An anti-immigrant poster unveiled by Nigel Farage has been reported to the police under the pretext that it allegedly incites racial hatred.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the “vile” poster, which depicts a column of impoverished refugees under the text “BREAKING POINT”, breached race laws.
Side-by-side comparison between the poster and Nazi propaganda from the 1930s have been widespread on social media since its launch by the Ukip leader on Thursday in central London.
The advert provoked a strong reaction across the political spectrum, with Conservative MP Boris Johnson distancing himself from it its content, saying it was “not my politics”.
Labour’s refugee lead Yvette Cooper condemned its content, as did Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
“This is scaremongering in its most extreme and vile form. Leave campaigners have descended into the gutter with their latest attempt to frighten working people into voting to leave the EU,” Mr Prentis said.
“To pretend that migration to the UK is only about people who are not white is to peddle the racism that has no place in a modern, caring society. That’s why Unison has complained about this blatant attempt to incite racial hatred and breach UK race laws.”
The photograph shows migrants crossing the Croatia-Slovenia border in 2015. The fact that every visible person in the photograph is from an ethnic minority has led to accusations of dog-whistle racism.
The most scaremongering arguments for Brexit
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Mr Farage however defended the poster.
“This is a photograph – an accurate, undoctored photograph – taken on 15 October last year following Angela Merkel’s call in the summer and, frankly, if you believe, as I have always believed, that we should open our hearts to genuine refugees, that’s one thing,” he told reporters.
A spokesperson for Ukip said: "Ukip utterly reject the association, and would like to point out that Godwin's law applies here."
"Godwin's Law" is the idea that as discussion on the internet progresses, the liklihood of a comparison being made to the Nazis approaches one.
“But, frankly, as you can see from this picture, most of the people coming are young males and, yes, they may be coming from countries that are not in a very happy state, they may be coming from places that are poorer than us, but the EU has made a fundamental error that risks the security of everybody.”
The European Union referendum will take place on 23 June next Thursday. The deadline to register to vote has already passed.