Calendar of Racism and Resistance (1 – 14 July 2020)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (1 – 14 July 2020)


Written by: IRR News Team

A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.

G. Miessi ©


8 July: BLM protesters join a rally outside the Tudor Rose in Southall, the only black-owned and black-run music venue in west London, which the council wants to demolish in order to sell the land to Peabody. (BLM Twitter,  8 July 2020)

11 July: Days after a social media outcry about the treatment of a young black man shouting ‘I can’t breathe’ while being restrained by three police offices in Brighton, thousands of people march in the city in support of Black Lives Matter. (BBC News, 11 July 2020)

11 July: Hundreds attend a Black Lives Matter protest in Hull, which remembers the death of Christopher Alder in 1998 and is addressed by his sister Janet who is still seeking justice and accountability. Other BLM protests are held in central London, Hackney and elsewhere. (BBC News, 11 July 2020)

15 July: A statue of a Black Lives Matter protester, titled ‘A surge of power’, is erected on the plinth where slave trader Edward Colston’s statue used to be in Bristol. Mayor Marvin Rees says ‘The future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol’. (BBC News, 15 July 2020)


Police and military – targeted quarantine

14 July: Following residents’ protests, soldiers are sent to Amantea, in Calabria, to patrol apartment buildings where 13 rescued Bangladeshi migrants who tested positive for coronavirus on disembarkation at the nearby port of Rocella Jonica have been placed under quarantine. A note from the prefecture reads ‘the soldiers will not allow the migrants to leave the welcome centres’. The authorities later say they will move the migrants to Rome. (Guardian, 14 July 2020)

Policing – general

1 July: Police monitoring groups criticise the police after an injured 16-year-old was stopped and searched by a policeman from whom he sought help after being attacked by far-right opponents at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in London. (Guardian, 1 July 2020) 

1 July: A branch of the Metropolitan Police in east London is criticised for a tweet saying that ‘kicking down doors’ is one of its ‘favourite things’ to do. The post, from the account of the Safer Neighbourhoods Team in Homerton, Hackney is deleted about an hour after its publication following criticism from other Twitter users. (Guardian, 1 July 2020)

Homerton Police has since deleted this Tweet

2 July: In his latest annual report on the State of Policing, Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Thomas Winsor, says disproportionality in stop and search risks alienating young black men, interfering with the stated aim of improving diversity in policing. (Guardian, 2 July 2020) 

4 July: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) refers for police investigation complaints from a 30-year-old black film location consultant from Tottenham, north London, that his car windows were smashed in on 29 May by police who accused him of concealing drugs, forced him out of the car to the ground, threw him against a wall, handcuffed and drug-tested him and detained him for 12 hours, as he was on his way home from a TV interview about institutional racism containing video footage of him being stopped and searched the week before. (Guardian, 4 July 2020)

5 July: Video footage shows two black athletes trained by former Olympic champion Linford Christie removed from their car and handcuffed by police officers while with their 3-month-old son in Maida Vale, west London. Christie accuses the police of racial profiling, and one of the athletes, Bianca Williams, later says it feels like ‘being black is a crime’. The couple are considering legal action. (Guardian, 5 July, Guardian, 6 July 2020)

6 July: Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence, tells a parliamentary committee on black people, racism and human rights that she was stopped by police while driving late at night shortly after the racist killing of her son in 1993. (Guardian, 6 July 2020)

6 July: German interior minister Horst Seehofer cancels an official justice and interior ministry study into racial profiling in the police force, saying there is ‘no need’ for it as the practice is already prohibited. Anti-racist groups are outraged, with speculation that pressure from police trades unions accounts for Seehofer’s U-turn. (Deutsche Welle, 5 July, Deutsche Welle, 8 July 2020)

7 July: Margaret Smith, mother of Jermaine Baker, who was shot dead by armed officers outside Wood Green crown court in December 2015, welcomes the appeal by the IOPC against the High Court’s quashing of its directive to the Met police to bring disciplinary proceedings against the officer ‘W80’ for unjustified use of force. Criminal charges were dropped in 2017 and the Met has refused to discipline the officer, claiming he acted in self-defence. (Guardian, 7 July 2020)

7 July: Police Scotland divisional commanders write a strongly worded letter to local authorities calling on them to do more to stop anti-racist protests and counter-protests, citing safety risks related to coronavirus, lack of resources and the knife attack at the Park Inn Hotel. (BBC News, 7 July 2020)

8 July: The Metropolitan police apologise to Bianca Williams, the British athlete who was stopped and handcuffed by police alongside her partner while her baby son was in the car, the force’s chief tells MPs. (Guardian, 8 July 2020)

8 July: It is revealed that the Metropolitan police carried out 22,000 searches on young black men during lockdown – the equivalent of searching more than a quarter of all black 15- to 24-year-olds in the capital. Commissioner Cressida Dick defends her force’s use of stop-and-search powers, saying black people are eight times more likely to be perpetrators of violent crime, but new data shows more than 80 per cent of all stop-and-searches between March and May led to no further action. (Guardian, 8 July 2020)

9 July: An officer from West Midlands police is sacked by a misconduct panel for making racist and inappropriate comments about colleagues, after the force successfully challenged the final written warning an earlier disciplinary panel imposed for the offence. (Coventry Observer, 10 July 2020)

9 July: Peter Beuth, interior minister of the state of Hesse, appoints a special investigator after it emerges that a Frankfurt police computer was used to search for personal data on left-wing politician Janine Wissler, who later received threatening letters and emails from neo-Nazis, signing as NSU 2.0. Beuth claims there is no network of right-wing extremists in the police. (Guardian, 9 July 2020)

9 July: Benjamin Hannam, a serving probationary Met police officer who worked in frontline policing in north London is charged with membership of banned far-right terrorist group National Action and suspended. (Guardian, 9 July 2020)

10 July: The IOPC announces an inquiry into whether there are ‘systemic issues’ of race discrimination in the police, following revelations of extreme disproportionality in stop and search figures and a string of high-profile cases. (Independent, 10 July 2020)

10 July: Security firm G4S is fined £44 million by the Serious Fraud Office in an agreement to avoid a fraud prosecution for overcharging the Ministry of Justice for electronic tagging of offenders, some of whom had died, in a dishonest effort to boost its profits. (Guardian, 10 July 2020)

10 July: A prisons inspectorate report on local prisons in Leeds, Thameside and Winchester finds prisoners bored and frustrated, locked up for up to 22.5 hours a day, sometimes in cramped shared cells, with no visits, promised video facilities for virtual visits not in place, and punishments at Leeds including depriving prisoners of showers. (HM Justice Inspectorates, 10 July 2020)

13 July: German parliamentarians accuse the police of ‘pure racism’ after a local police chief in Stuttgart said he was investigating whether German youths who clashed with the police in the city in June were the children of immigrants. Social media users dub this ‘family tree research’ and draw parallels to the Nazi regime, which used ancestry research to track down people with Jewish bloodlines. (Deutsche Welle, 13 July 2020)

14 July: It emerges that personal data about German comedian Idil Baydar, who for months has been at the receiving end of abusive and threatening messages from ‘SS Obersturmbannführer’, could have been accessed unlawfully from a Hesse police computer, making the third such case. The head of Hesse state police resigns. (Deutsche Welle, 14 July 2020)

15 July: The IOPC decides it does not need to investigate the tasering of 62-year-old Millard Scott on 21 April, as it had received ‘no public complaint or confirmation the man involved sustained a serious injury’, and sends the case back to the Met for internal handling. (BBC News, 15 July 2020)

False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare by Medact

2 July: A Medact report on the Prevent duty in healthcare shows that Asians are reported to Prevent panels four times as often as non-Asians, and Muslims are reported eight times as often as non-Muslims. The report concludes that tools used to train health workers to assess radicalisation risks contain racial bias. Read the report here. (Medact, 2 July 2020, Independent, 3 July 2020)

12 July: Former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell writes to the justice secretary demanding implementation of a promised review, already two years late, of secret courts, which he says are being used to ‘hide embarrassing evidence of state wrongdoing’. The demand comes after a court ruled that a judicial review of the involvement of British intelligence agencies in torture and rendition must be held in secret. (Guardian, 12 July 2020)


See also policing 

2 July: Belgian far-right party Vlaams Belang re-inscribes the Congo monument in the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels with the French and Dutch words for Arab (arabe and arabisch) to protest ‘the current iconoclasm and apology cult’. (Brussels Times, 2 July 2020)

6 July: A second LGBTQ bar, Cox, is spray-painted with swastikas in Paris, after the Banana Café was graffitied on Friday. (LGBT Nation, 6 July 2020)

8 July: It is reported that the Dutch intelligence agency paid far-right activist Richard Prein, circle leader of the NVU party’s provincial department in Noord-Brabant, around €3,000 to inform on the party’s activities and its links with the populist FvD party, and to infiltrate the neo-Nazi Racial Volunteer Force, and that Prein channelled some of his informant wages back into the NVU. (NL Times, 8 July 2020)

9 July: Germany’s intelligence services report that right-wing extremism now poses the biggest threat to the country’s security, with a sharp increase in right-wingers prepared to use violence in 2019. Members of Alternative for Germany faction The Wing (Flügel), who comprise 20 per cent of AfD’s membership, are considered a threat to the constitution. (Deutsche Welle, 9 July 2020) 


