'Trump effect' led to hate crime surge, report finds

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This graffiti was discovered the day after Donald Trump's election victory at a New York softball field.Image source, Wellsville NY Daily Reporter
Image caption,
This graffiti was discovered the day after Donald Trump's election victory at a New York softball field.

A prominent US civil rights group says it has identified almost 900 incidents of harassment following Donald Trump's win in the US presidential election.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is calling on Mr Trump to "act strongly to squelch harassment".

They also urge Mr Trump to "reach out to the communities he's injured".

Last week Mr Trump repudiated the fringe "alt-right" group whose members celebrated his election win with Nazi salutes.

The SPLC has released two reports into the aftermath of the businessman's win.

Along with representatives of teachers' unions and other civil rights groups, the SPLC outlines how they say Mr Trump's rhetoric and actions have affected US society.

The SPLC has been monitoring social media and news reports, and an online form that they have created for Americans to self-report hateful incidents.

Media caption,

The BBC spoke to a Muslim-American couple targeted by an abusive caller

"Mr Trump should take responsibility for what's occurring, forcefully reject hate and bigotry," the organisation said.

In their report, Ten Days After, they report finding hundreds of cases of attacks against minorities - including instances of violence and intimidation - some of which they directly link to the surprise Trump victory on 8 November.

"An awful lot of these crimes are directly linked to the Trump campaign in the sense that graffiti was left or words were shouted that directly invoked Trump," Senior SPLC fellow Mark Potok told the BBC.

Multiple instances have been recorded of black people being told to move to the back of the bus, a seating arrangement which was required under Jim Crow-era segregation laws.

The words "Whites Only" and "Trump Nation" were painted on to a church with a large immigrant population and a gay man was pulled from his car and attacked by an assailant who used a slur to say "the president says we can kill all you", the report finds.

In their second report, titled After the Election, The Trump Effect they surveyed 10,000 educators, finding that 90% have seen their school's climate negatively impacted by what they call the "Trump effect".

"It's time for our president-elect to use his voice to effectively and unequivocally denounce these hateful acts that are done in his name," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The report also finds that more than a quarter of the teachers observed incidents of bigotry and harassment "that can be directly traced to election rhetoric", including swastika graffiti, physical fights and threats of violence.

The SPLC has been very critical of Mr Trump's decision to appoint a right-wing media executive to the role of chief White House strategist.

The group accused Stephen Bannon of being "the main driver behind Breitbart [News] becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill".