Calendar of racism and resistance (10-23 February 2017)

Calendar of racism and resistance (10-23 February 2017)


Written by: IRR News Team

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

Asylum and migration

8 February: New research by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) finds that hundreds of foreign nationals being held in prison are being denied access to immigration advice. Download the report: Mind the Gap: Immigration Advice for Detainees in Prisons here (pdf file, 659kb). (EIN, 13 February 2017)

8 February: The government announces it will end the Dubs amendment scheme, which required the Home Office to bring vulnerable unaccompanied asylum seeking children stranded in Europe, after only 350 children have been permitted to enter. (Guardian, 8 February 2017)

9 February: It is announced that G4S has won a contract (at Tinsley House, near Gatwick) to provide ‘welfare support’ for detained families facing deportation, taking over from Barnardo’s, which provided the service at Cedars ‘pre-departure accommodation’, which closed in December. (Guardian, 9 February 2017)

9 February: A Swedish court finds journalist Fredrik Onnevall guilty of migrant smuggling for bringing a 15-year-old Syrian boy to safety during a journalistic mission. The court accepts Onnevall’s humanitarian motives but says the law is strict. (EU Observer, 9 February 2017)

10 February: A French court gives Cedric Herrou a €3,000 suspended fine for helping African migrants enter and stay in France. He vows to continue helping them, and still has Sudanese and Eritrean teenagers staying in caravans on his farm. (DW, 10 February 2017)

12 February: The Observer reveals that women and children are being beaten, abused and raped by traffickers at a camp in Dunkirk, in testimony being gathered by Bindmans solicitors for a legal challenge accusing the Home Office of acting unfairly and irrationally by settling only minors from Calais. (Observer, 12 February 2017)

12 February: Swiss citizens vote in a referendum to amend the constitution to make it easier for third-generation immigrants to become citizens. Around 24,000 children of immigrants from Italy, the Balkans and Turkey are expected to benefit. (Guardian, 12 February 2017)

passportplease_jcwi-report13 February: New research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants finds that the requirement for landlords to check the immigration status of new tenants is fuelling discrimination against foreigners and British citizens without passports. Download the report Passport Please: The impact of the Right to Rent checks on migrants and ethnic minorities in England here (pdf file, 1.3 mb). (Independent, 13 February 2017)

15 February: After charity Secours Catholique (Catholic Relief) installs portable showers in Calais for homeless migrants, CRS riot police arrest an employee of the charity, a journalist for Libération and seven minors who arrive to take a shower. (Passeurs d’Hospitalité, 16 February 2017)

16 February: Paris police fine the group ‘Solidarité Migrants Wilson’ after the prefect bans the distribution of food outside the La Chapelle centre. (Nouvel Observateur, 16 February 2017)

16 February: It is revealed that EU Border Agency guards have been instructed to target ‘isolated and mistreated’ migrants for questioning to obtain intelligence, and to get to them as quickly as possible, before they ‘integrate with others’. (Statewatch, 16 February 2017)

17 February: A migrant dies on the Ventimiglia-Cannes railway line, electrocuted by high voltage cables after climbing on to the roof. (Repubblica Genova, 17 February 2017)

18 February: The media say 160,000, but organisers Castra Nostra Casa Vostra (Our Home is Your Home) claim 300,000, march in Barcelona demanding the government honours its 2015 agreement with the EU to take in 17,000 refugees from Syria and other war zones. So far, Spain has accepted just over 700 refugees. (El Pais in English, 20 February 2017)

21 February: Thirty-two national and regional migrant support and human rights organisations write an open letter protesting at German and Italian pressure on the Tunisian authorities to take back migrants and refugees intercepted by the Italian coastguard, no matter where they come from, as a violation of rights under the Refugee and Human Rights Conventions. (Cimade, 21 February 2017)

22 February: The Supreme Court holds that although in principle the minimum income requirement for the admission of spouses is legitimate, the rule does not take into account the interests of children, and that failure, and restrictions on alternative sources of income, mean the rule is unlawful and needs to be rewritten. (Supreme Court, 22 February 2017)

