Calendar of Racism and Resistance (1 – 15 July 2021)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (1 – 15 July 2021)

News

Written by: IRR News Team


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

ASYLUM, MIGRATION, BORDERS & CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and Migrant rights

1 July:  At least two hundred undocumented migrants mark the 100th day of an occupation at two universities and a church in Brussels, Belgium. Some are too weak to stand, having started a hunger strike and stitched their mouths shut. (Sky News, 1 July 2020)

2 July: Home Office figures reveal that the number of asylum seekers waiting more than a year for a decision on their claim has increased almost 10-fold during a decade of Tory rule. (Morning Star, 2 July 2021)

3 July: The High Court rules that the Home Office’s guidance on reuniting unaccompanied child asylum seekers with their families in the UK ‘mis-stated the law’ when it said that local authorities would only be asked to undertake an assessment with the child’s family ‘once the family link has been established’. (Evening Standard, 3 July 2021)

11 July:  A group of Fijian-born former soldiers, who sued the government after being classified as illegal immigrants, are granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK despite losing their battle with the Ministry of Defence. (Guardian, 12 July 2021)

Borders and internal controls

1 July: In Belgium, 621 ‘sand graves’ are placed as a protest against EU policy, along a beach in Zeebrugge by the migrants’ rights group Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderern, representing all those who lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean in the first three months of 2021. (Brussels Times, 1 July 2021) 

2 July: Frontex sends border guards to Lithuania to deal with what Lithuanians describe as a deliberate policy by the Belarus government to allow migrants and refugees to cross its border, with 150 people, mostly from the Middle East, detained in 24 hours, almost twice as many as for the whole of 2020. (Al Jazeera, 2 July 2020)

6 July: New guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service says pilots of small boats crossing the Channel with the intention of being intercepted or claiming asylum at a port should not be prosecuted. It follows a Court of Appeal ruling which forced it to drop 11 smuggling cases last month. (Independent, 8 July 2021)

6 July: The Nationality and Borders Bill is published, which would allow, amongst other things,  small boats to be pushed back to France, criminalise refugees arriving without authorisation and have their claims processed offshore. Lawyers, human rights and refugee organisations condemn the Bill as ‘frankly illegal’. (Independent, 7 July 2021) 

9 July: The assistant high commissioner for protection at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees condemns proposed asylum reforms in the new bill as ‘neo-colonial’ and says its approach seeks to shift the burden of providing support to refugees.(Evening Standard, 9 July 2021)

9 July: The Search and Rescue ship Ocean Viking is finally granted the right to land at a port in Sicily, Italy, holding 572 people rescued in six incidents between 1-5 July. (EU Observer, 9 July 2021) 

SOS Méditerranée’s search and rescue ship Ocean Viking. Credit: SOS MEDITERRANEE Source: Twitter.
Reception and detention

5 July: Thousands of asylum seekers are still living without any financial support, as cash cards fails to work due to a botched Home Office contract transfer over a month ago. Lawyers are planning legal action over this breach of human rights. (Independent, 5 July 2021)

11 July: The Guardian reveals that staff at Napier barracks feared asylum seekers might die from COVID. Earlier this year, during an outbreak at the barracks, staff did not know who among the asylum seekers were clinically or extremely vulnerable. (Guardian, 11 July 2021)

12 July: Men detained under immigration powers in jail describe COVID restrictions in prison as ‘psychological torture’. Some are locked in a cell for over 22 hours a day, because of Home Office decisions to hold fewer people in removal centres to contain the spread of COVID. (Independent, 12 July 2021)

Criminalising solidarity

1 July: After having served a year in prison on remand, Iranian refugee Fouad Kakaei is acquitted at retrial of aiding illegal immigration in a case involving his holding of the rudder of a boat crossing the English Channel, which the Court of Appeal accepted was for a legitimate purpose and could not be equated with human smuggling. (Al Jazeera, 1 July 2021) 

Deportation

24 June: The Court of Appeal rules that it is reasonable to expect an 11-year-old who has lived in the UK all his life to move to Bangladesh, so that his overstayer parents and 4-year-old British-born brother can be deported. (Free Movement, 30 June 2021)

1 July: 10 English local authorities join a scheme that helps the Home Office deport rough sleepers. Government guidance published in April 2021 states that migrant rough sleepers could be deported if they have refused ‘suitable’ offers of support or engaged in antisocial behaviour. (Guardian, 1 July 2021)

2 July: In Germany, a young Afghan man is arrested in the Kelheim District office, Bavaria, when he went to collect paperwork for a marriage to his German fiancée, and deported to Afghanistan, along with 26 others. (InfoMigrants, 9 July 2021) 

4 July: The French interior minister, announcing a policy to accelerate deportations of foreigners who commit crimes, in particular those on the Watch List for the Prevention of Terrorist Radicalisation, releases figures that show 601 people without residence permits were deported since 2018. (Deutsche Welle, 4 July 2021)

7 July: Bristol commits to Homeless Link’s pledge against government plans to deport rough sleepers, deciding not to proactively refer people to the authorities in its fight towards ending homelessness. (Bristol City Council, 7 July 2021)

8 July: In Finland, the supreme court rules that a Somali man, born and raised in Finland, can be deported since he poses a threat due to his criminal convictions, including aggravated theft and assault. (Helsinki Times, 08 July 2021) 

11 July: As hundreds of people arriving in England are immediately detained in immigration removal centres, concerns increase about the existence of a secret Home Office policy to deport them without proper consideration of their asylum claims. Among those detained are trafficking and torture victims, and children, some of whom have allegedly been classed as adults without age assessment.  (Observer, 11 July 2021)

12 July: A migrant rough sleeper is facing eviction by Westminster Council from emergency hotel accommodation, provided during the pandemic, because he refuses to return home – which follows a Home Office policy introduced in December 2020. (Guardian, 12 July 2021)

Citizenship

8 July: In the Netherlands, the government waives some conditions for Dutch citizenship which allows around 8,000 refugees, without birth certificates or passports, to get Dutch passports and no longer be stateless. (Dutch News, 2021) 

ELECTORAL POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT POLICY

1 July: The Conservative party has paused work on a definition of Islamophobia two years after rejecting the definition suggested by the All-Party Parliamentary Group and pledging to come up with a working definition of its own. (Left Foot Forward, 1 July 2021)

4 July: Labour’s shadow democracy minister says plans in a new bill, to insist on ID when voting, could disenfranchise many working-class, older and ethnic minority voters. (Guardian, 4 July 2021)

6 July: The Guardian reveals that Trevor Phillips has been readmitted to the Labour Party, without his suspension for Islamophobia having gone before the National Executive Committee. (Guardian, 6 July 2021)

8 July: In Germany, Tareq Alaows, the first Syrian refugee to run for parliament, is forced to withdraw his candidature because of a torrent of racist abuse and threats. (Euronews, 8 July 2021) 

8 July: In Spain, a court rules that a campaign poster used by the far-right Vox party in recent Madrid elections (of a hooded, masked, dark-skinned youth depicted alongside a white Spanish grandmother) was not a hate crime, but ‘legitimate political expression’ concerning an ‘obvious social and political problem’. (Guardian, 6 July 2021)

One of the Vox party's "mena" election billboards in Madrid.
One of the Vox party’s election posters in Madrid. Credit: Bruno Thevenin, Twitter.