12 July: More than 70 UK faith leaders call on chancellor Rishi Sunak to use the G20 finance ministers’ meeting this week to urge debt cancellation for 77 low-income countries which are facing the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, to prevent catastrophic hunger for a quarter of a billion people in the world’s poorest nations. (Guardian, 11 July, Guardian, 12 July 2020)

13 July: As aid spending comes under the remit of the Foreign Office, the ONE campaign’s index of the UK’s aid spending says too much aid goes on projects that fail to reduce poverty, with £21 million spent by the Home Office on preventing migration and smuggling, £287 million on frontline diplomacy and £20 million on a programme in China which aims to ‘produce commercial benefits for international companies’. (Guardian, 13 July 2020)


3 July: Hungarian Fidesz MEP Balázs Hidvéghi accuses the EU of failing to protect its borders and demands that all refused asylum seekers should be forced to leave Europe. (Hungary Today, 3 July 2020)

6 July: In the Croatian general election, the far-right nationalist Homeland party, led by the folk singer Miroslav Škoro, wins 16 seats, making it the third-largest parliamentary party. The right-wing Croatian Democratic Union is expected to enter into a coalition government with the nationalists. (Guardian, 6 July 2020)

6 July: Care leaders, unions and MPs express their anger at prime minister Boris Johnson after he accuses care homes of failing to follow proper procedures, saying he is seeking to shift the blame for the high death toll after the government rejected public health officials’ calls for a strict lockdown of care homes at the height of the pandemic. (Guardian, 7 July 2020)

6 July: Labour leader Keir Starmer says he will undergo ‘unconscious bias’ training amid criticism of his response to the BLM movement and suggestions that the party is losing the support of BME communities. Critics say his response Indicates failure to understand the reality of structural racism. (Guardian, 6 July 2020)

7 July: University of Manchester research finds that only 7 per cent of all councillors in the UK are from a BME background and that lack of representation is ‘perpetuating racial inequality and disadvantage’ in the UK. (Sky News, 7 July 2020)

12 July: Home secretary Priti Patel is criticised for claims that ‘cultural sensitivities’ prevented a robust response to the Covid-19 outbreak at a garment factory in Leicester, with critics observing that cuts to regulators, limited inspections and an absence of trades unions were the biggest cause. The Sunday Times says Patel is concerned that police and government agencies are turning a blind eye for fear of being labelled racist. (Guardian, 12 July 2020)


See also employment, policing

1 July:  Local authorities in places in England reported to be close to experiencing another lockdown, such as Bedford, Oldham, Blackburn and Kirklees, all known to have larger than average ethnic minority populations, say the data needed to prevent fresh outbreaks of coronavirus is being withheld from them. (Guardian, 1 July 2020)

1 July: A full statutory inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic is needed to lay bare the elements in society that are deeply racialised, says Lord Woolley, chair of the government’s race disparity unit’s advisory group, in a call backed by Inquest. (Guardian, 1 July 2020)

2 July: ONS analysis of Covid-19 deaths in England shows that low-paid manual workers are at a greater risk of dying than white-collar workers, with suspected cases doubling in a week. The return to work has inevitably led to an increase in outbreaks in workplaces, which Public Health England (PHE) did not make clear at the time, recording it under ‘other settings’. Prisons are recorded as the only other setting in the last week where cases rose, from two to four. (Guardian, 2 July 2020)

4 July: After the announcement that Leicester would be excluded from the easing of lockdown, a number of explanations arise, ranging from central government failure to provide local authorities with relevant data, overcrowded housing, and problems in communication with members of the Gujarati community with limited England and no access to TV or smartphones. (Guardian, 4 July 2020)

8 July: It is reported that sanitary measures to control the spread of Covid-19 are being enforced more strictly with migrants than with tourists in the Autonomous Communities of Spain. Diagnostic tests are carried out on all migrants who arrive by boat, but not at airports and official borders. (El Diario, 8 July 2020)

9 July: The government announces that tens of thousands of people whose jobs put them at high risk of catching Covid-19, including taxi drivers, cleaners and shop workers, will be tested although they have no symptoms. (Guardian, 9 July 2020)

12 July: Research from University College London reveals that a fifth of vulnerable people in Britain have thought about self-harm or suicide during lockdown, as psychiatrists warn of an increase in mental health referrals, and the National Child Mortality Database reports 25 likely child suicides in the first 56 days of lockdown. (Guardian, 12 July, Guardian, 13 July 2020)

13 July: Research by Amnesty International reveals that the UK has the second-highest global rate of Covid-19 healthy worker deaths in the world (behind Russia), with more than 540 health and social worker deaths in England and Wales, from 3,000 global fatalities. Some evidence suggests that more than 60 per cent of health workers who died identified as BME. (AI press release, 13 July 2020)

