Leith resident forced to remove EU flag after threatening graffiti, verbal abuse and eggs thrown at window

A Leith resident has been forced to take down an EU flag outside their window after being the target of threatening graffiti, verbal abuse and having eggs pelted at their window.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 8:46 am
The EU flag before it was taken down. Pic: Anne Balfour

Vandals initially sprayed various profanities on the front door of a block of flats in Cables Wynd and scribbled the phrase "Is EU windows fireproof," in retaliation to the flag being put up the day before.

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'Are EU windows fireproof' - Leith residents 'disgusted' by threatening graffiti...

Speaking to the Evening News, the flag owner said they decided to keep the stars flying despite the "hate crime" but, on Wednesday, were advised by police to take it down for now in a bid to de-escalate the situation.

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The EU flag before it was taken down. Pic: Anne Balfour

The resident, a European national who wants to remain anonymous, said: "They (police) emphasised that the aggressive reactions to the flag were absolutely unacceptable, and that for the current moment with how the general discussion and Brexit issue is heating up, it would not be a sign of backing off against the exposure to hate crime - which we all believe we shouldn't - but rather being wise and calm in the face of blind an ill-guided aggression. So we took the flag in."

The resident said that, following the spate of graffiti which appeared last week between Friday and Sunday, police initially suggested there was no need to take it down as it would show those responsible they can get what they want through such aggressive actions.

But on Sunday, a family member was also the subject of verbal abuse while standing at the window.

And on Wednesday, the resident said that eggs were thrown at their window.

The graffiti on the front door. Pic: Anne Balfour.

Speaking about the language of the graffiti, they said: "It's sad this has happened. It's my first time experiencing hate crime but, fortunately, I've had a positive community response so did not feel threatened but I'm not sure if anyone else was feeling threatened by that. Needless to say, it's not our intention to cause any such response.

"I'm a European national and have lived in Leith for six years and all I've experienced so far is open-heartedness and kindness and a positive sense of community.

"Interestingly enough, there has been so many people expressing their support and rejecting this hateful response and it shows people in Leith and Scotland overwhelmingly feel that sense of community."

Speaking about their decision to hang the flag outside their window, the resident said: "I think it's as an open sentiment that I believe in the positive strength of community and I see that in the EU and in the community in the block of flats we live in.

"In a community we have to stand up for each other and look out for each other. In current times I'm standing up for these values but I never meant to provoke - it was meant to be peaceful and silent."

They added: "Overall we are having such a positive experience and want to stay here. It's sad what is happening in government and politics and I accept other opinions and just want to live in peace. This is a fantastic country that we love."

Other residents in the block have also reported the graffiti to police.

Anne Balfour, who has lived in the block of 11 flats for more than 13 years, told the Evening News she was disgusted and upset by the vandalism on the front door and walls either side.

She posted a picture of the graffiti on Facebook and many have joined her in condemning the language.

One, Lawson Mcculloch, wrote: "Really small minded people that behave like this."