Calendar of Racism and Resistance (12 -26 August 2021)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (12 -26 August 2021)


Written by: IRR News Team


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


Afghanistan crisis

12 August: Germany, France and the Netherlands all temporarily halt deportations to Afghanistan as the Taliban makes sweeping gains.  (Al Jazeera, 12 August 2021)

16 August: The Conservative Austrian interior minister suggests that should deportations to Afghanistan become illegal under international law, ‘deportation centres’ in the region around Afghanistan could be set up – a proposal he intends to take to the European Commission. (Reuters, 16 August 2021)

16 August: As concerns mount that NATO members are not quick enough to evacuate Afghan citizens in danger of reprisals from the Taliban, Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia agree to an American request to temporarily host political refugees seeking entry to the US.  (Guardian, 16 August 2021; Balkan Insight, 17 August 2021)

17 August: As images from Kabul show desperate Afghans trying to leave the country by clinging onto departing aircraft and falling to their death, French president Emmanuel Macron, speaking at a France-Oceania summit,  calls for a ‘robust’ EU plan to tackle the increase in ‘irregular migration’ from Afghanistan saying ‘Europe alone cannot bear the consequences of the current situation’. (Euronews, 16 August 2021)

17 August: The Greek asylum minister says that Greece cannot become a ‘gateway for a new refugee wave’ adding that Turkey is a safe country for Afghan refugees. (Keep Talking Greece, 17 August 2021)  

18 August: The SNP calls for the UK Home Secretary to reconsider the Nationality and Borders Bill as the crisis in Afghanistan develops. Stuart McDonald MP highlights the ways in which the bill could be a barrier to Afghans arriving in the UK. (The Herald, 18 August 2021)

18 August: Priti Patel claims that the UK cannot accommodate 20,000 refugees ‘in one go’, after announcing a new scheme that is expected to offer sanctuary to only 5,000 vulnerable people in its first year. The plan promises to help 20,000 Afghans in the ‘longer term’, a commitment which opposition parties criticise as a ‘vague’ target. (Independent, 18 August 2021)

18 August: Nicola Sturgeon calls on the UK to go ‘further and faster’ on the proposed Afghanistan resettlement scheme. The First Minister calls 5,000 this year ‘woefully inadequate’, but states the Scottish government is ‘ready to play a full part’ in the current resettlement scheme. (Daily Record, 18 August 2021)

21 August: Greece completes a 40km wall on its border with Turkey and installs more surveillance, as migration minister Notis Mitarachi states that Greece ‘will not be a gateway to Europe for illegal Afghan migrants’. (Guardian, 21 August 2021)

22 August: The government plans to establish offshore asylum processing hubs for Afghan refugees it has ‘an obligation to’ in countries like Pakistan and Turkey. (Guardian, 22 August 2021)

22 August: The Turkish Foreign Ministry states that no formal requests have been made, by any country, to set up offshore asylum centres for Afghan refugees. The ministry also says such requests could not be accepted, as it already hosts over 4 million Syrian refugees. (Daily Sabah, 22 August 2021)

A picture of Afghanistan solidarity protesters in central London, 21 August 2021
An Afghanistan solidarity protest in central London on 21 August. Credit: Steve Eason, Flickr.
Borders and internal controls

12 August: A freedom of information request by Migrants Rights Network reveals that almost 500,000 migrants have had their tax details shared with the Home Office by HMRC, for immigration enforcement purposes. Legal professionals suggest such data-sharing powers are ‘unlawful’. (The New Arab, 12 August 2021)

18 August: Poland sends 900 soldiers to seal its frontier with Belarus after a surge in people arriving, mostly from Iraq. (Al Jazeera, August 2021)

20 August: The number of migrants attempting to reach the Canaries, Spain, doubles, and 40 people are feared dead as a dinghy capsizes off the coast of the Canary Isles with just one woman surviving the crossing from Africa. (Guardian, 20 August 2021)

23 August: As the Polish deputy foreign minister describes those attempting to cross the border from Belarus as ‘economic migrants’, the government announces that a new 2.5-metre-high border fence will be built and the military presence boosted to 2,000 guards. The Ocalenie Foundation accuses Polish troops now amassed at the border of illegal push-backs. (Reuters, 23 August 2021)

Reception and detention

12 August: Dozens of asylum seekers have been ordered to isolate at Napier Barracks, following another COVID outbreak at the asylum accommodation. This comes after the COVID outbreak in January, which spurred a report stating that the accommodation was unsuitable for social distancing measures. (Independent, 12 August 2021)

13 August: The Home Office plans to build accommodation centres for 8,000 asylum seekers awaiting the processing of their claims, a warehousing of people which one charity describes as potentially ‘hugely harmful to vulnerable and often traumatised people’. (Politics Home, 13 August 2021)

18 August: Croydon Council says it could stop accepting refugee children if the government does not fund the cost of their care, as it currently cares for 157 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, which is costing up to £9 million a year. (My London, 18 August 2021)