13 July: Compelling evidence from the Netherlands indicates that air pollution significantly increases coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and deaths. (Guardian, 13 July 2020) 


See also health, welfare

30 June: A Guardian report reveals the struggles of low-paid outsourced hospital cleaners for decent pay and conditions and to be brought back in-house. (Guardian, 30 June 2020)

1 July: Business secretary Alok Sharma pledges to investigate claims by campaign group Labour Behind the Label and others that Leicester garment factories ordered sick employees to carry on working despite the pandemic. (Guardian, 1 July 2020) 

3 July: The National Crime Agency visits factories and businesses across Leicester to investigate concerns about working conditions in garment factories, as a labour rights researcher say conditions are worse than anything in Bangladesh, China or Sri Lanka. (Guardian, 3 July 2020)

3 July: Deutsche Welle  interviews distraught Romanian migrant workers at the Tönnies meat processing plant in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, who describe low wages, exploitation, particularly through subsidiary contracting chains like MGM, and cramped living conditions, saying they’re frightened and ‘No-one is looking after us’. Watch a video here. (Deutsche Welle, 3 July 2020)

6 July: Fast fashion retailer Boohoo agrees to investigate how workers in Leicester making its clothes are paid only £3.50 an hour, and working in conditions putting them at greater risk of catching Covid-19. A 2017 inquiry by Parliament’s Human Rights Committee revealed appalling conditions and sub-minimum wages in Leicester’s garment factories, where most workers are from minority ethnic groups, and a 2019 parliamentary report criticised Boohoo for refusing union recognition. (Guardian, 6 July, Daily Mail, 6 July 2020, Human Rights and Business, Parliament, April 2017, Sustainability of the Fashion Industry, Parliament, 2019)

6 July: Aboubakar Soumahoro, a well-known and outspoken Italian trade union activist working predominantly with agricultural workers in Italy, goes on hunger strike to highlight the exploitation of migrant agricultural workers and to call on the Italian government to do more for the workers, saying the regularisation package does not go far enough or cover those needing it. (Info Migrants, 6 July 2020)

Aboubakar Soumahoro Twitter account

10 July: As investors and retailers shun Boohoo despite the company’s appointment of a QC to review its supply chain, immigration enforcement teams join health and safety inspectors and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) in Leicester’s garment factories, where workers allege practices including lock-ins, under-recording of hours and confiscation of identity documents. (Guardian, 7 July, Guardian, 8 July, Guardian, 10 July, Guardian, 11 July 2020)

13 July: Another fast-fashion retailer, Quiz, suspends a clothing supplier whose subcontractor’s Leicester factory was reported to be paying below the minimum wage and possibly as little as £3 per hour. (Guardian, 13 July 2020)

13 July: After 73 workers at a vegetable farm and packing business supplying supermarkets test positive for coronavirus and 200 workers are quarantined there, three run away as former workers describe poor working conditions and the impossibility of distancing in the packing shed or in shared caravans. (Guardian, 12 July, Guardian, 12 July, Guardian, 13 July 2020)


1 July: BME households are twice as likely to live in poverty as their white counterparts, finds the latest annual report by the Social Metrics Commission, with nearly half of black African-Caribbean families in poverty compared with just under one in five white families. (Guardian, 1 July 2020)

6 July: Philip Alston, the outgoing UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, says that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the ‘utterly inadequate’ and ‘outrageous’ state of Spain’s ‘broken, underfunded’ social protection system, highlighting in particular the plight of Roma and migrant workers. (Guardian, 6 July 2020)

8 July: London councils call on the government to suspend the controversial ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) immigration condition during the coronavirus pandemic to prevent a rise in homelessness. (Guardian, 8 July 2020)

10 July: Universal credit is costly, inefficient and pushes claimants into debt and hardship with its controversial five-week wait, while there is still no evidence that it fulfils its stated aim of getting more people into work, says a new report by the National Audit Office. (Guardian, 10 July 2020)

10 July: Spain’s secretary of state for social rights, Nacho Álvarez, says that it is ‘unacceptable’ that 90 percent of the Roma population in Spain are at risk of poverty and that they experience an unemployment rate twice as high as the Spanish national average. (El Diario, 10 July 2020)

12 July: Cases of malnutrition among children have doubled in the past six months, with almost 2,500 children admitted to hospital, according to freedom of information responses, prompting fresh concern that families are struggling to feed themselves. More than 11,500 children have been admitted to hospital with malnutrition in the UK since 2015. (Observer, 12 July 2020)


