Calendar of Racism and Resistance (11 – 25 May 2022)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (11 – 25 May 2022)


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 migrant rights      

15 May: It is revealed that people whose British spouses have died are facing destitution and deportation because the Home Office is charging a £2,404 administrative fee for the grant of indefinite leave to remain under the ‘bereaved partner concession’. (Guardian, 15 May 2022)

18 May:  Campaigners celebrate in Samos, Greece, after an unprecedented prosecution ends with the father of a five-year-old boy who drowned while crossing with him on a dinghy from Turkey in 2020 found not guilty of endangering the life of his child. Another Afghan man who steered the boat after the skipper disappeared is given a suspended sentence. (Ekathimerini, 18 May 2022)

Borders and internal controls

11 May: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration orders a rapid review of the published Home Office policy to remove to Rwanda asylum claimants arriving after 1 January 2022 on ‘dangerous’ journeys, particularly on small boats. (EIN, 10 May 2022, Free Movement, 11 May 2022)

12 May: According to Statewatch research, the EU has spent over €340 million on border artificial intelligence technology. Most money goes to private companies, with transnational military and security companies amongst the primary recipients. (Statewatch, 12 May 2022)

13 May: A ‘Festival of Resistance’ is held on Kenmure Street, Glasgow, commemorating the first anniversary of a successful neighbourhood action against an immigration raid, forcing officials to release two people detained in a Border Force van. (STV News, 14 May 2022)

14 May: Hundreds of people from the local community mobilise against an immigration raid targeting food delivery workers in Dalston, east London. Police claim they were carrying out a planned operation targeting ‘e-scooters and moped-enabled crime’ when they attempted to arrest a person for immigration offences. (Daily Mail, 15 May 2022; Counterfire, 16 May 2022)

IWGB protest outside Hackney Town Hall in solidarity with delivery drivers harassed by police
Protest in Hackney in solidarity with delivery drivers targeted by police in Dalston. Credit: Laura Wormington, IWGB.

14 May: Prime minister Boris Johnson says 50 people have been told they will be sent to Rwanda in the next 14 days, as the Home Office admits LGBTQ+ refugees may be sent there, although they could be persecuted for their sexual orientation. (Guardian, 14 May 2022)

16 May: More than two thirds of Swiss voters back an increase of national funding to Frontex, after it was put to referendum. (Euronews, 16 May 2022)

Reception and detention

15 May: A protest is held outside the women’s immigration detention facility, Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre in County Durham, condemning the use of detention as retraumatising’ already vulnerable people and creating a ‘living hell’ for women fleeing trafficking, torture and abuse. (BBC, 15 May 2022) 

19 May:  A Glasgow mother and baby unit run by Home Office subcontractor Mears housing 38 asylum-seeking mothers and their babies, is forced to suspend its services after the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland deemed conditions ‘cramped and unsafe’ following residents’ complaints of lack of space, natural light, ventilation and safety. (Guardian, 19 May 2022)

22 May: The Home Office confirms that all the asylum seekers who are set to be sent to Rwanda have been placed in detention centres after arriving in the UK on small boats. Those detained for offshoring so far include recent arrivals from Sudan, Afghanistan and Albania, and Detention Action accuses the Home Office of using the Rwanda policy as a justification for the increased use of indefinite detention. (Guardian, 22 May 2022)


12 May: Three Italian NGOs report on deportations of Tunisians from Italy. Examining the deaths of Wissem Ben Abdellatif and Ezzedine Anani and the treatment of 53 Tunisian deportees in hotspots, quarantine ships and pre-deportation detention centres, they find Tunisian deportees are falsely portrayed as criminals and regularly denied rights. (Statewatch, 12 May 2022)

18 May: The Jamaican charter flight scheduled to deport 112 people takes off with just seven people on board, after dozens are granted legal reprieve on grounds of asylum and modern slavery. An analysis by the campaign group Movement for Justice shows that most of those detained for the flight arrived in the UK as children, with many having Windrush connections. (Guardian, 12 May 2022; Independent, 19 May 2022)

Crimes of solidarity

21 May: Four members of the Iuventa rescue ship crew, which has been credited with saving 14,000 lives in the Mediterranean, and 17 other NGO workers, appear in court in Sicily, Italy, accused of colluding with people smugglers to ferry migrants to Europe and facing the possibility of a 20-year jail sentence. (Observers, 22 May 2022)


