‘Happy Brexit Day’ poster telling residents to speak English being investigated as racially motivated incident

'We are now our own country again and the the Queens [sic] English is the spoken tongue here', notes say

Kate Ng
Sunday 02 February 2020 15:05
Brexit party in Parliament square following UK leaving EU

Police are treating a poster tacked on doors of a tower block telling residents they should only speak English as a “racially aggravated public order incident”.

The posters, titled ‘Happy Brexit Day,’ were found stuck on fire doors across every floor of Winchester Tower in Norwich on Friday morning.

The typed A4 sheet of paper said: “As we finally have our great country back we feel there is one rule that needs to be made clear to residents.

“We do not tolerate people speaking other languages than English in the flats. We are now our own country again and the the Queens [sic] English is the spoken tongue here.”

The note went on to tell anyone who wished to speak a different language to “return to [the country you came from]” and vacate the premises so “we can return to what was normality before you infected this once great island”.

A spokesman for the Norfolk Constabulary said: “Officers attended Winchester Tower last night and all posters had been removed. Those posters kept by residents have since been seized for forensic enquiries and we will be working with the council to examine any available CCTV.

“There is no place in society for hatred and intolerance. Nobody should have to face intimidation because of who they are and it is more important than ever that we stand together in the face of hostility. We remain committed to helping people feel safe and secure as they go about their lives.

“The matter is being dealt with as a racially aggravated public order incident and anyone with information which could help officers with enquiries should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting crime reference 36/7964/20.”

The posters were first spotted on 31 January, when the UK officially left the EU, and images of it were shared widely on social media.

Residents of the tower block and social media users condemned the poster, calling it a “disgrace”. According to the Norwich Evening News, several new posters with positive messages of support for foreign residents have been put up inside the tower.

One person said on Twitter: “Maybe Spanish people should attach the same sign all over Majorca, Canary Islands, the Mediterranean coast? Just asking myself as 600K Britons that don’t speak a single word of Spnish live there... Racist unicells organisms [sic] that think Britain is great.”

Anti-racism campaigners Stand Up To Racism’s Norwich branch organised a demonstration in response to the poster on Sunday.

The group wrote: “In response to the racist leaflets pinned to people’s doors and other racist incidents we have been told about in Norwich: Meet at 2pm at The Vauxhall Centre to hold hands and create a ring of love around Winchester Tower and ‘love bomb’ the area – bring paper hearts items that inspire love not hate.”

Mike Stonard, a city councillor for Norwich, told the Eastern Daily Press the posters were “abhorrent” and said: “Whoever put it there has committed a hate crime, it is as simple as that.

“Many people voted for Brexit for a range of different reasons however I am sure not many of them will condone this kind of thing.”