28 June: The UN warns the British government that its failure to strip combustible cladding from high-rise buildings containing tens of thousands of homes may be a breach of international law requiring safe housing. Three years after the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed seventy-two lives, of which sixty-five were ethnic minorities, 300 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England built or refurbished with similar aluminium composite cladding are yet to be removed or replaced, official figures show. (Guardian, 28 June 2020)

kcw1939 ©

1 July: The campaign group Generation Rent calls on the government to suspend evictions for rent arrears arising from the pandemic, an increase in the amount of and eligibility for housing benefits, and a scheme to clear arrears not covered by the benefits system that would guarantee 80 per cent of landlords’ incomes. Recent polling shows 13 per cent of private renters are behind with rent, compared to just 4 per cent before the pandemic. (Guardian, 1 July 2020)

1 July: Councils across England are systematically breaking the law by relocating hundreds of homeless people outside their boroughs without notifying the authorities receiving them, an investigation finds, with northern cities such as Bradford receiving large numbers from the south-east without the legal notice enabling social, medical and educational support to be put in place. Schools are being overwhelmed, and many people are being left without necessary support. (Guardian, 1 July 2020)

3 July: A Nuffield Foundation report on lockdown living conditions exposes a generational divide, with young people aged 16-24 in England living in homes with on average half the floor space of older people, much less likely to have a garden, more often living in a derelict or congested neighbourhood. The report also finds that nearly 40 per cent of under-16s from BME households have no obvious garden, compared with 17 per cent of white children, and nearly a quarter live in a poor-quality environment. (Guardian, 3 July 2020)

6 July: The Grenfell inquiry reopens but survivors, families and residents are excluded from the hearing in Paddington and must watch the proceedings online. (Guardian, 6 July 2020)

6 July: A protest outside Hackney Town Hall and a crowdfunder support Sistah Space, a specialist domestic and sexual violence support service for women of African Caribbean heritage, who are at risk of having their organisation returned to a building which they say is unsafe and unsuitable for their needs. (Sisters Uncut twitter, 6 July 2020, Hackney Gazette, 10 June 2020)

8 July: A probation inspectorate report finds that over 3,500 prisoners were released into homelessness from 2018 to 2019. (Guardian, 8 July 2020)

8 July: The fire engineer on Grenfell Tower, Terry Ashton of Exova, did not look at plans showing the proposed over-cladding of the building before advising that the works would not increase the risk of fire spreading, he tells the inquiry. (Guardian, 8 July 2020) 


6 July: After a campaign by a former student, a dossier of complaints from 30 Asian, Black, and Polish students from St Augustine’s RC High School is sent to Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish government. Senior staff at the school are alleged to leave unchallenged phrases such as ‘go back to where you came from’, ‘Muslims are terrorists’ and ‘Chinese people eat dogs’, which are commonly heard, say the students. (Edinburgh News, 6 July 2020)

6 July: More than 300 academics and students write an open letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson and to higher education funding councils, regulators and representative bodies, criticising universities for their ‘tokenistic and superficial’ support for the Black Lives Matter movement and their poor record on tackling institutional racism. (Guardian, 6 July 2020)

6 July: City University in London ditches the name Cass from its business school amid concerns about the fortune made from the slave trade by Sir John Cass, the 18th-century merchant it is named after. The name was added in 2002, after a £5m donation from the Sir John Cass’s Foundation. (Guardian, 6 July 2020)

7 July: The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, warns in a new report that more than 120,000 teenagers in England with a history of exclusion, persistent absence from school and periods missing from care could ‘fall off the radar’ and slip out of education without focused intervention as the country comes out of Covid-19 lockdown, with teenagers in Liverpool, Medway and Blackpool the most likely to fall through the gaps. (Guardian, 7 July 2020)

7 July: GCSE exam data collated by the Guardian shows that although schools are permitted to teach black history, as well as the history of peoples outside Europe and the US, few of them do, with lack of money, time and knowledge cited as obstacles to improving the curriculum. Read the report in full for more specific data. (Guardian, 13 July 2020)

8 July: Following a decision by the Belgian Constitutional Court affirming the right of universities to forbid the wearing of the headscarf, #HijabisFightBack organises several demonstrations in Brussels. (Global Citizen, 8 July 2020)

13 July: Beckford primary school in West Hampstead, in consultation with Camden Council, announces it will change its name. The school is named after William Beckford, a former Lord Mayor who was an 18th-century slave owner. (Evening Standard, 13 July 2020)

13 July: Five children with special educational needs have killed themselves in Kent in the last five months, says the county’s director of integrated children’s services, adding that they may have found it particularly hard to cope without the routine of school. (Guardian, 13 July 2020)

