Polish attack: Leeds Stand Up to Racism statement

Leeds Stand Up to Racism has issued a statement after an attack on a Polish man in the city.
Leeds Stand Up to Racism has issued a statement after an attack on a Polish man in the city.

We wish to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those affected by the assault on the Polish man in Armley’s Alliance Street on Friday.

The 28-year-old man was seriously injured by up to 20 youths. This attack comes as this month commemorates the deaths near Skipton of seven Polish airmen who died in 1943 resisting the Nazi war machine.

There is an ongoing police investigation regarding the incident and the motives and details are still yet to fully emerge. Some of the media coverage of the incident has been sensationalist and irresponsible. We do not wish to add to the speculation surrounding the incident itself.

However, it is clear that following the incident, particularly in light of the media coverage, many of Leeds’s migrant community feel vulnerable and unwelcome, especially after the attacks in Harlow ending in the tragic death of Arkadiusz “Arek” Jozwik.

We, therefore, must make it absolutely clear that Leeds is a proud multicultural city and the home of many principled anti-racists. We saw this with last month’s magnificent Chapeltown Carnival. We see this with the More in Common event 10 days ago in commemoration of the tragic death of Jo Cox MP. We saw this with the recent Black Lives Matters rallies over the summer. We saw this with the amazing generosity shown to the many convoys to the Calais refugee camp. And we have seen this with the large delegations we take every year to the annual Stand up to Racism March in London on UN Anti-Racism Day.

But there is still work to be done. Sadly there has been a rise in reported hate crime in recent months and this must be challenged. The blame lies with the constant scapegoating of immigrants by politicians and the mainstream media. This is why we also have to challenge the hypocrisy of the establishment who peddle hate and then wring their hands when tragic events happen.

We say that migrants are not to blame for the problems we face in Leeds or nationally. Migrants did not cause the global financial crisis, migrants did not cut local government funding to Leeds and migrants did not cut funding to our NHS. These problems were caused by greedy financiers and corrupt politicians.

This is why we are rallying in Briggate (outside the Bodyshop) on Saturday, September 17, from noon in support of refugees and migrants. Please join us and support: refugees and migrants are welcome in Leeds.

Signed:

Greg Mulholland MP

Steve Johnston, Leeds Trades Union Council

Jane Aitchison, President, Leeds Trades Union Council

Coun David Nagle

Coun Alison Lowe

Coun Kevin Richie

Coun Alice Smart

Coun Alex Sobel

Coun Patrick Davey

Asgar Khan, CWU Amal No 1 Branch, Political Officer

Dr Christian Hogsbjerg, University of Leeds

Kevin Pattison, CWU

Ros Campbell, UNITE

Sally Kincaid, Wakefield NUT Divisional Secretary

Victoria Jaquiss FRSA

Ian Stephenson, Yorkshire Regional Secretary NUT

Kate Mayer, Secretary, Leeds Stand Up to Racism

Laura Miles, UCU, retired

Louise Regan, Senior Vice President, NUT

Caroline Thistlethwaite, Unite Community Leeds

Brian Mulvey, Vice-President, Leeds Trades Union Council

Patrick Murphy, Leeds Divisional Secretary and NUT National Executive

Alex Claxton-Mayer, Students Stand up to Racism

Alasdair Beal

John Davies, Secretary, Leeds Trades Council

Michael Blackwell, UNITE, retired

Peter Shaw, UNITE construction

Andy Stafford, UCU representative, University of Leeds

Stacey Booth, GMB and Armley resident

Patrick Hall, Leeds Trades Council

Paul Belbin

Remi Salisbury, UCU Leeds University

Grace Roberts, University of Leeds

Ray Brown

Rosanne Marsden

Joe Hughes Bloc

Leda Prest

Jamal and Karren El Kheir

Karen Renshaw

Stuart Gibson

Ally O’Riordan

Sue Mills

Dr Sarah Waters, University of Leeds

Helen Barnes

Gogliola Sulis

Cecile De Cat

Dr Richard Hibbitt, University of Leeds

Juan Munoz-Lopez

Toby Chelms, Youth Anthems

Sheila Hall

Kauser Jan

Ann Callarman

Andy Lee, Central Secretary, CWU

Mike Davies, Chairman, Alliance for Green Socialism

Warren Smith

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YEP Letters: November 16