Outcry at assault on Scottish teenager in Edinburgh

On 23 July, a Scottish teenager was left seriously injured after a racist gang attack in Edinburgh.

The 19-year-old, whose parents are from Poland, was confronted by at least 10 youths after getting off a bus. 

As the BBC reported at the time, the teenager and a 20-year-old Polish man were also racially abused.

Together with our partner organisations in Scotland and the UK, we wrote to the Sunday Herald. 

Our letter was published on Sunday, 5th August and we reproduce it below:

Dear Editor,

We condemn the assault on a young Polish man reported in The Herald on 24 July (Teenager hurt in racist attack).

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, there has been an alarming upward trend in such attacks, sometimes fuelled by the baseless assumption that EU27 citizens will be asked to leave when and if Britain exits the EU.

In a series of information and advice sessions earlier this year, New Europeans and our partner organisations found evidence of considerable anxiety amongst EU27 citizens in Scotland.

There was also concern about the impact that the uncertain status of EU27 citizens was having on community relations.

The UK government’s failure to secure the rights of EU27 citizens contributes to a climate of fear and encourages racism and violence towards members of the community who are now perceived to be more vulnerable because of the outcome of the referendum.

We recognise and welcome the positive welcome and support that the Scottish Government has given to EU27 citizens in Scotland. This recent assault, however, is a reminder that Scotland is not exempt from such attacks and hostility.

Anybody can report a hate crime by using the hate crime reporting form on Police Scotland's website or by contacting the police in person at a police station or by phone (999 for emergencies, 101 for non-emergencies).

Organisations such as Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equalities Council also serves as a third party reporting centre.

The assault on the Polish teenager in Edinburgh must be seen in this context. We therefore take the occasion of this assault to renew our call for immediate, comprehensive, unilateral guarantees for all EU27 citizens in the UK, whose lives have been thrown into an intolerable state of limbo.


Mark Lazarowicz, New Europeans Scotland 
Joanna Zawadzka, Migrants Scotland
Andrea Pisauro, Researcher at University of Glasgow
Lidia Krzynowek, Polish Cultural Festival Association
Magda Czarnecka, Feniks
David Bargna, New Europeans Scotland
Violeta Ilendo, Chair of Fife Migrants Forum​
Roger Casale, Chief Executive, New Europeans
Juuso Jarviniemi, Young European Movement UK
Satbir Singh, Chief Executive, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Vanessa Glynn, Chair, European Movement Scotland


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