14 July: Half of all UK pupils whose exams were cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 crisis have not been provided with any schoolwork since lockdown began, according to research by the National Foundation for Educational Research. (Guardian, 14 July 2020)


30 June: As Belgium’s King Philippe expresses his deepest regrets for the violence and brutality inflicted during his country’s rule of Congo, on the 60th anniversary of the country’s (now DRC) independence, campaigners in Uganda and Sudan seek the removal of monuments to British colonialists and the renaming of streets commemorating them. (Guardian, 30 June, Guardian, 1 July 2020)

2 July: Historian and broadcaster David Starkey is condemned after claiming on an online broadcast that slavery was not genocide because of the survival of ‘so many damn blacks’. The following day, Starkey is dropped by his publisher HarperCollins UK, and he is removed from two academic posts. Starkey later apologises for his remarks. (Guardian, 2 July,  Guardian, 6 July 2020)

3 July: The damaged bust of Belgian King Leopold II, removed from a park in Halle, Flanders, is returned there by the city council pending discussion on its future, with an inscription stating that ‘Halle does not give in to vandalism’. (Brussels Times, 3 July 2020)

5 July: Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune asks the French president to take the next step in the ‘appeasement process’ and apologise for the colonial occupation of his country, after the return of the skulls of 24 Algerian resistance fighters decapitated during France’s colonial rule. (Al Jazeera, 5 July 2020)

7 July: An art project commemorating the life of Khadija Saye, who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, is launched in Notting Hill, west London. (Guardian, 7 July 2020)

9 July: Speaking ahead of his new exhibition at Houghton Hall, artist Anish Kapoor criticises art gallery ‘tokenism’ in relation to diversity and calls for ‘rethinking what cultural representation means.’ (Guardian, 9 July 2020)

11 July: Twitter suspends the accounts of the far-Right Belgian student organisation Schild & Vrienden group and 70 other white nationalist organisations and individuals linked to identitarian movements in Europe. (Brussels Times, 11 July 2020)

12 July: The Labour party joins the Facebook advert boycott led by the Stop Hate for Profit campaign ‘in solidarity with Black Lives Matter’. Whilst the party and its MPs will continue to use the platform, it will not pay for targeted advertising for a month to protest Facebook’s ‘failure to take down hateful content.’ (BBC News, 12 July 2020)


1 July: Plymouth Argyle fans launch a campaign to raise funds for a bronze statue of former player Jack Leslie. One of the few black players in the football league at the time, Leslie is believed to have been denied the chance to play for England in 1925 due to his race. (Guardian, 1 July 2020)

8 July: The West Indies and England cricket teams take the knee before the first test match, with West Indies players also raising gloved fists, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. (Guardian, 8 July 2020)

9 July: Wycombe Wanderers’ player Adebayo Akinfenwa, 38, complains of being called a ‘fat water buffalo’ by an opponent during the team’s League One play-off game against Fleetwood Town on 6 July. (Standard, 9 July 2020)

12 July: Lewis Hamilton and 11 other drivers take a knee before the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria, and Hamilton gives a black power salute on winning the race, saying he is in a lifelong struggle to fight racism. (Guardian, 12 July 2020)

13 July: After Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha shares images of racist abuse received via Instagram, leading to the arrest of a 12-year-old boy, and Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick also shares racist abuse online, Kick it Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association demand tighter regulation of social media. (BBC News, Guardian, 13 July 2020)


Asylum and migrant rights 

1 July: The asylum claim of Tunisian human right activist Nacer Amari, who fled Tunisia in 2012 after receiving death threats, is rejected by Danish authorities on the basis that his atheism and human rights activism will not cause issues on his return. (Humanists International, 1 July 2020)

2 July: A 45-year-old man is reported to have killed himself in the Greek Oinofyta camp after his third asylum application is rejected. (Are You Syrious, 3 July 2020)

7 July: Twenty-five unaccompanied minors from the Aegean islands refugee camps in Greece travel from Athens airport to Portugal, which will accommodate 500 young people from a total of 1,600 who wanted to leave Greece. (El Diario, 7 July 2020)

2 July: The Home Office faces criticism from the Commons Home Affairs Committee for making Windrush compensation claimants prove claims for loss of earnings and reimbursement of medical and student fees ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, a standard of proof used to convict defendants in criminal trials. At least five people have died before receiving any compensation. (Huffington Post, 2 July 2020)

6 July: As the Domestic Abuse Bill moves to its report stage, the Step Up Migrant Women coalition of more than 50 BME, migrant and rights organisations, calls for help to be extended to all domestic abuse survivors, regardless of their immigration status, to remedy the ‘gaping hole’ in the legislation. (BBC, 6 July 2020)

