Polish community racism UK Brexit backlash
Police officers leave the Polish Social and Cultural Association after graffiti was painted on the side of the building calling on Poles to leave the United Kingdom, in Hammersmith, London a few days after the Brexit voteREUTERS/Neil Hall

An eight-year-old Polish girl was racially abused by her classmates and German cars vandalised in London as hate crime towards immigrants following last week's Brexit vote continues to surge. A Polish community centre was vandalised over the weekend and there have been similar incidents across Britain since the electorate voted for Brexit last Thursday (23 June).

Poles have been at the receiving end of several unpleasant incidents including cards being handed out in Cambridgeshire calling them "vermin" who should leave the country. Some members of the Polish community are so concerned that businessman Prince John Zylinski today (29 June) handed in a letter to the House of Commons asking for assurances about the status of EU immigrants. Zylinski, who received 40,000 votes when he stood in the London mayoral elections, said one woman told him her young daughter had been told to "**** off back to Poland."

"The Polish community, which I'm very well plugged into, is in a state of shock," Zylinski told The Standard. "They feel they are unwelcome and hated, and they need to be comforted. Politicians need to send a very clear message that the Poles are welcome because this could lead to riots and then the whole thing will escalate and get out of control.

"Just a few words from the key players can make all the difference. Leaders have got to come out unequivocally and tell the EU citizens here that they are welcome, they can stay and they are safe, and we will protect them with zero tolerance of hate crime."

In another sign of greater intolerance since the Brexit vote, 10 German-made cars were vandalised in Perrers Road, which is close to the Polish Centre. The cars, including Audis and BMWs — many of them owned by Britons — had Swastikas and offensive pictures scratched into their paintwork.

In Rugby, one non-English family reportedly had dog excrement shoved through the letter box. One Romanian told AP (via Haaretz) that her Rugby street was patrolled by "English commandos who walk around and try to intimidate non-white, non-English people."

Politicians from all sides have condemned the surge in hate crimes , and on Tuesday (28 June) a demonstration in solidarity with Europe and migrants outside Parliament attracted thousands of people. Some figures from the Vote Leave camp have been condemned for the tone of their message during the campaign, with Nigel Farage provoking particular ire for the now-infamous "Breaking Point" poster showing long lines of refugees.