Polish man subjected to racist attack in Edinburgh

Source: Evening News
by Gemma Fraser

A POLISH man today told how he was kicked and punched for 20 minutes by a group of racist attackers as one of them filmed the violence on a mobile phone.

Michalk Kasztelan, 28, was set upon by three young men who knocked him to the ground in the daylight attack in the city centre with other people around.

The victim, who has lived in Edinburgh for more than two years, said one of his attackers filmed the other two kicking him, before joining in himself.

Mr Kasztelan was treated at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after Tuesday night's attack, and he has been left with injuries to his eye, leg and arm.

He also has bruising across his face and body after he was kicked repeatedly by his attackers, who were all wearing sturdy labourers' boots.

He had been walking to his Leith Walk home when he was approached by the group on Rose Street at 7pm.

After realising he was Polish, the men started verbally abusing him and followed him to nearby Castle Street, where they began the attack. Mr Kasztelan, who works for a timber merchant in Livingston, said: "They asked me what I wanted from them and I said I didn't want anything. Then they realised I was Polish and said they hated Polish people and started to follow me.

"One of them was very young, about 18 or 19, and he recorded everything on his mobile. Then he started kicking me as well.

"My injuries are not serious but I visited the hospital and they gave me medication for pain."

Mr Kasztelan said there were a number of people in the area while he was being attacked, but no-one intervened, despite it being a prolonged assault.

His ordeal finally came to an end when his attackers were scared off by a taxi driver, who beeped his horn at them before offering the victim a lift.

The group, described as wearing labourers' clothes, were last seen heading west along Rose Street. Police today appealed for witnesses to the assault to come forward.

Mr Kasztelan said it was the first time since moving to the Capital that he had experienced any kind of racism, and said he has always found Scottish people to be "nice and friendly".

He said: "When they heard my voice and realised I was Polish they started to be much more aggressive and I'm sure that was the reason.

"All my friends in Poland and in Scotland can tell you that I'm an easy-going and very nice guy. I'm not looking for trouble.

It's the first time I have seen people who don't like people from Poland and I don't know why."

Police said all three attackers were white, with one aged 18-20 and the other two in their mid-20s. One of the older suspects was said to have a tattoo on his neck.

A police spokesman, who confirmed the assault was recorded on a mobile phone, said: "This was a completely unprovoked and racially motivated assault, which left the victim badly bruised and extremely shaken.

"The area of the city where the assault took place is normally fairly busy at this time of the evening, and we know there were several people who witnessed the incident.

"We want anyone who was in the area at the time and saw what happened to contact the police immediately. Similarly, anyone who recognises the description of the three suspects – who may have been drinking in the area earlier in the evening or working nearby – should also get in touch with us."