Violence and harassment

9 February: Police seek information on a racist attack on a 16-year-old boy and girl by a woman who threw chips and racially abused the pair before punching one of the teenagers ‘a number of times’ on Oxford High Street. (Oxfordshire Guardian, 9 February 2017)

10 February: Police release an appeal for information after a 35-year-old man has his jaw broken in an unprovoked racially aggravated attack by three men in Street, Somerset. (Somerset Live, 10 February 2017)

10 February: John Nimmo is jailed for 27 months at Newcastle crown court after pleading guilty to nine charges involving online racist and antisemitic abuse, to numerous people including Luciana Berger, MP. (Guardian, 10 February 2017)

15 February: New figures reveal that hate crimes recorded by regional police forces increased by up to 100 per cent in the months following Brexit. (Independent, 15 February 2017) 

15 February: A Dunfermline sheriff’s court orders a 44-year-old man to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and imposes a six-month restriction of liberty order after he admits glassing a Portuguese tourist in a bar last February. (Dunfermline Press, 15 February 2017)

17 February: Luke Burdon, 19, is jailed for two years in a young offenders’ institute after admitting racially abusing and attacking a footballer from another team and breaking his jaw. (Kent Online, 17 February 2017) 

22 February: A man who racially abused a US Army veteran on a tram in Manchester five days after the EU referendum last June is given a 16-week prison sentence suspended for two years. (BBC News, 22 February 2017)

Policing and criminal justicejusticepourtheo

9 February: The upper tribunal of the immigration and asylum chamber rules that four men convicted of child grooming can be deported to Pakistan, as their British citizenship was acquired through naturalisation and so can be removed. (Guardian, 9 February 2017)


9 February: An internal French police inquiry clears officers in Paris of raping an African youth worker with a truncheon, holding that the officer’s baton slipped up the man’s anus by accident. The man, identified only as Theo, undergoes surgery for severe anal injuries. (The Local, 9 February 2017)

13 February: There is more unrest in Paris related to the case of Theo, with several nights of violence in the Paris suburbs of Aulnay-sous-Bois, Argenteuil, Ulis and Bobigny, and protests in Nantes and Rennes. (The Local, 13 February 2017)

14 February: The mother of Jermaine Baker, who was shot dead by police officers in December 2015 in Wood Green, criticises outgoing Met commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe’s recent comment that police officers are being put off carrying firearms because they fear being treated as suspects. (Guardian, 14 February 2017)

Jermaine Baker
Jermaine Baker

15 February: Scotland Yard calls on the Pitchford Inquiry into police spying to limit its evidence from undercover police officers in order to save money. It is also revealed that the inquiry, set up in March 2015, will not begin hearing evidence before 2018. (Guardian, 14 February 2017)

16 February: Figures obtained in a freedom of information request reveal that black and mixed-race people are disproportionately tasered by police in London. (Guardian, 16 February 2017)

17 February: The family of Jean Charles de Menezes call for Cressida Dick to be barred from the job of Met commissioner following her role in the police shooting of de Menezes in July 2005. (Guardian, 17 February 2017)

Olaseni Lewis
Olaseni Lewis

18 February: The inquest into the death of Olaseni Lewis, who died after being restrained by eleven police officers in Bethlem Royal Hospital in September 2010, is told that sending him to hospital was the ‘safe thing to do’. (Croydon Advertiser, 18 February 2017) 

18 February: French artists, sports stars, academics and celebrities sign an open letter in Libération for justice for the family of Adama Traoré, who died in police custody in Beaumont-sur Oise in July 2016. (Guardian, 18 February 2017)

19 February: David Norris, who was convicted in 2012 of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, is seeking to sue the Ministry of Justice for failing to protect him after he was attacked in Belmarsh prison in 2011 while awaiting trial. (BBC News, 19 February 2017)Stephen_Lawrence

21 February: New Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) guidance on police involvement in fatal incidents recommends that officers should be separated as soon as possible to prevent conferring. View and download the guidance here. (BBC News, 21 February 2017)

22 February: The IPCC serves gross misconduct notices on two Bristol police officers, advising them that they are under investigation for the tasering of 63-year-old Judah Adunbi, the force’s own race relations advisor. (Bristol Post, 22 February 2017)

