Polish men attacked in 'hate crime' hours after murdered Pole's vigil in Harlow

Essex police treating 'vicious' incident as a potential hate crime

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The Independent Online

Two Polish men have been attacked hours after a vigil in honour of a Pole who was murdered in the same town, in what police are treating as a possible hate crime.

Poland has announced three cabinet ministers will be making an urgent visit to London following recent attacks on Polish citizens in Brtiain.

A Polish foreign misitry spokesman said Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro and Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak will lead the delegation, AFP reports.

Officers are investigating after the men, who are both in their thirties, were assaulted by a group of four or five males outside a pub in Harlow, Essex. Police were called to the “vicious” incident in the early hours of Sunday morning.

One of the men suffered a cut to his head and the other suffered a broken nose. Both victims have since been discharged from the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The attack comes a week after the murder of Polish national Arkadiusz Jozwik, 40, who was killed outside a takeaway in The Stow in Harlow on 27  August.

The latest incident is not being linked with the murder but police said they were stepping up patrols in the area to “protect the community”.

Superintendent Trevor Roe said: “This was a vicious and horrible attack. Although we are considering this matter as a potential hate crime, it is not being linked with the attack at The Stow last weekend.

“I want to reassure the public and the community in Harlow we are treating this very seriously and do not tolerate assaults of any kind."

The incident comes as Boris Johnson dismissed claims the UK is lurching towards “xenophobia” and invited Polish people to come to Britain as immigrants.

An estimated 700 people gathered to mourn the death of Mr Jozwik, with Polish nationals travelling from different parts of the country for the silent march, which was conducted on roads closed by Essex Police.

A wave of xenophobic abuse against Polish people was reported following the Brexit vote. Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki has said his staff have dealt with "15 or 16" hate crimes since the referendum.