ANTI-FASCISM, FAR RIGHT & EXTREME RIGHT POLITICS

30 June: In Poland, over 160 public figures sign an open letter to the culture minister asking him to  ‘stop financing fascism’ after far-right groups, including the National Guard Association and the All-Polish Youth, were given over €660,000 in grants from a state ‘Patriotic Fund’ aimed at building ‘patriotic attitudes’.(Notes from Poland, 30 June 2021)

1 July: An Austrian investigation into a neo-Nazi plot to form a paramilitary organisation to overthrow the system leads to raids on nine homes in three states and the seizure of automatic weapons, bullets, Nazi paraphernalia and narcotics. (World Today, 10 July 2021)

2 July:  Golden Dawn MP Christos Pappas, previously convicted of running a criminal organisation, is arrested in Athens, Greece, after having been on the run for nine months. (Guardian, 2July 2021)

2 July: In France, Philippe Pétel, former dean of Montpellier University and former professor Jean-Luc Coronel de Boissezon receive suspended sentences after being found guilty of using far-right thugs to evict student protestors in 2018 from a university sit-in. Several of the commando group are also convicted and will serve prison terms. (Le Monde, 2 July 2021)

2 July: Led by the Polish prime minister, European far-right parties from Spain (Vox), Italy (Lega), France (Rassemblement National) and Hungary (Fidesz) sign a ‘Declaration on the Future of Europe’ saying the EU is ‘a threat to nations, families and traditional Christian values’. (Byline Times, 8 July 2021; Intellinews, 5 July 2021)

3 July: In Poland, two ultra-nationalists are sent to jail for incitement to racial hatred in connection with incidents at a 2016 anti-Israel rally in Bialystok where they chanted ‘Zionists will hang from the trees instead of leaves’ and also anti-Muslim slogans. (Jerusalem Post, 3 July 2021)

6 July: Spain’s far-right Vox party is condemned by Reporters without Borders after publicly revealing a photograph and work address of an editor of the satirical magazine El Jueves, after it published a cartoon of senior Vox politicians. (Guardian, 6 July 2021)

8 July: Far-right activist Alfie Hubbard, 26, is given a two-year suspended prison sentence after admitting violent disorder against a police officer at a ‘statue-defending’ protest against BLM in Westminster, while high on cocaine.  (Mirror, 8 July 2021)

9 July: In France, 11 people are convicted of social media harassment of a teenager afforded police protection, after posting anti-Islam videos online. President Macron defends the ‘right to blaspheme … and caricature religions’. (Guardian, 9 July 2021)

10 July: The Home Secretary bans The Base, an American neo-Nazi group led from Russia and recruiting in the UK. It is the fifth far-right group to be proscribed under the anti-terrorist laws. (BBC News, 10 July 2021)

POLICING, PRISONS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

30 June: A report by Working Chance reveals that racially minoritised women are over-represented in the criminal justice system, receive longer sentences and find it harder to get employment after being in prison than do white ex-prisoners. (Byline Times, 30 June 2021)

1 July: Public health bodies, charities and the families of men who died after being restrained by police condemn the inclusion of ‘acute behavioural disturbance’ (ABD), more commonly known as ‘excited delirium’ in the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines (MPG) – one of the UK’s leading medical handbooks, with concerns the term carries racial biases and is often used to justify lethal use of force by police. (Guardian, 1 July 2021)

1 July: A report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution damns the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil in London and Kill the Bill protest in Bristol, stating that the 2 forces involved had made disorder more likely and had not protected the right to protest. (Netpol, 1 July 2021)

4 July: In a letter to the home secretary, Gypsy spokesman Billy Welch warns that proposals in the Police Bill pose a threat to traditional Gypsy events such as the Appleby horse fair in Cumbria which could be criminalised. (Observer, 4 July 2021)

6 July: Kim Johnson, Liverpool’s first black MP, accuses the Metropolitan Police of institutional racism after she and her family were stopped in London. (Guardian, 6 July 2021)

6 July: Three black men (part of the ‘Stockwell Six’), who had been wrongly jailed for robbery of a corrupt officer Derek Ridgewell in 1972, have their convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal. (Independent, 6 July 2021)

7 July: David Lammy, MP and shadow justice secretary, tells a Westminster protest rally that a Labour government would reform the law of joint enterprise. (Guardian, 7 July 2021) 

