UK hate crimes surge on Brexit and militant attacks

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis talks with a member of staff as he leaves his office in Downing Street in London on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 01 November 2017
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UK hate crimes surge on Brexit and militant attacks

LONDON: Hate crimes in Britain surged by the highest amount on record last year, official figures showed on Tuesday, with the vote to leave the European Union a significant factor.
The Home Office (interior ministry) said there were 80,393 offenses in 2016/17, a rise of 29 percent from the year before and the largest percentage increase since the figures were first collated five years ago.
While better recording by police was one reason, last June’s vote for Brexit which sparked attacks on some eastern European communities, was another significant reason.
“Part of the increase since 2015/16 is due to a genuine increase in hate crime, particularly around the time of the EU referendum,” the Home Office report said.
The report also noted that race hate crimes, which made up the vast bulk of all hate crimes, had increased after a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London killing four people before stabbing a policeman to death outside parliament.
“The Westminster Bridge attack occurred on the 22 March 2017. Although there were only nine days remaining in March when the attack took place, an increase is still apparent,” the report said.
In August, police said hate crimes had spiked in the aftermath of three attacks this year blamed on Islamist militants but that the number had decreased quickly in the following days.


Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

Updated 24 min 17 sec ago
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Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

  • Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory

LISBON: Portugal has suspended the issuance of entry visas for Iranian nationals for unspecified security reasons, Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Answering a question from a committee member on whether such a move had been taken, Santos Silva said during the televised meeting: “Yes, we suspended those for security reasons ... I will provide explanations later, but not publicly.”
“Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory,” he added, without disclosing when the decision was taken.
The chairman declared the meeting closed after about two hours without further off-camera testimony.
Joao Goncalves Pereira, the lawmaker from the conservative CDS-PP party who asked the question, told Reuters: “We received information that visas for Iranians had been suspended for two or three weeks, and we just wanted to confirm that.”
He would not say what was the source of that original information or whether any Iranian nationals had complained about the situation.
Foreign ministry officials had no immediate comment and nobody was available for comment in the Iranian embassy in Lisbon.