Lithuanian woman attacked in UK due to her origin in wake of Brexit vote
Laura Gudauskienė, a female of Lithuanian origin residing in Great Britain, was attacked last week in a small town in Eastern England by a local resident because of her origin.
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In an interview with BNS Lithuania, Gudauskienė said that anti-immigrant sentiments have escalated since the Brexit, the recent referendum where British nationals voted to leave the European Union (EU).
Gudauskienė, who works as an interpreter at the local police office, also said that local authorities were highly responsive to complaints filed by migrants, encouraging fellow Lithuanians to turn to the police without doubts.
Recalling the last week's attack, Gudauskienė said she stood up for a man who spoke poor English at a post office after he had been insulted by another man wearing an England shirt.
"He grabbed the man by his shirt and said he was Polish and should go home soon. The man was intimidated and was about to leave the post office, and I asked the men why they were saying this. I simply could not leave this. After hearing my accent, the man said I was also Polish and I would also go home soon. I said they should not say things like that, it was unacceptable. He said he could speak what he felt like, as we had been voted out of the country and would have to leave soon," she said.
Gudauskienė said she replied she would not go anywhere, that she had been living in the country for 13 years, and that she was paying taxes and had a job. In response, the man continued his insults and started pushing her around. The female said she still has a bruise after the incident. She reported the incident to the police and the circumstances were confirmed by several eye-witnesses.
The Lithuanian national said this was the first time she faced a similar situation following Brexit and was in shock.
"I have been living in this country for a long time, there have been cases when they are not happy with you not speaking English, some have asked about our coming here, if we don't speak English. However, this is the first time in my life when someone told me to get out of the country, this was a major shock," she added.
Asked whether Lithuanians could have contributed to the dislikes by the local population, Gudauskiene said: "I believe every nation includes people who are bad, and there's nothing you can do about it. That's life. But I don't think that Lithuanians have done something worse in England than people of other nationalities to be hated for it."