England: Arsonists attack Polish family in Plymouth
Unidentified perpetrators have set fire to a shed near a home occupied by a Polish family in Plymouth, a town in the southwest of England. The family also received a letter threatening to attack them directly next time.
Police are investigating the case as one of racially motivated violence. According to the BBC, the victimized family has been grappling with such threats since last month's referendum in which most voters cast ballots for the country to leave the European Union.
The arson attack occurred late last night. The fire destroyed equipment stored in the shed, including a bicycle and electric lawnmower.
Nobody was physically injured during the blaze, but the family received an anonymous letter today reading "Go back to your [expletive deleted] country next be your family." Ewa Banaszak, a 22-year-old member of the victimized family, told the press that she no longer feels safe in Britain.
"It has been very intense after the referendum, with people saying 'go back to your own country'," she told the BBC. "We have been here for such a long time. I will always be Polish but this is our home, where we live and work."
Representatives of the Plymouth Police said they were appalled by the crime, which they believe has a racist subtext. They assured the public they are determined to apprehend the perpetrator of the arson, which in their view could have threatened the lives of those occupying the adjacent house.
Banaszak said Polish people in Britain are afraid to speak Polish in public now given the currently festering atmosphere there. However, she said she has decided to remain in the country and not to return to Poland.
Incidents targeting Polish immigrants have significantly risen in number after the referendum on Brexit. UK PM David Cameron responded to the incidents at the end of June by promising his country will not tolerate displays of national or racial hatred and will deal with them.
A crucial factor that decided the referendum outcome was voters' views on immigration, especially from the post-communist countries of the EU. By far the largest number of immigrants working in Britain come from Poland in particular.
Almost one million Polish citizens are now living in the United Kingdom. Critics of the campaign advocating for Brexit allege that those in favor of Britain leaving the EU frequently resorted to xenophobic rhetoric and abused the issue of migration.
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