10 May: In Schleswig-Holstein, the far-right Alternative for Germany loses all its seats in the state parliament, failing to cross the necessary 5 percent hurdle to gain representation(Deutsche Welle, 10 May 2022)

13 May: Belgian mayors successfully apply for police bans to prevent the Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders and the Flemish Vlaams Belang’s Filip Dewinter from touring the municipalities of Molenbeek, Anderlecht, Schaerbeek and Saint-Josse-ten-Noode in a provocative publicity stunt. (Brussels Times, 13 May 2022)

18 May: The French interior minister describes Grenoble town council’s decision to allow the burkini in public pools as an ‘unacceptable provocation’ against the secular republic. Rhône-Alpes regional authority suspends the town’s funding. The public prosecutor opens an investigation into the campaigning organisation Alliance Citoyenne. (Guardian, 18 May 2022)

18 May: Lib Dem councillor Sandra Holliday is elected mayor of Cheltenham despite accusations of racism by fellow Lib Dems which allegedly led to the resignation of a black candidate. (BBC News, 18 May 2022)

20 MayHungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, utilising the slogan ‘God, Homeland, Family’, is guest speaker at the US Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) first meeting in Europe on the theme of the ‘great replacement’ theory. Orbán declares days before that ‘European population exchange’ is a ‘suicidal attempt to replace the lack of European, Christian children with adults from other civilizations – migrants’. (Guardian, 18 May 2022; Guardian, 20 May 2022)

23 May: After an earlier incident in which government ministers walk out of a parliamentary session in the Czech Republic as far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy MP Tomio Okamura attacks Ukrainian refugees, singling out Romani as ‘unadaptable’, the interior minister blogs that Roma are the worst afflicted by the crisis and that it is necessary to ‘atone for the hardship we have caused them’. (Romea, 11 May 2022; Romea, 24 May 2022)


With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right as well as information relating to the incel movement.

12 May: In Essen, Germany, a 16-year-old is arrested on suspicion of plotting an attack on a local secondary school after police seized weapons, bomb-making equipment and far-right racist materials from his apartment. (Associated Press, 12 May 2022)

13 May: In France, far-right sympathiser Martial Lanoir is arrested on suspicion of murder after a man is shot dead in Paris’s 18th arrondisement during a street fight. (Streetpress, 17 May 2022)

13 May: The Federal Ministry of the Interior says that the number of right-wing extremists in Germany grew by 4 percent last year, with 300 employees of national and state military, police and security agencies linked to far-right and similar movements. (StarTribune, 13 May 2022)

14 May: Payton Gendron, 18, arrested after the fatal shooting of 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, was reportedly influenced by eco-fascism and the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory, referencing it in an 180-page online manifesto he is believed to have penned which claims that white Americans are being replaced by people of colour. (Yahoo, 14 May 2022)

17 May: Alex Davies, the founder of the neo-nazi group National Action, is found guilty of membership of a banned organisation, the 19th member of the organisation to be convicted. (Guardian, 17 May 2022)

19 May: In France, seven members of the far-right survivalist group Patriot Vengeance are arrested, mainly in the Paris region, on suspicion of planning violent attacks. (RFI, 19 May 2022)


13 May: In Berlin, Germany, a vigil organised by a Jewish group in memory of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, is one of five gatherings affected by an unprecedented ban on protests in the run-up to Nakba Day, with police citing risk of antisemitic chants, intimidation and violence. (Al Jazeera, 13 May 2022)

13 May: In France, seven police officers from the Bac de Nuit de Nancy receive suspended sentences for ‘harassment’ and ‘racist insults’ made against colleagues on the social network Messenger. A police officer of north African origin who was sent anonymous messages with photos of pork sausages and isolated on patrols was their main target. (Streetpress, 17 May 2022; France Info, 17 May 2022)

13 May: Following a public backlash, police in Bristol reopen an investigation into an allegedly racially motivated attack on Antwon Forrest, a 12-year-old autistic Black boy who was hit in the head with a paddle during an altercation at a river park. (The Bristol Cable, 13 May 2022) 

16 May: The Home Office launches ‘Operation Sceptre’, a week of crime-fighting initiatives including lifting of restrictions on Section 60 stop and search without reasonable suspicion in areas where police ‘anticipate violent crime’. At a Police Federation conference, the home secretary announces plans to grant some special constables the right to use electroshock weapons. (Guardian, 17 May 2022; Metro, 16 May 2022)

