Spaniards report xenophobic attacks after Brexit vote

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Spaniards report xenophobic attacks after Brexit vote
Photo: AFP.

Spaniards living in the UK have reported facing more discrimination, as police investigate a rise in racist and xenophobic attacks since the UK voted to leave the EU.


One case that has grabbed Spanish headlines recently is that of a Spanish school in London that found xenophobic graffiti daubed across its walls. 

The Vicente Cañada Blanch Institute in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood found the words “foreign pack” scrawled on a gate just before the referendum vote on June 23rd.

The school with some 500 students, most of whom are Spanish, is concerned that such incidents may be prompted again when they incorporate the Spanish flag into the uniform next year, according to newspaper El Pais.

“With the uniform it will be much easier to identify the children as foreigners. We’re afraid that they will be attacked,” parent Juan Miguel Garrido told the newspaper

British police reported last week that there has been a rise of 57 percent in the number of hate crimes reported since the vote. Videos posted on social media have gone viral, showing people shouting down others they believe to be non-British.

The UK has seen a surge in Spanish people flocking to move there for work in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis that has hit the Iberian country particularly hard.

Between 2015 and 2016 alone, officials recorded a jump of more than 11,000 more Spaniards living in the UK.

In another incident, a Spanish tapas restaurant in Honor Oak, southeast London, was attacked the Sunday after the Brexit results came in when someone threw a brick through the window, according to online newspaper El Español. But no Spaniards work at the restaurant.

A nearby Turkish restaurant also had its windows smashed and police have been investigating the attacks.

Other Spaniards in the UK told 20minutos that since the Brexit vote, the atmosphere towards them has been “cold” and that there have been more altercations.

One woman who has lived in Birmingham for six years told the Spanish daily that she has witnessed two occasions where teenagers yelled at foreigners to “go back to your country”, though she also said “we Spaniards pass unnoticed”.

Still, sometimes her co-workers say things with both sarcasm and sincerity like “when will you be deported?”

And while others said that they had not faced any discrimination first-hand, they did say the situation was “troubling”.


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