Calendar of Racism and Resistance (1 – 15 August 2023)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (1 – 15 August 2023)

Fortnightly Bulletin

Written by: IRR News Team


A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance.


Asylum and migrant rights 

3 August: A report by the Refugee Council, ‘What happened to the warm welcome?’, states that only 54 Afghan refugees have been resettled in the UK under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme. At least 2,000 accepted onto the scheme are stuck in Pakistan, with others stuck in Afghanistan. (Telegraph, 3 August 2023) 

6 August: Within 3 months, more than 6,000 asylum claimants are removed from the asylum system without their consent and without being fully assessed, leaving them at risk of deportation, destitution and no right to work, as the National Audit Office reports almost three-quarters of asylum outcomes recorded in April as withdrawals. (Independent, 6 August 2023)

8 August: A senior official from the Law Society criticises the justice secretary’s announcement of a ‘crackdown’ on malpractice by a minority of immigration solicitors, calling it a ‘red herring’ that amounts to ‘lawyer bashing’ as the taskforce has been operational for months. (Guardian, 8 August 2023)

9 August: The Law Society and Bar Council condemn the Conservatives for sending a dossier to right-wing newspapers about Jaqueline McKenzie, partner and head of immigration at Leigh Day solicitors, titled ‘Revealed: senior Labour adviser is lefty lawyer blocking Rwanda deportations.’ (Guardian, 9 August 2023)

10 August: The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association publishes an 8-page statement expressing serious concern over the vilification of asylum law and immigration lawyers by senior government politicians and the media. (Electronic Immigration Network, 11 August 2023) 

14 August: Research shows the Home Office spent £35,000 on social media adverts, in several languages, to deter asylum seekers from crossing the Channel from France and Belgium between 2021 and 2022, using explicit fear-based messages with graphic images. (Independent, 14 August 2023)

Borders and internal controls 

1 August: In Budapest, Hungary, a child dies after a vehicle carrying seven people without papers crashes into a ditch. The age and nationality of the child and five other injured passengers have not been provided. (Info Migrants, 2 August 2023) 

3 August: Two passengers aboard an inflatable boat carrying 40 people who were rescued by the Greek coastguard are arrested and charged with ‘causing a shipwreck and exposing people to danger’. (InfoMigrants, 3 August 2023)

7 August: The body of a young man thought to be from North Africa is found by a cyclist on the road between the French Alpine towns of Briançon and Montgenevre, close to the border with Italy. The paths through the Alps are a well-established route for people crossing into France. (InfoMigrants, 9 August 2023)

8 August: The government announces a new partnership to strengthen collaboration between the National Crime Agency and Home Office intelligence staff based in Turkey and its Turkish counterparts, deploying more officers to work on joint operations, as video evidence shows extreme violence used against migrants trying to enter Turkey. (Guardian, 9 August 2023)

9 August: 41 migrants die in a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa, the fourth shipwreck in five days on the Mediterranean Sea route going from Tunisia to Italy, which claimed the lives of an estimated 131 people in total. (Euronews, 9 August 2023)

12 August: 65 people crossing the Channel to the UK in a small boat that capsizes and sinks are rescued by British and French coastguards. Six subsequently die and two remain missing, as urgent calls are made to the government to introduce safe routes. (Guardian, 12 August 2023)

15 August: Authorities in Pas-de-Calais, France, announce the installation of a floating barrier across a river that flows into the Channel near Le Touquet, the Canche, where small boats often depart. (Info Migrants, 15 August 2023)

Reception and detention 

2 August: The Fire Brigades Union write to the home secretary to raise significant fire safety concerns and seek an urgent meeting concerning plans to house 550 people on the Bibby Stockholm barge, as lawyers representing asylum seekers notified they are to be moved to the barge, write to the government arguing the unsuitability of the accommodation. (Guardian, 2 August 2023, Independent, 2 August 2023)

4 August: An analysis of government outsourced public service contracts by the Taxpayers’ Alliance deems waiting times for the Migrant Help advice helpline inadequate and Serco’s  provision of asylum support and accommodation inadequate. (Guardian, 4 August 2023)

