In the days after Britain's vote to leave the European Union on Thursday, people across the country have reported a rise in attacks or threats against foreign-born citizens or visitors, including threats of deportation and fights breaking out over racial slurs.

Many of the reports are coming from journalists. Sky News presenter Adam Boulton claimed he and his family had witnessed three separate incidents of when-are-you-going-home?-style abuse aimed at Europeans over the weekend.

Channel Four's Ciaran Jenkins said that within a five-minute span in the northern England town of Barnsley, three people had shouted "Send them home!" BBC reporter Sima Kotecha said that she was in "utter shock" after having returned home to the southern England town of Basingstoke and been abused with a racial slur she hadn't heard "since the 80s."

The National Police Chiefs' Council said there had been a 57 percent rise in hate crime complaints in the past four days compared to the same period last month, without saying how many of the complaints were legitimate.

Police said they were investigating vandalism at a Polish cultural center in west London and incidents in Cambridgeshire in which cards were given to Polish residents calling them "vermin" and ordering them to leave the country. 

"Before Friday we lived in a tolerant society," said Oana Gorcea, a 32-year-old Romanian who has lived in Britain since she was a teenager. "I've been here 13 years, but I've never felt like I had to hide where I came from. But from Friday, things completely changed."

Gorcea, who works for a multinational company in Rugby, about 85 miles northwest of London, said her street was being patrolled by "English commandos who walk around and try to intimidate non-white non-English people." The talk of the neighborhood was the dog feces shoved through a local immigrant family's mailbox.

Those who championed the campaign to pull Britain from the EU have condemned the attacks.

"I've never, ever, ever encouraged or condoned behavior like that, and I never, ever would," said United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, before adding that "the real prejudice is the prejudice that's been there for a decade or more against anybody that dares stand up against the establishment, anybody that dares to say that we shouldn't be part of the EU."

Other politicians didn't buy it.

"The leaders of the Brexit campaign have engendered an atmosphere where some people believe it is open season now for racism and xenophobia," said lawmaker Harriet Harman, a former leader of the opposition Labour Party.

Eastern Europeans, Muslims — even Americans and Germans — have reported acts of intimidation and harassment. Victims describe an emboldened angry fringe emerging to crow over Thursday's vote; a T-shirt sported by a man at an Armed Forces Day parade in the working class London borough of Havering over the weekend seemed to sum up the new attitude:

"YES! WE WON! NOW SEND THEM BACK."

Immigration was a key issue in the campaign, with Farage posing in front of a massive, truck-drawn poster carrying a photograph of hundreds of swarthy migrants under the words "Breaking Point." Many "leave" voters cited the influx of foreigners as a top concern.

"Just because of one referendum ... it's coming out like woodworms," said Julie Sauter Daoud, a French-German national who has lived in Britain most of her life. On Sunday she got a firsthand encounter with xenophobia when two men overtook her car shouting, "Go home, you (expletive) German."

She said the attack, which happened while she was driving down a residential street in the northern English city of Sheffield, left her so shaken she was even scared to speak French to her youngest child at the supermarket.

"It's terribly sickening," she said in a telephone interview. "The first time ever in my life. Ever." She paused for a second. "Probably not the last time now."

The 44-year-old's story is one of hundreds filling a Facebook group called "Worrying Signs," which is gathering evidence of the recent surge in intolerance. By late Monday the site was jammed with stories and photographs of sinister graffiti and even broken windows. Polish-British national Natalia Nicholls wrote on the site that her 14-year-old sister was taunted by boys at her high school in the Cotswolds region of England who boasted that "now we can get rid of the Polish and the blacks." Corinne Abrahams, 24, said she was returning from a music festival when she nearly got into a fight with an inebriated man yelling anti-foreigner epithets on the London subway. An American woman said she was recently accosted by people calling her a "Yankee (expletive)" in a parking lot.

The wave of rage has unsettled the country's political class, already in disarray following the Brexit vote. Prime Minister David Cameron, in his first appearance before lawmakers since the vote to reassure Europeans and other ethnic minorities living in Britain that they would be protected.

"Let's remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country," he said. "We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks. They must be stamped out."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.