9 July: One in three people seeking asylum in Europe on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity have their claims rejected because of a ‘culture of disbelief’ and an ‘impossible burden of proof’, say researchers at the University of Sussex. (Guardian, 9 July 2020)

11 July: The number of people refused under the EU settlement scheme surges by 700 per cent in a month, according to newly published Home Office data, prompting concerns about the scheme less than a year before the deadline for EU nationals and their family members to apply. (Independent, 11 July 2020)

13 July: The government publishes ‘guidance’ on a new immigration regime in force from January, in which fees for visas go up, there are English language tests for most categories of entrants, and minimum salary thresholds are retained, with care home staff excluded from the fast-track visa system. Lawyers describe the guidance as confusing and incomplete, while the National Care Forum executive director calls it ‘an unmitigated disaster’. (Independent, 13 July, Guardian, 13 July 2020)

Reception and detention

3 July: A report by the National Audit Office reveals that private firms contracted by the Home Office to deliver asylum accommodation have failed to meet acceptable standards, leaving hundreds of asylum seekers unable to access schools or GPs for months. (Independent, 3 July 2020)

2 July: The European Court of Human Rights condemns the French government for failing to protect several asylum seekers who slept on the streets and received no aid while their asylum requests were being processed, and orders it to pay three claimants between €10,000 and €14,000 in compensation. (Al Jazeera, 2 July, El Diario, 2 July 2020)

3 July: Residents of Los Nietos and San Antón in Murcia, Spain, protest over the transfer of quarantined migrants who arrive in small boats from Africa to their neighbourhoods, where they are to stay in flats provided by Red Cross. The protesters deny racist motivation. (El Diario, 3 July 2020)

6 July: Charities warn of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Glasgow, with asylum seekers reportedly left malnourished in ‘slum housing’, and campaigners call for an independent public inquiry into the Home Office’s asylum system and its effects on refugees in Scotland. (Morning Star, 5 July, Morning Star, 6 July 2020)

Borders and internal controls

4 July: As the mental health of the 180 rescued migrants on the Ocean Viking deteriorates, with six suicide attempts and fights breaking out, SOS Méditerranée declares a state of emergency on board. Seven requests have been made to Italy and Malta for a safe port, with Italy eventually responding with the telephone number of a psychologist. (Al Jazeera, 4 July 2020)

6 July: The SAR ship Ocean Viking is finally authorised to make port in Sicily and transfer the 180 rescued people aboard to the government-chartered ship Moby Zara for a 14-day quarantine. (The Local, 6 July 2020)

8 July: Malta allows the disembarkation of around 50 people, mostly from Somalia and Djibouti, rescued five days earlier by the Lebanese animal transport ship MV Talia. Italy had refused permission to land in Lampedusa, although the migrants were living in dirty conditions previously used by animals. (Al Jazeera, 8 July 2020)

9 July:  Just days after Sea-Watch 3 starts its first mission since Covid-19, the Italian authorities ban the vessel from leaving Sicily, citing ‘several irregularities’ of a technical nature, with the crew saying that the ‘administrative seizure’ is just an excuse to block its life-saving mission. (Deutsche Welle, 9 July 2020)

Criminalising solidarity

10 July: A Nice court orders charges dropped against 73-year-old Amnesty volunteer Martine Landry, who helped two young Guineans cross back into France following their arrest and return to Italy, for which she faced up to five years in prison and/ or a €30,000 fine. (Digital Journal, 13 July 2020)


7 July: Darrell and Darren Roberts, 24-year old twins who were born in London and have never left the UK, face deportation to different countries in the Caribbean where they have no close relatives, the Guardian reports. The twins’ siblings say they believe Ealing social services was negligent for failing to organise citizenship when they were children. (Guardian, 7 July 2020)

13 July: Ministers will be empowered to deport or exclude foreign nationals, including EU citizens, who have received a prison sentence of a year or more, under new rules presented by home secretary Priti Patel, which come into force in January 2021. (Independent, 13 July 2020)


1 July: A woman driving a Mercedes convertible racially abuses a man and punches him twice in the chest during a road rage incident in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire. (Northants Live, 3 July 2020)

1 July: Racist graffiti is scrawled outside a Turkish family’s home in Hackney, east London, telling the family to ‘go back to Turkey’ and ‘English family need house’. Anti-racist organisation Hackney Stand Up To Racism posts an image on its Facebook page. (Hackney Gazette, 7 July 2020)

3 July: The warehouse fire that engulfed the Chios camp in March was started by arson and targeted one of the volunteer vans, an investigation finds. No one has been arrested. (Are You Syrious, 3 July 2020)

3 July: Nottinghamshire police appeal for information following an incident in Stapleford on 27 June in which a man threw a bicycle and a can of coke at the owner of a newsagent’s and hurled racist abuse after refusing to pay for an item. (Nottingham Post, 3 July 2020)

