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Police launch hate crime probe after threats over cafe's "refugees welcome " mural

A mural painted on the walls of the Junction cafe at Armley in Leeds was supposed to be a positive statement encouraging everyone through the door.

Instead - extreme reaction to the statement has prompted police to launch a hate crime investigation as Victoria Whittam reports.

Police launch hate crime investigation over threats to cafe

Staff at a cafe in Leeds have been threatened with violence because they made a point of welcoming refugees. A mural painted on the walls of the Junction cafe in Armley was supposed to be a positive statement encouraging everyone through the door. Instead extreme reaction to the statement prompted police to launch a hate crime investigation. Victoria Whittam reports.

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Cafe speaks out against negative reaction to 'Refugees Welcome' mural

Adam Smith from The Real Junk Food Project has spoken out about the reaction the cafe in Armley got when it painted a mural saying 'Refugees welcome.' He says there were physical threats made against staff members.

Police increase patrols after threats to cafe over 'Refugees Welcome' mural

The original mural before it was vandalised

Police have stepped up patrols in Leeds after cafe workers say they were threatened because they welcomed refugees.

Owners of Armley Junktion painted the words 'refugees welcome, everybody welcome' on the wall. They say the words were a positive statement highlighting that they are open to all, but the mural was vandalised and staff were threatened with violence when they tried to repaint it.

Police say they are treating the matter seriously. The cafe says they will not be putting the slogan back up in a bid to calm tensions in the area.

The cafe had to stop repainting the mural because of the abuse

Cafe 'targeted for welcoming refugees'

Police have stepped up patrols in Leeds after cafe workers claimed they were threatened - because they welcomed refugees.

Owners of Armley Junktion painted the words 'refugees welcome' on the wall. They say it was vandalised - and that staff even received death threats.

We are currently investigating the criminal damage at the cafe and treating it as racially-aggravated. We are also investigating a linked offence of publishing material to stir up racial hatred, which is related to social media.

We always treat incidents of this nature very seriously and are doing everything we can to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

We have visited the cafe to offer support and reassurance to the victims, and officers will be increasing patrols in the area. We will continue to monitor the situation closely while our investigations continue.

We would like to hear from anyone with any information that could assist our enquiries. We would also ask people to consider carefully any posts they make on social media in relation to these incidents.

– Insp Simon Jessup, West Yorkshire Police

Rallies welcome refugees

A series of rallies have been held across our region today aimed at highlighting the plight of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

Campaigners attach welcome banners to Doncaster's Mansion House. Credit: Phil Iveson

Under the banner " Refugees are welcome here " campaigners assembled in Doncaster, Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Hull, and Barnsley to urge the government to do more to protect and take in the refugees. A national demonstration was also held in London.

Campaigners are also helping to provide the refugees with practical aid by setting up collection points to receive donated clothing and other items.

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