16 May: MP Florence Eshalomi demands answers over the ‘traumatic’ treatment of a 16-year-old Muslim schoolgirl in Stockwell who was surrounded by 14 police vans and cars, handcuffed by a school patrol officer and accused of burglary, when no evidence was found. (The Voice, 16 May 2022) 

16 May: FOI requests reveal that west Yorkshire police strip-searched 285 young people, including two 12-year-old boys, between April 2017 and March 2022. (Telegraph & Argus, May 2022)

17 May: Kids of Colour condemn the false gang narrative and vow to fight on after a jury at Manchester Crown Court, in a joint enterprise conspiracy to murder case that centred around text messages, convicts four young black boys of conspiracy to murder and a further six of conspiracy to commit GBH.  (Twitter, 17 May 2022)

18 May: London City Hall invests a further £3 million in Violence Reduction Units, more than doubling the number of intervention coaches employed by local authorities but based in police custody as part of the ENGAGE programme to divert young people away from violence. (,  18 May 2022)

18 May: Police and private security employees abandon an attempt to evict traders at Tottenham’s Latin Village after community resistance leads to a 3-hour standoff. (Twitter, 18 May 2022; Twitter, 19 May 2002)

19 May: At the public inquiry into the 2015 death in custody of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, a police officer involved in his arrest admits that he used CS gas and pepper spray without warning even though Bayoh made no direct threat and was not armed. (Guardian, 19 May 2022)

19 May: The Metropolitan police says that it has introduced 12 new Police Encounter Panels, comprising local people, senior officers, the MPS Federation or an appropriate staff association, to monitor the use of force in a bid to rebuild trust with Londoners through greater transparency. (Police Professional, 19 May 2022)

20 May: Freedom of information requests reveal that 26 police forces have spent at least £3million in out-of-court settlements over a two-year-period from January 2020 and that a further £2.3 million has been paid out in compensation for unlawful police behaviour. (Byline Times, 20 May 2022)

20 May:  A 14-year-old Darlington boy who posted racist, antisemitic, homophobic and Islamophobic images, downloaded bomb-making manuals and expressed the wish to blow up an orphanage is sentenced to a referral order for terrorism. (Guardian, 20 May 2022) 

20 May: The inquest into the 2015 death of Ian Taylor, an asthmatic black man, concludes that his death of cardiac arrest was aggravated by failure to carry out an adequate risk assessment. Taylor was left lying on the street on one of the hottest days of the year without an inhaler, water, or medical assistance, accused of ‘playing the old poor me, poor me card’, despite pleading that he could not breathe.  An officer is referred to the IOPC for further investigation. (Hodge Jones & Allen, 20 May 2022)

21 May: Black social worker Edwin Afriyie announces he will sue the City of London police for unlawful force over an incident in 2018 when he was tasered and knocked unconscious during a roadside stop. He suffered a head injury and suicidal thoughts following the incident (Guardian, 21 May 2022)

22 May: In Malta, three years after two soldiers shot dead migrant worker Lassana Cisse, the government confirms that his body will finally be returned to the Ivory Coast. The trial of the two soldiers, who are currently on bail, is still pending. (Malta Today, 22 May 2022)

23 May: Police forces that could be using facial recognition technology to identify potential witnesses and not just suspects are warned as the Information Commissioner’s Offices fines Clearview AI £7.5 million for illegally scraping 20 billion images of people’s faces from the web to form a global facial recognition database. (Sky News, 23 May 2022) 

23 May: In the Netherlands, police officers who blew the whistle on racism and discrimination describe their experiences of being sidelined and abused within the force in a new film, De Blauwe Families (The Blue family), screened on national TV. (Controle Alt Delete, 23 May 2022)

24 May: The father of Stephen Lawrence criticises the recently announced National Police Chiefs Council and College of Policing’s ‘race plan’ which avoids mention of institutional racism, saying they fail to listen and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. (Guardian, 24 May 2022)

24 May: The Metropolitan police says it will investigate after the mother of a mixed race autistic 15-year-old girl says she was left traumatised, and later tried to kill herself, after being strip-searched by police who handcuffed her and cut off her underwear in the presence of male officers. (BBC News, 24 May 2022)



