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Poland to make urgent UK visit following attacks on Poles

There was an upsurge in number of reported hate crimes around the period of the June 23 referendum in which Britons voted to leave the EU

AFP | PTI  |  London 

Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

today announced three ministers would make an urgent visit to London following attacks against its nationals in Britain, including a murder which may have been a hate crime.

Announcement of the government delegation to Britain came hours after two Polish men were assaulted in a British town, following a vigil for a fellow Pole killed in August.

There was an upsurge in the number of reported hate crimes around the period of the June 23 referendum in which Britons voted to leave the European Union.

"In connection with the recent incidents targeting Polish citizens in Britain, the following ministers are planning an urgent trip to London: Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro and Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak," foreign ministry spokesman Rafal Sobczak told Polish media.

The date of the visit had not yet been finalised, Sobczak said.

"This was a vicious and horrible attack," said police official Trevor Roe of the most recent attack, which took place at around 3:30 am today.

One man suffered a broken nose and another a cut to the head during the attack outside a pub in Harlow, which is northeast of London, police said.

"Although we are considering this matter as a potential hate crime, it is not being linked with the attack at The Stow last weekend," he added, referring to the killing of factory worker Arek Jozwik.

Jozwik, 40, was killed in Harlow on August 27 and hundreds of people attended a vigil in his memory yesterday.

Six teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the murder and released on bail. While police are investigating whether it was a hate crime, they say the motive is still not clear.

Yesterday, Waszczykowski urged Britain to keep Poles safe from xenophobia in comments that followed talks with visiting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Warsaw.

"We're counting on the British government and authorities responsible for the safety of British and European citizens, including Poles, to prevent the kind of xenophobic acts we've seen recently," he said.

Some 800,000 Poles are thought to live in Britain, one of its biggest minority groups, under EU rules allowing freedom of movement between member states.

First Published: Mon, September 05 2016. 00:32 IST
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