4 August: The UK government plans to ‘optimise the existing space within the existing hotel estate’ by forcing unrelated asylum seekers to share bedrooms in Scottish hotels, which will increase the capacity of 14 hotels to hold 906 new people. (Daily Record, 4 August 2023)   

7 August: As the first 15 asylum seekers arrive on board the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland Port, Dorset, with hundreds due to arrive in the coming days, lawyers intervene and prevent the transfer of at least 20 vulnerable people, with dozens more make appeals against a transfer to the barge, where they would be housed with up to six people per room. (Independent, 7 August 2023, Guardian, 7 August 2023)

7 August: The government seeks consent from Glasgow city council to house asylum seekers in a barge situated in the city, but council leader Susan Aitken makes it clear they do not support such a move. (National, 7 August 2023)

7 August: Local Portland resident Carralyn Parkes issues a judicial review challenging the home secretary’s failure to obtain planning permission to use the Bibby Stockholm barge to house asylum seekers in Portland harbour. (Deighton Pierce Glynn, 8 August 2023)

8 August: Refugees, including those from Afghanistan and Iran, who have been living in an Evesham hotel for six to eight months are given 48 hours notice from Serco to relocate. (BBC News, 8 August 2023)

9 August: The immigration minister announces that asylum support may be withdrawn from asylum seekers who refuse accommodation such as barges. (Guardian, 9 August 2023)

11 August: As a deadly bacteria, legionella, is found in the water system of the Bibby Stockholm barge, causing all 39 asylum seekers moved onto the barge this week to be moved off into hotel accommodation. (Guardian, 11 August 2023)

14 August: Dorset council’s environmental health department insists they notified a home office official in a meeting held on 8 August about the outbreak of legionella in the Bibby Stockholm water system, yet subsequent communications repeat assurances over safety measures. (Guardian, 14 August 2023)

A picture of the Bibby Stockholm Barge in Portland port on 10 August.
The Bibby Stockholm moored in Portland Port. Credit: Andrew Bone, Flickr.

7 August: A Home Office minister says that should the Rwanda Plan fail, the government will resurrect a plan to send asylum seekers who arrive on small boats to the south Atlantic Ascension Island, a plan rejected as unworkable in 2020. (Guardian, 4 August 2023)

11 August: The UNHCR, as well as Cypriot and Lebanese NGOs, criticises Cyprus for the return of 109 Syrian nationals to Lebanon without any screening for legal and procedural safeguards, with the majority subsequently being deported to Syria. (Associated Press, 11 August 2023; The New Arab, 11 August 2023)


As anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI rhetoric in electoral campaigning are increasingly interlinked, we reflect this in the coverage below which also includes information on the influence of the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally. 

2 August: Civil Exchange and the Sheila McKechnie Foundation publish Defending our Democratic Spaces, which warns that anti-protest laws, government-inspired culture wars and restrictions imposed on the charity sector are having a ‘chilling effect’ on public campaigning.  (Guardian, 2 August 2023)

3 August: Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni is reportedly suing the musician Brian Moko for defamation after he called her ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ at a festival in Turin in July. (Guardian, 3 August 2023)

4 August: In Italy, Monica Poli, the member of ‘Undistracted Citizens’ whose anti-Roma video, supposedly shaming alleged pickpockets, went viral on TikTok, is outed as a municipal councillor for the far-right League party. (Guardian, 4 August 2023)

7 August: In a new document, the German Ministry of the Interior proposes the deportation of foreigners who are merely suspected of belonging to a criminal organisation or ‘criminal clan’, defined as an ‘informal social organisation determined by a common understanding of descent among its members’. (Digit, 7 August 2023)

13 August: The Polish prime minister (PiS) announces online a referendum on EU migration reforms, asking if citizens want to accept ‘thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa’. The accompanying video included images of street violence in Europe, including a black man licking a knife. (Guardian, 13 August 2023)


With anti-migrant, anti-Muslim, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally. 