16 May:  Since 2017, according to UK counter-terrorism police and intelligence services, 32 terrorist plots have been foiled: 18 Islamist related, and 12 far-right plots to trigger race wars. (Guardian, 16 May 2022)

22 May: Government advisers criticise William Shawcross’ claim, in leaked extracts from his review of the Prevent strategy, that there is too much focus on right-wing extremism and not enough on Islamists, saying his views do not reflect the changed landscape of terrorism in which mixed and far-right ideologies predominate. (Guardian, 16 May 2022; Observer, 22 May 2022) 


13 May: Charities estimate that around 10,000 African students studying in Ukraine before Russia’s invasion, are now spread across Europe facing obstacles as they seek to fulfil their educational aspirations, with scholarships mostly offered to Ukrainian students. (Al Jazeera, 13 May 2022)

13 May: The government severs its links with the National Union of Students (NUS) claiming antisemitism within the organisation. The suspension occurs before a NUS investigation into antisemitism claims has been completed. (Guardian, 13 May 2022)

13 May: Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi rejects the push for Russell Group universities to accept more state school students and lower the matriculation rates of students from private schools, claiming that top universities should not ‘tilt the system away from children who are performing’. (Independent, 13 May 2022)

18 May: Academics and student leaders tell the parliamentary equalities committee that the denial of ‘ingrained structural racism’ at universities, and the lack of practical action to tackle it, leads some of its victims to consider suicide. (Guardian, 18 May 2022) 

19 May: Ten students from the EPHEC school in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, are suspended for sending racist messages in a group chat following a group project with students from another college. (Brussels Times, 19 May 2022)  

20 May: Raheem Bailey, an 11-year-old black pupil at the Abertillery Learning Community in Wales, has his finger amputated after an incident at the school. His mother says that since starting at the school in September 2021 he has suffered physical and racial abuse. (Independent, 20 May 2022)

23 May: Anti-racist consultant Liz Pemberton receives online abuse after former education ministry John Hayes calls her work ‘brainless nonsense’.  (Guardian, 23 May 2022) 

24 May: Labour and Liberal Democrats call for an investigation after James Wharton, chair of the Office for Students participates in the CPAC conference in Budapest which platformed the notorious racist and antisemitic Hungarian TV host Zsolt Bayer. (Guardian, 24 May 2022)


11 May: A court ruling deems Lambeth Council to have acted unlawfully by refusing to house Desiree Cort, who was homeless, without immigration status and with no recourse to public funds in June 2021. Cort had claimed emergency housing under the government’s ‘Everyone in’ initiative which aimed to house homeless people during the pandemic, regardless of immigration status. (GBN, 11 May 2022)

16 May: Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission unveils early plans for the memorial of the 72 residents who lost their lives in the tower fire. Plans include ideas for a garden, artwork, and a museum to acknowledge the site’s history. (Architects’ Journal, 16 May 2022)  

18 May: The Home Office rejects prominent recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry that would provide safer evacuation practices for high-rise residents. (Inside Housing, 18 May 2022) 

Grenfell United silent walk - banner saying "this much evidence, still no charges"
A silent walk for the Grenfell Tower fire victims. Credit: Steve Eason, Flickr.

24 May: Social housing activist, Kwajo Tweneboa, wins the Sheila McKechnie Young Campaigner Award 2022 for his work in exposing the dire condition of social housing in Britain. (The Voice, 24 May 2022)


20 May: An inquest finds that a lack of medical supervision by hospital staff was a factor in the death of black mental health patient, Rullson Warner, who died of a heroin overdose while detained at St. Ann’s Hospital in Tottenham in March 2020. (Independent, 20 May 2022) 

23 May: A UN health programme (UNAIDS) warns that some reporting and commentary on the Monkeypox virus is using stigmatising language that could harm public health, citing portrayals of Africans and LGBTI people. (Al Jazeera, 23 May 2022)

23 May: A year-long study by childbirth charity Birthrights finds systemic racism in UK maternity services which is putting lives at risk, with black women four times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than white women. (Guardian, 23 May 2022)


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.

