Brexit Sparks anti-Polish
Feelings and Violence in Britain

by Robert Strybel

WARSAW — Several Polish government officials have traveled to London to meet local authorities over a string of racist attacks against the Polish community in the country.

One man was killed, and at least three others seriously injured in a several attacks in the town of Harlow, southeastern England. British officials condemned the attacks and promised to cooperate, but there is no way to prevent sporadic incidents other than assigning a police officer to watch every citizen.

One attack occurred just hours after over 700 people gathered in central Harlow to pay tribute to a 42-year-old Pole who died of injuries inflicted by a gang of 15-year-old thugs who heard him speaking Polish on the street. Even more common than physical violence is graffiti and leaflets saying things like “Polish vermin go home!”

Prime minister expresses regret. Britain’s new lady Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed regret over the series of attacks in the United Kingdom. In a telephone conversation, May assured her Polish counterpart Beata Szydło the British authorities would spare no effort to create a secure environment for Poles living in the UK.

In a film clip addressed to Poles living abroad and posted on social media, Szydło said: “We shall do our best not only to investigate all the circumstances of the recent events in Britain but also to make all Poles living and working in Britain feel secure.”

Poles could return home. Hundreds of thousands of Poles could return home from the UK over the next 5-10 years, once the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU becomes final, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

At present there are an estimated 900,000 to 1.5 million Poles working in the UK. During a recent visit to London, Morawiecki told BBC Radio 4 that hate crimes in the UK against Polish minorities might not be directly related to Brexit, but could pose a “question mark for Polish families in Great Britain.” “Poland has very low level of unemployment and highly educated staff, and businesses are growing as nowhere else in Europe,” he told the radio.




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