3 August: Harry Vaughan is sentenced to 38 months in prison in connection with terrorist offences relating to neo-Nazi, antisemitic and otherwise offensive material downloaded on his devices, and connection to  the System Resistance Network, an alias for the banned National Action.(Yahoo, 3 August 2023)

4 August: In response to public burnings of the Quran by far-right activists, Danish police tighten border controls to further restrict who can enter the country. A similar move was made by Swedish authorities a few days earlier. (Aljazeera, 4 August 2023)

5 August: Locals in Limerick City mobilise outside several  book shops and a library to prevent far-right anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrators targeting libraries and bookstores in towns along the Shannon as part of a ‘sovereign voyage’. The far-right moves on to Killaloe in Clare, where they post an anti-trans banner outside a library. (Irish Examiner, 5 August 2023; Irish Examiner, 5 August 2023)

6 August: For the fourth consecutive day, members of the ultranationalist Danish Patriots desecrate the Quran in front of the Turkish, Iraqi, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and Iranian embassies, live streaming their actions. (Kashmiriyat, 5 August 2023)

6 August: Counter-protestors outnumber the far-right groups Patriotic Alternative and Yorkshire Patriots as they stage an anti-refugee protest outside the former Old Windmill Hotel at Seacroft in East Leeds. (Morning Star, 6 August 2023)

13 August: In Germany, far-right extremists sporting swastikas are linked to an attempt to disrupt an LGBTQ Pride event in Weißenfels, Saxony-Anhalt. Prior to the event, the Third Way had issued threats and circulated hate mail on the internet. (Deutsche Welle, 13 August 2023)

14 August: In Spain, the Socialist Party of Perales de Tajuña condemns a brutal attack on one of its councillors, Tamara González, and her partner, claiming that two of the five people who assaulted her are linked to the Vox party. (Noticias Paramuncipios, 14 August 2023)


2 August: Prison numbers in France reach a new high, with 74,513 people incarcerated as of 1 July, according to justice ministry data. 742 people have already been sentenced following the recent ‘riots’, with the average sentence being 8.2 months. (Le Monde, 2 August 2023)

3 August: Following a reinvestigation by the IOPC, three serving Met police officers face proceedings for gross misconduct or gross incompetence in relation to the restraint-related death of Kevin Clarke, a black man experiencing a mental health crisis In Lewisham, south London, in 2018. (Inquest, 3 August 2023)

4 August: Data from a London Assembly written question reveals that from January 2022 to May 2023, 6,355 stop and searches in London were conducted without a body cam, which the Met attributes to ‘technical or equipment failure’. (Enfield Despatch, August 2023)

4 August: Three young men arrested on 29 June in Seine-Saint-Denis, France, and charged with ‘violence against three police officers’ and ‘arson’ are finally released after spending five weeks in custody. They are acquitted as the only evidence against them, a police report, was deemed insufficient. (Mediapart, 07 August 2023) 

6 August: Liberty FOI requests reveal that the only events for which the Met authorised the potential use of plastic bullets in the past six years were black-led gatherings such as the Notting Hill Carnival and Black Lives Matter protests. The Met has spent over £1.5m on the weapons over the past six years, stockpiling 5,900 rounds and training 700 officers in their use. (Guardian, 6 August 2023)

7 August: Under threat of legal action, Greater Manchester police announces that it will not be sending letters to individuals banning them from attending Caribbean carnival on the grounds of gang affiliation, as it has done in previous years. (Guardian, 7 August 2023)

7 August: Following searches on the homes of police officers in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, prosecutors investigate five police officers in connection with Nazi imagery and child pornography discovered in chat groups. (Euronews, 7 August 2023)

8 August: An investigation is launched in France into the death of Mohamed Bendriss, the loss of an eye suffered by his cousin, Abdelkarim, and the injuring of Hedi, all allegedly caused by ‘flash balls’ fired by anti-riot police. In Marseille, five police officers from the elite squad ‘Raid’ are detained for questioning in connection with the death of Bendriss. (Guardian, 8 August 2023)

8 August: The IOPC announces an investigation into accusations that a Met officer repeatedly punched a handcuffed black suspect during an arrest in Romford, east London. A video of the incident was shared on social media. (Evening Standard, August 2023)

10 August: In Northern Ireland, the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets holds its annual vigil outside the former Andersonstown RUC barracks, offering solidarity to  black communities in London following recent revelations that the Met have targeted black protests. (Belfast Media, 9 August 2023; Belfast Media, 10 August 2023)

