Bohuslav Sobotka tells British counterpart to protect EU nationals living in the UK after Zdeněk Makar killed in London
The Czech prime minister has asked Theresa May to take action to stop violence against Czechs in the UK following Britain’s vote to leave the EU.
Bohuslav Sobotka said he was “disturbed by the increase in hateful attacks in Britain aimed at the citizens of EU member states”.
He spoke to his British counterpart by telephone on Thursday after Zdeněk Makar, a 31-year-old Czech, was killed in east London this month. A 29-year-old man has been charged with his murder.
“The Czech government finds it unacceptable to see Czechs attacked because of their origin and being treated as second-class citizens,” Sobotka told May. “Therefore I asked the British prime minister … to let me know what measures her government will adopt to stop these hateful attacks.”
In a statement, Downing Street said May had offered her condolences after Makar’s death but stressed that police did not consider racism to have been the motive.
“She said that while we understood this particular incident was not considered to be a hate crime, the UK government condemned hate crime in the strongest way possible and it had no place in British society,” it said.
The killing of the Czech national follows the murder of a Polish man in August.
Police in Harlow, Essex, are investigating the murder of 40-year-old factory worker Arek Jozwik as a possible hate crime, although they have said the motive is still not clear.
Two Polish officers joined British police in the town after two Poles were also attacked outside a pub on 4 September.
British police said in July that hate crimes surged before and after the 23 June referendum in which voters chose to leave the EU following a campaign dominated by immigration.
Although police attributed the increase in part to greater vigilance by officers and greater awareness among the public, more than 3,000 incidents were reported to police across the country between 16-30 June, up 42% on the same period last year, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
The most common offence reported was harassment, including assault, verbal abuse and spitting.
Poland has also urged London to protect its nationals living in Britain, of whom there were about 831,000 in 2015.
Czech authorities put the number of their citizens working in Britain at 37,000.
Agence France-Presse in Prague