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Community in Cliftonville and Margate call for action against racist and offensive graffiti

A community is calling for action against racism after shocking and offensive graffiti was daubed across road signs and walls.

The words White Lives Matter and swastikas were sprayed on property in Dane Valley and Cliftonville - which has a large ethnic minority community - and racist stickers supporting Hitler put up.

A road sign was daubed with White Lives Matter
A road sign was daubed with White Lives Matter

Upset residents believe not enough is being done to stop the behaviour and are demanding action from authorities, including MP Craig Mackinlay, who has recently been accused of failing to acknowledge racism in the district.

Dan Higgins, who lives near to Dane Park, says neighbours have been shocked by the actions of some.

"There's racism in every community and this needs to change," he said.

He believes Mr Mackinlay needs to stand up for communities and acknowledge that it is happening.

Mr Higgins added: "I think there's a changing demographic in Margate in the sense that we had the Turner Prize, there are a lot of freelancers and artists coming to live and work in the area - it's becoming a cultural hub which doesn't sit well next to this type of behaviour."

Resident Amer Chadha Patel, who lives in Cliftonville, came across racist vandalism in Approach Road including the phrases White Lives Matter, 'Hitler Was Right', 'National Socialist Zone' accompanied by swastikas and the Neo Nazi symbol.

He has written to Mr Mackinlay calling for action.

Racist graffiti in Margate is being investigated by police
Racist graffiti in Margate is being investigated by police

"There was a monumental display of anti-racist support in Margate on June 10 as organised by the local anti-racism group People Dem Collective," he said.

"It was an incredibly powerful response from the local area, clearly proving that racist behaviour is not welcome by (some) Thanet residents.

"It also showed a huge amount of positive allyship to Thanet's minority residents like myself.

"As a person of colour all I can really ask of my local community is that it proves to me that racism is something I won't have to suffer and this march did a lot to show me that."

But Mr Patel says since the protest he has had to endure countless posts on social media and comments demeaning that show of solidarity.

"Other comments invoke the phrase All Lives Matter," he said.

Nazi messages have been posted on lamposts and buildings
Nazi messages have been posted on lamposts and buildings

"I feel I do not need to explain to you how this phrase is incredibly triggering in a racist context and how its very existence demeans the struggle against racism in the wake of the BLM marches."

Mr Mackinlay says he is alarmed to see the outbreak of graffiti in Cliftonville which purports to support Hitler and denigrate the Black Lives Matter campaign.

"Whilst I do clean up graffiti myself from time to time, I have alerted Thanet District Council as have many members of the local community to ask for immediate action," he said.

"I additionally know that the police have been made aware of these incidents. I hope that between them this offensive graffiti will be swiftly removed.

"One of the most powerful actions that the local community could take is to take matters into their own hands and get involved with removing this and other graffiti as it appears.

"The sooner such offensive words and markings are taken down, the less likely they are to reappear."

A spokesman for the Kent Anti-Racism Network branded those responsible for the graffiti "racist dogs".

"We are appalled at the abhorrent racist graffiti recently seen in Margate," he said.

"We believe it is important to stand alongside each other and work collectively to create the change which is so obviously needed.

"We need to remain focused on the challenges ahead and make new connections with sisters and brothers within the community.

"Let’s make sure the toxic brand of racist dog whistle politics spread by some is forever consigned to the dustbin of history."

Police are investigating reports of offensive graffiti and material on street furniture and buildings in several roads in the Dane Valley area and Cliftonville on July 1 and 7.

Anyone with information is asked to call 01843 222289 quoting 46/116043/20.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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