vote, as other citizens used social media to self-report incidents of racist abuse.
Officers are probing the criminal damage at the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK), in Hammersmith.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said, “Shortly before 11am police were informed of an incident of alleged racially-motivated criminal damage to a building in King Street, W6.
“Officers from Hammersmith and Fulham borough attended and enquiries are ongoing.”
A POSK spokeswoman said graffiti had been found on the front entrance after 6am on Sunday and it had since been washed off but would not confirm what it said.
She said, “There will be an investigation – we have reported it to police. I cannot say any more.”
It comes as Cambridgeshire Police investigate suspected post-referendum racism after hateful notes were allegedly posted through letterboxes of Polish residents in the county.
The Brexiters said they wanted their country back. Now this is happening. https://t.co/HTWdMnPENe
— Simon Nixon (@Simon_Nixon) June 26, 2016
Laminated cards reading “Leave the EU – no more Polish vermin” were reportedly delivered to members of the Polish community in Huntingdon, north west of Cambridge, on Saturday.
Inspector Nick Percival said the police were “aware” of the incident and were investigating.
On Saturday, Professor Heavenly Crawley posted on Twitter an account she said her daughter witnessed in Birmingham.
This evening my daughter left work in Birmingham and saw group of lads corner a Muslim girl shouting "Get out, we voted leave". Awful times
— Heaven Crawley (@heavencrawley) June 24, 2016
Also on Saturday, the National Front appeared on the streets of Newcastle, with a banner reading, “Stop Immigration. Start Repatriation.”
— daniel watson (@DWxLW) June 25, 2016
Anti-fascists held a much larger counter-demonstration.
— Dan Walsh (@DanWalsh23) June 25, 2016
One man in London claimed his friend was racially abused at Kings Cross station.
Man in Kings X station yells ‘BREXIT’ in my south Asian friend’s face. Within 10 hours of the result I experienced 2 racialised altercations
— kerem (@KeremBrulee) June 25, 2016
Self-reported incidents of street-level abuse on Twitter are notoriously hard to verify, bar the credibility of the source reporting it, short of notification to the police.
One user, with 48,000 followers, claimed to have seen two Polish men lying injured after an attack.
father has a broken arm, and possible neck trauma, son has severe facial fractures, broken jaw and nose. my god. pic.twitter.com/XFCSUzhVcN
— carlos (@b0redinbucks) June 25, 2016
According the user, one of the victims told him “english man beat me”.
The user reported then being contacted by newspapers for his story:
these "newspaper journalists" need to stop messaging me tbh, you drum up fear & hate daily then want to 'buy my story'? it's a no from me. x
— carlos (@b0redinbucks) June 26, 2016
The 52%-48% vote for leaving the EU came after a campaign dominated by immigration, and the economy.
In the week before voting, Labour MP Jo Cox, who was campaigning for a Remain vote, and championed the cause of Syrian refugees, was shot and stabbed to death in her West Yorkshire constituency.
A man is awaiting trial on charges connected to the killing.
On Saturday, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, whose rallies and rhetoric have sparked fist-fights and clashes with police outside his appearances, was in Scotland to welcome the Brexit result.
He also met with the owner of Fox News and the Sun and Times newspapers, Rupert Murdoch.
Just to make you feel better about the world – here's Rupert Murdoch meeting Donald Trump in Scotland this weekend. pic.twitter.com/N4shaqadDC
— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) June 26, 2016