3 July: Police investigate a possible xenophobic motive after a 10-year-old Afghan boy is shot with a plastic bullet in Chemnitz, east Germany, where in 2018 migrants were subjected to a far-right racist manhunt. (Deutsche Welle, 3 July 2020)

4 July: Janine Wissler, the parliamentary leader of the Left Party in the German state of Hesse receives a death threat signed ‘National Socialist Underground 2.0’ which contains private personal information. This comes shortly after a Left Party politician, Stefanie Kirchner, is attacked in Bavaria. (Deutsche Welle, 4 July 2020)

4 July: Racist graffiti is scrawled on the door and electricity meter of a house in Aylesbury occupied by a mother and son. Thames Valley police are investigating. (Mix96 FM, 7 July 2020)

4 July: A rock is thrown through the living room window of a 37-year-old businesswoman’s house in Truro, Cornwall, and her car tyres are slashed, in a racially motivated attack, the culmination of weeks of intimidation after she attended a local Black Lives Matter protest on 15 June, when she was subjected to monkey chanting and racial abuse. At the protest, one white man was arrested for causing racially aggravated public distress, and three BLM protesters were arrested for affray. (BBC News, 7 July 2020)

5 July: The public prosecutor’s office of Valencia opens a hate crime investigation after a video goes viral showing a Black man of Guinean origin being violently arrested on the Valencia metro on 3 July by two security guards, who accused him of not wearing his mask ‘properly’, despite the fact that many white people in the same carriage wore their mask ‘half off’. (Público, 9 July 2020) 

5 July: A parked car is badly damaged and racist graffiti spray-painted on it in what police accept is a racially aggravated criminal damage incident in Lowestoft. Suffolk police are seeking witnesses. (Eastern Daily Press, 6 July 2020)

6 July: A woman and her friend are attacked in a pub in Bristol for ‘speaking loudly in Polish’. Their attacker is filmed shouting ‘you’re in England now’. (Mirror, 6 July 2020)

6 July: Police investigate reports that a group of teenagers shouted racist abuse and damaged cars after coming to Cornwall on holiday on 4 July, the first day that tourists were legally allowed to visit the region after lockdown restrictions were eased. (Cornwall Live, 6 July 2020)

7 July: Racist graffiti saying ‘locals only’ is found sprayed in two places on a house in Belfast for the second time in two weeks. (Belfast Live, 7 July 2020)

8 July: Avon and Somerset police appeal for witnesses and information regarding a racially aggravated public order offence in Frome on 20 June, when a man-made highly offensive and racist comments towards a woman in her 20s and her 18-month-old child. (Avon and Somerset Police, 8 July 2020)

9 July: A Shipley Green Party town councillor tries to clean off racist graffiti which he found between Shipley and Saltaire, Yorkshire, referring to people from ethnic minorities as ‘vermin’ and ‘dogs’. He says ‘it was quite sickening to know that someone in our community holds such outrageously racist and hateful views’. (Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2020)

9 July: After a spate of racially motivated attacks, Labour MP Dawn Butler closes her constituency office in Willesden, Brent due to safety concerns. (Metro, 9 July 2020)

10 July:  Four teenagers aged between 14 and 18 are arrested after an attack at an Edinburgh Japanese restaurant, the Maki & Ramen, on 4 July, in which two 33-year-old men suffered minor injuries. (Daily Record, 10 July 2020)

10 July:  Men in face masks, one armed with a knife, attack a group of six or seven young people playing football late at night in Edinburgh’s Bristo Square when they refuse to hand over the ball, with one throwing glass bottles and another attempting to stab the group and their dog, while girls with them shout racial abuse at the group. Police nearby appear oblivious to the attack, which causes black eyes, cuts and bruises. (Edinburgh Live, 13 July 2020)

11 July: A woman shopper is subjected to racial abuse in the checkout queue at Lidl in Bishop’s Cleeve, Gloucestershire, by an elderly man who follows her into the car park and continues to racially abuse her as she loads her car. Police are appealing for witnesses. (Gloucestershire Live, 13 July 2020)

11 July: Babacar Seck, a 21-year-old Spanish karate fighter of Senegalese origin, denounces neo-Nazi and racist graffiti daubed on a mural dedicated to him in the Oliver neighbourhood of Zaragoza where he lives. Seck, who arrived in Spain in 2010, is the twelve-time karate champion of Spain and has won 4 European medals. (Público, 11 July 2020)

 The calendar was compiled with the help of Aisha Rana-Deshmukh, Laura Wormington, Jessica Pandian, Graeme Atkinson, Joseph Maggs and Kaiisha Kukendra.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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