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racist attack manchester tram

Watch this shocking footage of a racist attack in Manchester

Since the announcement of last Friday’s referendum result, the UK has seen a spike in hate crimes and xenophobic abuse

Shocking footage of a racist attack on a Manchester tram surfaced on social media this morning, just one day after Sadiq Khan told the public to “stand guard” against a rise in post-Brexit hate crimes.

The horrific clip, which was filmed at 7.40am this morning (June 28), shows three Mancunian teenagers hurling abuse at a tram passenger. According to witness reports, the drama began after the unidentified man told the group to stop swearing in front of the children. “Get back to Africa,” one of them appears to shout in response. “Don’t chat shit or get deported,” says another, while holding a beer.

The man, who appears to be from North America, retaliates by asking the boys their age. “How old are you?” he says. “18 or 19? I have been here longer than you! You are extremely ignorant and unintelligent”.

Eventually, the teenagers are filmed leaving the tram; but not before throwing some of their beer across the man and some other commuters.

“When I was there I knew it was going to get serious,” one anonymous witness told the Manchester Evening News. “This kind of incident is really happening. It needs to be noticed we don’t want these kinds of incidents happening. The three men got off the tram at Market Street and it stopped there.”

“The women on the tram started crying,” she added. “It was really horrible. When I was walking back to my work I was crying all the way. I couldn’t control myself.”

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The incident, which was described as “disgusting” by the GMP’s chief inspector, is sadly not an isolated one. Since last Friday’s shock referendum result, police from across the country have reported a sharp spike in similar attacks – with True Vision reporting 85 incidents between Thursday and Sunday, and the Muslim Council of Britain releasing a gallery of “100 hate incidents” on Monday.

The rise can at least be partly attributed to the heavy anti-immigration message pushed by both the ‘Leave’ campaign and the right wing press. Accused of promoting “lies, xenophobia and the politics of hate” by Tory MP Sayeeda Warsi, the campaign has played heavily on people’s fears of immigrants; stoking public paranoia with false rumours and Nazi-like propaganda. It’s a growing tension that became terrifying palpable just one week before the referendum, when Labour MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered by a self-proclaimed “political activist” who wanted to “keep Britain independent”.

Unfortunately, though, it seems like the Brexit result has offered some validation for these divisive and disturbing mindsets. In the last five days, instances of racist and xenophobic attacks have noticeably risen – and have even spawned their own trending hashtag on social media (#PostRefRacism). 

Somewhat ironically, despite all the hateful rhetoric, the referendum result won’t necessarily make any change in the UK’s border policy. Despite building a campaign off the back of immigration fears, Boris has since backtracked on his original promises that he would clamp down on border control; assuring the public that the country will not be “isolated” from Europe. In fact, it’s now more likely that the UK will have to adopt a policy similar to Norway, in which we trade free movement for access to the EU’s single market – essentially making no difference to our current situation.

While it’s easy to get despondent, there is still some good to be gleaned from these incidents. These attitudes – which are obviously abhorrent – have clearly been simmering under the surface for years. The more public they become, the more likely we are to be able to address them.

“It's really important we stand guard against any rise in hate crimes or abuse by those who might use last week's referendum as cover to seek to divide us,” stated Sadiq Khan yesterday. “In every corner of our city, including those few areas where the majority voted to leave, people of all nationalities, races and religions live cheek by jowl, in harmony.”

“I say to them all you are, and you will continue to be, welcome in London and in all our communities. As Mayor, I take seriously my responsibility to defend London's fantastic mix of diversity and tolerance.”