15 May: Everton football club announces that it is assisting police after two Brentford players claim their family members were racially abused at the match between the two sides. (Guardian, 15 May 2022)

19 May: Merthyr Cricket Club in Wales apologises after it sends a tweet referring to a rival team that contained Asian players as ‘chocolates’. (Metro, 19 May 2022)

19 May: Two members of the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Asian Inclusion Mentoring Scheme (Aims) criticise retiring boxer Amir Khan for perpetuating stereotypes, after Khan suggested that Asian sportspeople allow a poor diet and ‘excuses’ about racism to prevent them from fulfilling their potential. (Guardian, 19 May 2022)

20 May: A Europol operation involving Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and the UK leads to the removal of around 1,000 profiles and audio files from the German music-streaming platform SoundCloud, relating to ‘right-wing rock bands’ and Islamic rhythmic chants’. (Euronews, 20 May 2022)

21 May: Drogheda United and Finn Harps condemn the racist abuse from a Drogheda fan aimed at Harps defender Ethan Boyle in a League of Ireland match held on 20 May. (Pundit Arena, 21 May 2022)

23 May: Lazio football club and the Italian minister for foreign affairs, Luigi di Maio, condemns a group of Lazio fans who were filmed racially abusing a steward at the club’s match against Verona. Lazio also condemned the display of an antisemitic banner aimed at Roma fans. (Football Italia, 23 May 2022)


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

10 May: Bristol police reclassify the case of a 12-year-old black boy who was struck in the face with a paddle by a white woman in a Gloucestershire park on 26 March, sustaining a deep cut on his forehead that required hospital treatment, as a racial attack and reopen the investigation, after the boy’s parents appeal their original decision to take no action. (Guardian, 10 May 2022)

10 May: A 19-year-old man is convicted of a racially aggravated attack that took place on 26 March at Catterick Garrison. Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court sentences the perpetrator to 200 hours of unpaid work and bans him from visiting the military base for 12 months. (Northern Echo, 11 May 2022)

11 May: A 48-year-old woman is targeted in a racially aggravated assault while riding the bus in Winchester. The unknown female perpetrator shouts racist slurs before attacking the victim, who sustains a minor injury to the nose. (Hampshire Chronicle, 20 May 2022)

12 May: Two brothers, 25 and 28, are convicted of racially aggravated actual bodily harm and assault by beating for an attack in May 2020 in Oldham, and sentenced to suspended prison terms, unpaid work and fines. (Oldham Times, 12 May 2022)

13 May: Two men, 24 and 26, are convicted of racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm against a 37-year-old university lecturer in Southampton last February, and are sent to prison for nine and 13 months respectively. The younger additionally pleads guilty for possession of two offensive weapons. (Southern Daily Echo, 13 May 2022)

13 May: The Jewish community of Vienna record a record number of 965 antisemitic incidents in Austria in 2021, representing a 65 percent increase over the previous year, most carried out by the far Right, with abusive behaviour and mass mailings and literature containing antisemitic messages and stereotypes predominant. (ivpress, 13 May 2022)

14 May: A dominoes player who claimed that a Westminster council injunction banning him and his friends from congregating in Maida Hill Market Square, north-west London was racially discriminatory, wins his case against the council, with the judge ruling that the council was wrong not to take equality into consideration when taking out the injunction. (Guardian, 14 May 2022)

14 May: A 49-year-old woman from the Philippines chooses to close her corner shop in Falmouth after five years’ operation due to ongoing racist abuse. In the past five months, she has faced racist slurs, abuse from customers and having objects thrown at the shop window. (The Packet, 16 May 2022)

17 May: In Lucca, Italy, a 29-year old mentally disabled man from Ghana is attacked in a public park in Pietrasanta by six people, five of them minors, who film the attack, including racist comments, and post it on social media. (La Repubblica, 17 May 2022)

18 May: A 58-year-old British Asian man is threatened with racist slurs and a brick by two men in Priory Gardens, Orpington. A park warden intervenes and no arrests are made. (Evening Standard, 20 May 2022)

22 May: A German-American opera singer is suing Berlin’s public transport company, BVG for racial discrimination, saying he has been physically abused by outsourced ticket inspectors, who are also accused of causing another passenger a crushed shoulder blade, broken collar bone and two broken ribs in an assault in December 2020. (Guardian, 22 May 2022)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sira Thiam, Sigrid Corry, Donari Yahzid, Sophie Chauhan and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration 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.

Headline image credit: IWGB couriers protest outside Hackney Town Hall, 25 May 2022. Credit: Steve Eason, 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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