Fátima Lourenço, a Portuguese emigré living in South London, is just one of a number of EU residents in Britain who have suddenly become targets for racist attacks in the wake of the Brexit vote.
With MPs highlighting this apparently growing problem and the UK starkly ‘divided’ in terms of those who feel the outcome of the referendum should be respected, and those who vociferously do not, SIC TV has been featuring the case of Fátima, suggesting Portuguese people resident in UK are extremely worried.
“There are more doubts than certainties,” said SIC’s report. “People don’t know whether they will keep the jobs they have. With the increase to the cost of living, they do not know if they will be able to continue to afford even to live here.”
Increasing ugly incidents like the one Fátima endured just exacerbate the climate of uncertainty.
Fátima’s experience took place on Saturday, the day after the world woke up to Brexit. She was on her way to work, she told SIC, when a group of four white youths “almost men” approached her, waving an English flag.
“English, not British,” Fátima explained.
They spat at her, waved the flag in her face and then all started “shouting very loudly: Go back to your country”.
She said passers-by were horrified, and told her they were ashamed of what they saw, but even so, when she arrived back at work she says she couldn’t help it: “I cried. I felt so small, so small…”
Fátima’s greatest fear, she told SIC, is for her children who have grown up in England and feel completely at home there.
As SIC’s report concludes, it is the social, economic and political crisis that Brexit has created which will dominate negotiations between the UK now and the rest of the European Community.