Two men and a boy were arrested after a video showed a group of teenagers racially abusing a tram passenger who confronted them for swearing, before fellow travellers kicked them off.
Video footage shows three youths – who appear to be drinking from beer bottles – shouting at the man to ‘Get back to Africa’ as the tram travelled through Manchester city centre.
Moments earlier the man, who spoke with a foreign accent, had asked them to stop swearing because there were women and children on the tram between Shudehill to Market Street.
Two men aged 20 and 18 and a 16-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of affray by Greater Manchester Police following the incident at 7.40am – and they remain in custody for questioning.
The teenagers in the video responded to the man’s request to stop swearing by unleashing abuse, with one heard shouting ‘F***ing get off the tram now’ and ‘Don’t chat s*** or get deported’.
The man responds by saying ‘How old are you, 18 or 19? I have been here longer than you. You are extremely ignorant and unintelligent.’
In the clip fellow commuters can be heard shouting back at the teenagers, calling them ‘disgusting’ and a ‘disgrace’. Others can be seen shaking their heads in disgust.
Other tram passengers said the group were heard chanting ‘Salford, Salford, Salford’ on the Rochdale via Oldham tram as it reached Manchester city centre.
As the tram pulled into Market Street the teenagers flicked a drink, believed to be beer, in the direction of the man they were abusing which covered several passengers and a child in a pram.
Under pressure from other passengers, the youngsters got off the tram at Market Street, with the other tram travellers applauding the man for sticking up for himself.
A woman who was on the tram, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘When I was there I knew it was going to get serious. This kind of incident is really happening.
‘It needs to be noticed we don’t want these kind of incidents happening. The three men got off the tram at Market Street and it stopped there.’
Another tram passenger said: ‘The only good part of the whole thing was the guy on the tram then being congratulated for sticking up for himself and getting a round of applause.’
Chief Inspector Gareth Parkin of Greater Manchester Police said: ‘I would like to thank the public for their help and support in this investigation, which has led to the swift arrest of these three people.
‘All hate incidents are treated with the upmost severity and this behaviour will not be tolerated in Greater Manchester.’
The area’s mayor and police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd added: ‘There is no room in Greater Manchester for hatred and division. We have worked hard, together, to build strong, cohesive, and welcoming communities.
‘I encourage anyone who has been a victim of hate crime to come forward and report it.
‘Hate crime has no place in our society. The overwhelming majority of British people stand together against hatred and prejudice. These acts of racism are not in our name and will not be tolerated.’
FEARS OVER RACIST ABUSE RISE
Prime Minister David Cameron warned yesterday that hate crime must be ‘stamped out’ after police revealed a spike in racist abuse following the Brexit vote.
He said racist graffiti at a Polish community centre was ‘despicable’ and that verbal abuse had been hurled at ethnic minorities.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council said told of 85 reports to a website recording hate crime, from Thursday to Sunday – a 57 per cent rise on the same four days four weeks ago.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said he had asked Scotland Yard to be ‘extra vigilant’ for hate crime, while Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe pledged officers would ‘vigorously’ investigate any incidents.
BBC news presenter Sima Kotecha, 36, from Basingstoke in Hampshire, wrote on Twitter: ‘In utter shock, just been called p*** in my home town! Haven’t heard that word here since the 80s!’
Maria Miller MP, who has condemned the racist abuse suffered by Miss Kotecha in her constituency, said today: ‘There has been widespread coverage of an increase in reports of race hate crime in the past few days following the referendum vote.’
Meanwhile Cambridgeshire Police is investigating after cards reading ‘Leave the EU – no more Polish vermin’ were discovered.
Elsewhere officers are also investigating after online images appeared to show ‘F*** you’ painted on the Polish Social and Cultural Association in Hammersmith, west London.