11 August: The Met pays substantial damages to black teenager Jamar Powell, who was 16 at the time he was stopped in September 2020 in Greenwich, south-east London, handcuffed, ordered to kneel in the street, and allegedly threatened with a taser. Two officers face disciplinary action. (Guardian, 11 August 2023)

11 August: Two Met police officers are investigated by the IOPC for failure to provide adequate first aid to Thornton Heath stabbing victim Usmaan Mahmood, who died in hospital on 13 June. (Independent, 11 August 2023)

15 August: Six former Met police officers are charged with sending ‘grossly offensive racist messages’ over WhatsApp following a BBC Newsnight investigation from October 2022. (Independent, 15 August 2023)


10 August: Nine out of 10 respondents to a new question from the Office for  Students in the  National Student Survey say they feel free to express themselves on campus, one of the most positive outcomes of all questions asked by the OfS. (THE, 10 August 2023)


6 August: The government’s immigration taskforce introduces a massive increase in fines to landlords and employers who rent to or employ anyone without legal status, scheduled to take effect early in 2024. (Guardian, 6 August 2023)


3 August: In Foggia, Italy, foreign workers organise a protest outside the local prefecture demanding regularisation after fires destroy several homes in a local shantytown housing migrant workers. (Info Migrants, 3 August 2023)

15 August: The TUC says that the number of BME workers in insecure work has more than doubled, from 360,200 to 836,340, between 2011 to 2022, with the proportion of  BME workers in low-paid and insecure work increasing from 12.2% to 17.8% in the last decade. The proportion of white workers in insecure work only rose marginally from 10.5% to 10.8%. (Guardian, 15 August 2023) 


While we cannot cover all incidents of racist abuse on sportspersons or their responses, we provide a summary of the most important incidents. For more information follow Kick it Out. 

5 August: The longest media strike in France since the 1970s ends at the French Journal Du Dimanche, with more than half of its journalists resigning as Geoffroy Lejeune, a supporter of the far-right Eric Zemmour, is appointed the new editor.  (Observer, 6 August 2023)

9 August: Farrants, a family store in Cobham, Surrey, faces allegations of racism after the chairman of London’s Southbank Centre claims she saw an image covering a wall behind the till that shows black people working on a tobacco plantation overseen by white men. (Guardian, 9 August 2023)

11 August: Britain First are amongst those arguing that a 20-second clip on social media  showing a crowded market in Sweden proves that the country is being overrun by migrants. The clip was actually filmed in Syria. (Euronews, 11 August 2023)

11 August: Police and UEFA are criticised as it emerges that a convoy of Croatian ultras was allowed to travel unhindered to Greece to attend the Champions League event (AEK Athens v Dinamo Zagreb) that resulted in the death outside the stadium of  Michalis Katsouris,  29-year-old AEK fan.100 Croatian members of Bad Blue Boys joined forces with like-minded supporters of the Greek team Panathinaikos to hunt down AEK fans, who they consider left-wing. (Deutsche Welle, 11 August 2023; Scotland Herald, 8 August 2023)

14 August: A 63-year-old man is charged after racially abusing umpire Majid Haq during a cricket game at Greenock Cricket Club. (Guardian, 14 August 2023)

14 August: In the West Midlands, non-league football team Wednesfield FC walk off the pitch after spectators target players with racial abuse. (Guardian, 14 August 2023) 


For details of court judgements on racially motivated and other hate crimes, see also POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

2 August: In Germany, there have been 80 reported attacks on refugee shelters in the first half of 2023, with most committed by far-right activists. (AA, 2 August 2023)

15 August: The Greek anti-racist organisation Keerfa report that a 23-year-old Pakistani man, Siraj Safdar, was stabbed to death in Perissos, Athens, in a suspected hate crime, but unlike the case of football fan Michaelis Katsouris, his death has not been reported in the mainstream press. (Twitter, 15 August 2023)

The calendar was compiled by Sophie Chauhan with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Margaret McAdam, Anne-Ysore Onana-Ateba, Louis Ordishand Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration, far Right, racial violence, employment and policing issues are an invaluable source of information. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance

Featured image: Over 200 people turned up at short notice in Folkenstone to demand the that the government provide safe routes for refugees. Credit: Bridget Chapman 

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.