9 July: The Independent Office for Police Conduct gives two Metropolitan officers misconduct notices over failing to pass on information relating to teenager Richard Okorogheye, whose body was not found until a week after his disappearance in March 2021.(Guardian, 9 July 2021)

9 July: The Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, in an article for Conservative Home, bans his staff from communicating with BLM UK – a group that ‘wants to defund the police’ and ‘has put police officers in hospital’. (Guardian, 9 July 2021)

DISCRIMINATION, EQUALITIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS

30 June: In France, the court of appeal in Toulouse acquits tobacconist, Marie Pinier, who had been fined and forced to pay damages for refusing to serve women wearing the hijab between 2015 and 2018. (FranceBleu, 30 June 2021)

1 July: In an interview,  French president Emmanuel Macron accuses intersectionality and anti-racism of causing ‘divisions’ that overemphasise the importance of race, (FranceTVinfo, 1 July 2021)

12 July: Opposition parties in Belgium, critical of the appointment of Ihsane Haouach as a commissioner at the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men because she wears the hijab, were wrong says the prime minister as Haouach resigns from her post after only six weeks, citing indecent attacks and cyber harassment. A leaked security service memo had claimed she was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. (Euronews, 12 July 2021)

EMPLOYMENT, EXPLOITATION AND INDUSTRIAL ACTION

30 June: The Confederation of British Industry says post-Brexit immigration rules must be relaxed to address staff shortages. The CBI president asks the government to expand its shortage occupations list. (Eastern Eye, 30 June 2021)

10 July: An investigation of exploitation on Spain’s strawberry fields reveals extensive sexual harassment of female fruit pickers, often from Morocco or Eastern Europe. Final judgement is pending in the case 10 Moroccan women who allege assault, sexual harassment, rape and trafficking. (Al Jazeera, 10 July 2021)

13 July: Following the death of four Egyptian migrant works in the worst forest fires in the history of Cyprus, the Pancyprian Federation of Labour calls for an investigation so that lessons can be learnt.  (Al Jazeera, 13 July 2021) 

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

1 July: The British Medical Association responds to the Sewell report, saying it ‘ignored well-documented’ evidence of structural racism, including discriminatory processes and attitudes faced by many NHS workers from ethnic minority backgrounds and that it missed opportunities to identify effective solutions for tackling racial inequality. (Independent, 1 July 2021)

11 July: Senior doctors warn that black communities are at risk of bearing the brunt of the UK’s third wave of COVID infections, given that (in addition to factors such as jobs and living arrangements) the latest tracking by researchers from the University of Oxford reveals vaccine coverage in black communities is at least 20 percentage points lower than in white groups, with the disparity existing across age groups. (Guardian, 11 July 2021) 

EDUCATION

10 July: Labour says it will vote against the higher education (freedom of speech) bill on its second reading since it is divisive and harmful on the issue of hate speech. (Guardian, 11 July 2021)

CULTURE, MEDIA SPORT

5 July: It is announced that the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square is to feature a sculpture of anti-colonial Malawian hero Chilembwe, to be followed afterwards by an installation of casts of 850 trans people’s faces. (Guardian, 5 July 2021)

5 July: A Swiss court fines French political comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’bala 36,000 francs for including material that denied the existence of the Holocaust in a show in 2019. This followed rulings in Paris and Nice on 1 July when he faced sentencing for 3 offences relating to alleged antisemitism and Holocaust denial in two videos shown in May 2020. (Le Dauphine; MidiLibre 5 July 2021)

6 July: In Poland, the Mentzen brewery owned by right-wing Confederation party politician Slawomir Mentzen issues a beer ‘White IPA Matters’ with an advert featuring a black barman taking a sip of it in a US-themed bar with Deep South iconography and declaring ‘This is what I needed’. (DUK News, 6 July 2021) 

12 July: A report from the Fabian Society tells politicians and the media to stop fabricating culture wars around confected controversies which pit deprived communities against each other. (Guardian, 12 July 2021)