Party politics

11 February: Bristol UKIP councillor Philip Winter is condemned for tweeting about ‘darkies’. (The Canary, 13 February 2017)

12 February: Ukip’s immigration spokesperson, John Bickley, apologises for tweeting a cartoon which suggested that voting for Labour would lead to ‘a jihadi for a neighbour,’ echoing a racist slogan used in Smethwick in the 1964 general election. (Huffington Post, 13 February 2017)

17 February: An independent candidate in the Stoke by-election, Barbara Fielding, 78, is arrested on suspicion of publishing material that may stir up racial hatred. (Guardian, 17 February 2017)

22 February: UKIP councillor Philip Winter, accused of posting a racist comment on Twitter, is asked to resign from his position by Almondsbury Parish Council after Avon and Somerset police say they are investigating the tweet as a hate incident. (BBC News, 22 February 2017; Bristol Post, 15 February 2107)

amnesty-ar-161722 February: In its annual report, Amnesty International warns that politicians who have used divisive rhetoric are creating a more divided and dangerous world. Download the report here. (BBC News, 22 February 2017)

Far right

8 February: Oxford Brookes University cancels a planned talk on free speech by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, (aka Tommy Robinson, the ex-leader of the EDL and now leader of Pegida UK) after protests were planned for the event by anti-fascists (Huffington Post, 8 February 2017)

9 February: Far-right National Democratic Party politician Maik Schneider is convicted of arson of a refugee shelter in Nauen, near Berlin, and sent to prison for eight years. An accomplice receives a seven-year term, while four others are given suspended sentences. (BBC News, 9 February 2017)

10 February: Members of the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee investigate withdrawing funding from the parties forming the Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) bloc, on the basis that EU money can only go to parties that respect ‘the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law’. The APF, which received EU funds of €600,000 in 2016, includes Forza Nueva, Golden Dawn, Germany’s National Democratic Party and the Czech anti-Roma DSSS, and is headed by Roberto Fiore, who was convicted of the 1980 terrorist attacks in Bologna. (EU Observer, 10 February 2017)

11 February: New research by HOPE not Hate finds that right-wing bloggers and social media activists in the UK have helped the alt-right movement spread fake news. Download a short version of the report by Joe Mulhall: Going Mainstream: The mainstreaming of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe and North America here (pdf file, 760kb). (Guardian, 11 February 2017)

13 February: An unnamed 17-year-old boy, a member of the far-right proscribed National Action, who was found guilty of making a pipe bomb, is sentenced to a three-year youth rehabilitation order, having already served time on remand. (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 13 February 2017)

22 February: LD50, an East London art gallery, is criticised for exhibiting neo-Nazi artwork and hosting openly racist speakers. (Guardian, 22 February 2017)

22 February: The Home Office refuses a request by South Yorkshire police to grant them powers to restrict EDL marches in Rotherham. (Sheffield Star, 22 February 2017)

23 February: Sean Creighton, a former member of the National Front who admitted posting racist material online is sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to seven public order offences and one terrorism offence. (Metro, 23 February 2017)

Trump and Europe

15 February: An open letter signed by 250 legal academics calls on Theresa May to cancel Trump’s state visit, unless indefensible positions on immigration, refugees, torture, climate change and judicial independence are reversed. (Guardian, 16 February 2017)

20 February: The Swedish Embassy in the US seeks clarification after Trump, at a rally in Florida, blames migration for terrorist attacks in Europe, citing a non-existent atrocity in Sweden the night before. Trump later tweets that he had taken his information from a story on Fox News – a reference to an interview with the controversial Ami Horowitz. (The Local, 20 February 2017)


14 February: The Bild newspaper apologises after a police investigation finds a news item about a rampaging Arab ‘sex mob’ in Frankfurt on New Year’s Eve was ‘without foundation’. Restaurateur Jan Mali, who claimed to witness the attack that never was, could face prosecution. (Washington Post, 14 February 2017)

National security

20 February: After a British Muslim teacher from Wales, travelling with a school party, is removed from a US-bound flight on 16 February, his school writes to the US embassy demanding an explanation. (Guardian, 20 February 2017)

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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