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    #PolishBlood: British Poles Lay Down Tools to Stand Up to Racism

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    Members of the UK’s Polish community haven taken action to fight back against what they believe is institutionalized racism, with many workers taking the day off work to protest, while others have pledged to donate blood en masse to demonstrate the contribution of Poles to British society.

    It's thought that more than 1,000 Polish workers have taken the day off work to protest outside parliament in London as part of a push to make the community recognize and appreciate the contribution of Polish people in Britain.

    The demonstration comes amid two separate campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, urging UK-based Poles to donate blood to the NHS, with authorities struggling with a blood donor shortage.

    The blood donation campaign, organized by community group, the British Poles Initiative, took to Facebook to call for a positive reaction to combat anti-Polish rhetoric in the community.

    "We believe that a strike of Polish people in the UK could be extremely successful. Hundreds of thousands of people would not come to work for one day in order to counter the discrimination of Poles in the UK."

    "Nevertheless, we believe that the relations between Poles and Brits have been good lately and it is not yet the time to organize such a strike. Poles have enormously contributed to the British economy and are thankful to have many opportunities to work and study in the UK. Therefore we are strongly encouraging all Poles in the UK to donate blood on the 20 August, instead of striking, to foster British-Polish relations. The #polishblood campaign is another proof of the positive contribution of Polish migrants to the UK."

    Fighting Back Against Racism

    The recent push from Britain's significant Polish community to publicly speak of their contribution to the country comes amid criticism of the anti-immigrant rhetoric being pursued by factions of UK politics and others parts of society.

    Polish activists have spoken out against what they believe are the racist and xenophobic attitudes of some parts of the British population, with critics citing the media and some anti-immigration politicians for spreading the rise in anti-Polish rhetoric.

    In particular, the language used by some UKIP politicians and right-wing representatives of the Conservative Party has been highly criticized by Polish Brits, who say it belittles the role of Poles in the UK, with suggestions that many are in Britain purely to collect benefits.

    As a result, many Poles have said that taking the day off work will demonstrate just how hard they work in Britain, with suggestions they are being scapegoated in the ongoing immigration debate.

    Eurosceptic and anti-immigration elements of the Conservative party have been cited as a driving factor in what is perceived to be an aggressive push against immigrants in Britain, with leading politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, accused of using denigrating and dehumanizing language to describe immigrants.

    Cameron was recently criticized for describing asylum seekers trying to enter Europe as a "swarm" with many pointing out many of these people were risking their lives to escape war-torn countries in the hope of settling in Europe.

    Related:

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    'Disgraceful' UK Accused of Stirring Up Anti-Immigrant Sentiment
    Tags:
    blood donation, government, xenophobia, migrants, strike, ethnic Poles, British Conservative Party, Great Britain, United Kingdom, Europe
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