Wales

Reports of racist abuse in Wales following Brexit

Shazia Awan Image copyright Shazia Awan
Image caption Shazia Awan said she has been subjected to racist abuse after the Brexit vote

Welsh public figures say they have been subjected to racist abuse following the EU referendum result.

Muslim Remain campaigner Shazia Awan, a former Conservative parliamentary candidate, received a Tweet on Friday saying: "Pack your bags....youre (sic) going home."

Cardiff's Butetown councillor Ali Ahmed said he was told to "get out of the country".

Both incidents have been reported to police.

Caerphilly-born Ms Awan, a businesswoman and PR consultant, told the the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I've not just had one, I've had an array of racial abuse."

"I'd like to read you an email I got which I found particularly worrying because one of these bigots had gone to the trouble of finding my personal details," she said.

"'You are not now, nor will you ever be, Welsh. Being born in Wales has nothing to do with being Welsh. I cannot wait to send you and the anti-white garbage that you stand for back to the third world dumps that you came from.'

"This is now a police matter. I've personally reported about eight people to South Wales Police and I would urge others to do the same."

Ms Awan said she believed the abuse was a direct result of the Brexit vote.

A South Wales Police spokesman said the force was taking the matter "extremely seriously" and was trying to trace the person responsible.

Chief Insp Daniel Howe added: "Since the referendum result last week, there has been no noticeable increase in reports of hate crime to South Wales Police in Cardiff. As always those that have been reported are being fully investigated."

Image copyright Cardiff Council
Image caption Cardiff councillor Ali Ahmed claims he was told to "get out of the country"

Labour councillor Mr Ahmed said he was talking to a friend in Roath, Cardiff, on Saturday morning when they were approached by a man who asked them how they voted.

When they replied they had voted to remain in the EU, they were subjected to a series of racist comments, according to Mr Ahmed.

"He said, 'When are you leaving?' and 'Get out of the country'," Mr Ahmed said.

"My friend was very angry. I was in a state of shock.

"Forty-one years of my life have been in the UK and it's the first time I've come across anything like this."

'Monitoring the issue'

Police and crime commissioner for North Wales Police, Arfon Jones, said he would monitor the issue after hearing reports of people being mistreated.

He told the police and crime panel he would discuss it with chief constable Mark Polin later this week.

Mr Jones's Gwent Police counterpart, Jeff Cuthbert, said people in the area had expressed concerns about the possibility of discrimination, but did not say there had been specific incidents.

Ch Insp Daniel Howe, of South Wales Police, said: "Since the referendum result last week, there has been no noticeable increase in reports of hate crime to South Wales Police in Cardiff."

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police said: "We've had one hate incident reported that is linked to Brexit, but that is all since Friday."

The force has seen a "significant increase" in hate crimes compared to last year - from 32 in June 2015 to 47 so far this month, but the spokeswoman said "we are not sure of the reasons".

First Minister Carwyn Jones said he would contact police commissioners following the reported abuse.

Image copyright Welsh Polish Mutual Association
Image caption This poster, accompanied by the hashtag #PolesinUK, was pinned to the door of the Welsh Polish Mutual Association in Llanelli

Meanwhile, in Carmarthenshire, workers at the Welsh Polish Mutual Association arrived on Monday to see a poster pinned to the door showing airmen and accompanied with the text: "Thanks for being here then... still glad you're here now #PolesinUK."

One of them, Joanna Pecherzewska, said: "We feel more safe because of this. I think this note should be shown to people. The Polish community here works hard and we are welcome here in Llanelli."

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