In the aftermath of Brexit (the British referendum vote of whether or not to remain in the European Union), racist and xenophobic violence is reportedly on the rise in the United Kingdom.
According to the Independent, a man riding on a tram was verbally attacked by three teenage passengers, who threatened to “waste” him, and then threw a bottle of beer over him.
“Police have made three arrests after a group of teenagers allegedly launched a tirade of “disgusting” racist abuse at a passenger on a tram in Manchester, amid reports of a spike in hate crime following the EU referendum. “Bro, I’ll waste you, I’ll waste anyone,” one of the teenagers was filmed saying, brandishing what appeared to be a bottle of beer.“Don’t chat s**t when you’re not even from England, you little f**king immigrant. Get off the f**king tram now. Get back to Africa.”
The Independent is also reporting that “there were 85 reports of hate crimes to True Vision, a police-funded reporting website, between Thursday and Sunday compared with 54 reports over the same period four weeks ago.” According to Al Jazeera, xenophobic laminated cards reading, “Leave the EU-no more Polish vermin” have been posted in a Polish community in Huntingdon, as well as reports of xenophobic graffiti at a Polish community center in the same market town.
While British supporters of Brexit are now coming to terms with being misled about saving 350 million pounds once they left the European Union, the basis behind the rise in attacks can be traced back to the referendum’s openly racist and xenophobic public campaign. Aditya Chakrabortty of the Guardian writes that “none of this is coincidental, but is what happens when cabinet members, party leaders, and prime-ministerial wannabes sprinkle arguments with racist poison.”
“For months leading up to last week’s vote, politicians poured a British blend of Donald Trumpism into Westminster china. Michael Gove and Boris Johnson peddled their fiction about Turkey joining the EU. One didn’t need especially keen hearing to pick that up as code for 80 million Muslims entering Christendom. Foregoing any subtlety, Nigel Farage said allowing Syrian refugees into the UK would put British women at risk of sexual assault. In order to further their campaign and their careers, these professional politicians added bigotry to their armoury of political weapons.”
The Leave It campaign comes as thousands of African and Middle-Eastern migrants make their way across the Mediterranean Sea to escape impoverishment and war, many of them former colonies of England. In October of 2015, the European Union offered $3 billion euros in aid to Ankara, Ethiopia, and visa rules to stem Syrian refugees from entering the European Union. Quartz Africa reported in November 2015 that “more than 773, 000 migrants or job opportunities” entered the European Union, and “could reach 3 million by 2017.”