12 July: Film-maker Steve McQueen, who has made the three-part film ‘Uprising’, suggests that the issues it covers such as the 1981 New Cross Fire, the Black Day of Action and later ‘riots’ should be taught in school. (Guardian, 12 July 2021)

Euro 2020

29 June: In France, SOS Racism alerts the public prosecutor’s office to the racial abuse faced by Kylian Mbappé, the football star, after France’s elimination from the Euros. (Midi Libre, 30 June 2021)

1 July: The violence after France’s last match in the Euros is linked to far-right groups. (Rue 89 Lyon, 1 July 2021) 

5 July: The Financial Times reports that Conservatives and backers of Boris Johnson are concerned that England manager Gareth Southgate is becoming a tool of ‘deep woke’ because of his support for his players’ commitment to highlighting ‘equality, inclusivity and racial injustice’. (Financial Times, 5 July 2021)

10 July: Several Danish fans report xenophobic abuse from England fans at the Euro 2020 semi-final, with one woman physically assaulted and told ‘you don’t belong here’. (Observer, 10 July 2021

12 July: Actor Jolyon Rubinstein reveals he was the victim of antisemitic abuse inside Wembley stadium at the Euro 2020 final. (Metro, 12 July 2021)

12 July: The Football Association, Arsenal FC and several politicians including prime minister Boris Johnson condemn the racist abuse directed at England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they failed to score in the penalty shootout defeat by Italy in the Euro 2020 final. (Guardian, 12 July 2021)

12 July: As well as receiving abuse on major platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, Rashford, Sancho and Saka are also targeted by far-right and neo-Nazi networks on the anonymised platform Telegram, with one channel stating that Italy’s win over England’s diverse team meant ‘racial purity wins’. (Vice, 12 July 2021)

12 July: Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel are accused of hypocrisy for condemning online racist abuse towards England players after both of them refused to condemn England fans for booing the anti-racist gesture of taking the knee. (Guardian, 12 July 2021)

12 July: England defender Tyrone Mings directly responds to  Patel’s statement against racist abuse, tweeting: ‘You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as “Gesture Politics” & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against happens.’ (Guardian, 12 July 2021)

12 July: Former England player Gary Neville criticises Boris Johnson for his previous Islamophobic remarks comparing Muslim women to letterboxes, suggesting his tacit support for booing England players’ stance against racism fuelled racist abuse. (Metro, 12 July 2021)

12 July: A mural of England player Marcus Rashford in Withington, Greater Manchester is defaced with ‘racially aggravated graffiti’ less than an hour after England’s penalty shootout defeat by Italy. Local residents respond by covering the graffiti with messages of support and affection for Rashford. (Manchester Evening News, 12 July 2021; Manchester Evening News, 13 July 2021)

13 July: Downing Street announces that Boris Johnson will meet with social media companies to identify the perpetrators of the online abuse directed at England players, and that Johnson would ‘reiterate the urgent need for action ahead of tougher laws coming into force in the online harms bill’. (Guardian, 13 July 2021)

13 July: Comedian Andrew Lawrence is dropped by his agent and has all forthcoming gigs cancelled after he makes racist jokes on Twitter following the Euro 2020 final. Tweeting, ‘all I’m saying is, the white guys scored’ and ‘equality, diversity, s*** penalties’. Lawrence’s account was later removed from the platform but it is unclear who by. (Sky News, 13 July 2021)

13 July: Guto Harri, a presenter on the ‘anti-woke’ GB News channel states his support for the England players anti-racist gesture and takes the knee live on air. (Indy100, 13 July 2021)

13 July: Tory MP and former minister Steve Baker tells the Conservatives Against Racism, For Equality group that at this ‘decisive moment’ Conservatives need to change their attitude to issues like taking the knee. (Guardian, 13 July 2021)

14 July: Portsmouth Football Club and the Football Association investigate allegations that members of the club’s under-18 squad directed racist abuse at England players in a private Snapchat group. (Guardian, 14 July 2021)

Marcus Rashford Mural surrounded by supporters
The Marcus Rashford mural in Withington surrounded by local residents. Credit: Duncan Hull, Flickr.

