“Go back to your country”: In the aftermath of Brexit, there’s been a spike in hate crimes

A dark turn.
A dark turn.
Image: Reuters/Paul Hackett
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Hate crimes in Britain have dramatically shot up following the vote to leave the European Union (EU).

The number of incidents sent to a police-funded website for reporting hate crime increased by 57% (paywall) between June 23 (the date of the referendum) and June 26, when compared with the same period four weeks earlier, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Following Britain’s decision to leave the EU, xenophobic graffiti was found on the doors of London’s Polish community center. It was one of many incidences of hate crimes to be reported last week, with perpetrators telling their victims to “go back to your country.” A German woman who has lived in the UK since 1973 said that dog feces had been thrown at her door.

Prime minister David Cameron has condemned the rise in xenophobia after the vote.“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country,” Cameron said. “We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks, they must be stamped out.”

The Leave campaign was dominated by calls to restrict immigration in the run up to the referendum. The campaign was heavily criticized for stoking fears about immigration, with some branding the campaign as racist and accused of launching a xenophobic propaganda.

A video widely circulated yesterday (June 28) showed a man on a tram in Manchester being called “an immigrant” and told to “get back to Africa.” They also threw beer at him. “You are extremely ignorant and not very intelligent,” the man retorted. “Do you know that?”

The majority of attacks were carried out by teenagers, in predominantly educational establishments and public transport. In the last year, a new report by monitoring group Tell MAMA suggests that it’s women who have been disproportionately targeted by Islamophobic attacks. It warned that the UK entering “unchartered territory“ after the referendum.