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

6 July: Danyal Hussein, 19, is found guilty of murdering two black sisters, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry in a London park in 2020, as part of a satanic pact. On the autism spectrum, he had been referred in 2017 to the Prevent programme, after undergoing a form of radicalisation, viewing Occult and far-right materials on the dark web. (Guardian,  6 July 2021)

7 July: The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation says that a ‘staggeringly high’ number of people with autism are referred to the Prevent programme and questions whether the criminal justice system is the right outcome. The number of under-18s being referred is also increasing and social problems, he explains, should not fall ‘into the lap of counter-terrorism professionals’.  (Guardian, 6 July 2021)

8 July: The Austrian parliament approves a new counter terrorism law that Muslim groups say institutionalises discrimination against Muslims by increasing surveillance and allowing for deprivation of citizenship from dual nationals. (Daily Sabah, 8 July 2021)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

30 June: Northumbria Police appeals for information after two males racially abused and assaulted two young Asian men in South Shields on 28 June. (The Shields Gazette, 30 June 2021)

1 July: A new report by the Cross Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia finds that it is on the rise in Scotland as 78% of Scottish Muslims respondents claimed that it is getting worse, and 75% said it is an everyday issue, with 83% stating that they had experienced it themselves. (5 Pillars, 1 July 2021) 

1 July: In Manchester, following a fight, a 34-year-old man is rushed to hospital with knife wounds, whilst a 33-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of assault and racially aggravated public disorder. (Manchester Evening News, 1 July 2021) 

2 July: In a park in Bristol, 11- and 17-year-old sisters are left requiring hospital treatment after a group of teenagers allegedly approached the 11-year-old, told her to ‘go back to her country’ and kicked her to the ground, before attacking the 17-year-old as she intervened. (Bristol Live, 6 July 2021)

3 July: A visibly Jewish man travelling at night on a London bus and the tube is targeted twice by racists and subjected to antisemitic abuse and threats. (Guardian, 5 July 2021)

4 July: In the South East of France, inflammatory Islamophobic tags are found on the walls of a training centre for imams. (Franceinfo, 4 July 2021)

5 July: A 51-year-old man pleads guilty to affray and is handed a 45-week prison sentence for an attack at a takeaway  near Leeds city centre in June 2020, during which he had spat on  windows, wiped blood on the door, and racially abused the shop manager whilst attempting to assault him  with a broken  bottle and a brick. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 5 July 2021) 

6 July: Northamptonshire Police appeal for witnesses after a racially aggravated incident in on May 28, during which a white male driver shouted racial insults towards a female driver before getting out of his car and kicking her door as he tried to open it, causing damage. (Northamptonshire Police, 6 July 2021) 

7 July: Hertfordshire Police appeal for information after a racially aggravated incident on a road in Chorleywood on 24 June, during which a white man racially abused and attempted to assault a 14-year-old boy with a set of keys, before racially abusing another 13-year-old boy, who was walking past.  (Hertfordshire Constabulary, 7 July 2021)  

12 July: Police release CCTV images of two people in an appeal for information following a racially aggravated assault in Durham city centre on 27 June, during which a man was punched as he got into a taxi, leaving him with a broken nose. (Chronicle Live, 12 July 2021) 

13 July: Plaques in memory of Gurdip Singh Chaggar and Blair Peach and a tribute to Southall’s reggae band Misty ‘n Roots, which were stolen soon after they were installed in 2019, are replaced at a special community ceremony in Southall. (Visit Southall, 13 July 2021)

The plaque ceremony at Southall Town Hall. Credit: Jas Nijjar, Twitter.

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Jess Pandian, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs.


Headline image: The Marcus Rashford mural in Withington surrounded by local residents. Credit: Duncan Hull, Flickr.


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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