20 August: Detainees in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre protest about a COVID-19 outbreak, refusing to return to their cells, and some refusing food in response to the lack of testing and medication provided to detainees with Coronavirus symptoms. (My London, 20 August 2021)

20 August: It is discovered that the Home Office did not carry out safety checks on the Sheffield hotel where a 5-year-old Afghan boy fell to his death on 18 August from the 9th floor. This comes as campaigners reveal the hotel had previously been cleared of people on the grounds it was unfit for habitation. (Guardian, 20 August 2021)

21 August: MPs call on Priti Patel to launch an investigation into how an Afghan boy fell to his death in Sheffield, re-emphasising the Home Office’s duty of care to those resettled under the government’s scheme (Evening Standard, 21 August 2021)

21 August: It is revealed that Afghan children are being held in hotels for weeks without shoes, spare clothes, money, or access to healthcare. One minor reported having had neither legal advice nor an interpreter since arriving and claiming asylum a month ago. (Guardian, 21 August 2021)

24 August: Three years after a Tamil woman committed suicide in pre-deportation detention at Waaghof prison, in Basel, Switzerland, four guards are charged with negligence and failure to provide assistance. (Newsletter Sans-Papier Basel, August 2021)


14 August: Human rights organisations say the deportations of hundreds of unaccompanied children who crossed into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in May must stop. The government refuses to confirm the number of children deported. (Al Jazeera, 14 August 2021)

Citizenship and statelessness

22 August: Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon says she is deeply concerned about Jagtar Singh Johal, a Scottish Sikh man facing the death penalty in India after a confession allegedly extracted under torture and calls on the foreign secretary to intervene. (Guardian, 22 August 2021)  


With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, this section – as well as the section on anti-fascism and the far Right – now incorporates information on the Christian Right as well information relating to the incel movement.

11 August: In Romania, the Alliance for the Unification of Romanians, which is represented in parliament, announces that it will introduce an anti-LGBTQ bill based on the Hungarian model, which followed the campaigning of the Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania and the Hungarian Civil Party campaign against ‘LGBTQ ideology’ and ‘gay propaganda’. (Deutsche Welle, 11 August 2021)

12 August: Home Secretary Priti Patel appoints as her communications private secretary Jonathan Isaby, the ex-head of the hard-right Taxpayers’ Alliance, former editor of Conservative Home and editor of Brexit Central, raising serious questions over civil service neutrality. (Guardian, 12 August 2021)

12 August: As federal election campaigning opens in Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany defends those who refuse Covid vaccine and attacks migrants and refugees, while promising to provide a home for persecuted Christians and white farmers from South Africa. (MRT, 12 August 2021)

13 August: In the context of local elections in Italy, a former League party councillor, Andrea Santucci, suggests renaming Rome’s Square of the Partisans after Hitler. League MP Claudio Durigon refuses to resign after calling for a park in Latina, named after two assassinated anti-mafia judges, to be renamed after the brother of Benito Mussolini. (Ansa, 13 August 2021)

A picture of The Square of the Partisans outside the Ostiense station in Rome.
The Square of the Partisans outside the Ostiense train station in Rome. Credit: Fred Romero, Flickr.


11 August: After a White Lives Matter banner was placed by Patriotic Alternative outside Havering town hall, the far Right is accused of high-jacking the 2019 killing of Jodie Chesney who was stabbed to death in Harold Park, where another WLM banner was also displayed. (My London, 11 August 2021)

12 August: In the worst mass shooting in the UK since 2010, Jake Davison, a hate-filled misogynist, shoots dead five people, including his mother and a 3-year-old child in Plymouth, before turning the gun on himself. He shared rants on Reddit forums used by incels, with previous posts expressing admiration for Donald Trump and the UK Libertarian party. (Guardian, 12 August 2021)

13 August: The Independent Office of Police Conduct launches an investigation into the decision by Devon and Cornwall police to reinstate the gun licence of Jake Davison. (Guardian, 17 August 2021)

14 August: In Germany, far-right groups and neo-Nazis are linked to a protest against Borussia Dortmund’s Covid stadium entry regulations, after the Querdenker (lateral thinkers) movement launched an appeal on Telegram channels for a symbolic ‘I’m giving my shirt back’ protest against measures they associate with the Third Reich. (Deutsche Welle, 14 August 2021)

17 August: Byline Times reports that the incel sub-culture, which the Plymouth killer appears to have imbibed, is linked to the deaths of an estimated 50 people in the US and Canada and warns against an oversimplification of a sub-culture which is often a gateway to white supremacist movements and far-right conspiracy theories such as the ‘Great Replacement’. (Byline Times, 17 August 2021)


13 August: In Portugal, the IGAI (oversight body of police, gendarmerie and border services), says that complaints against the police make up half of all complaints received in 2020; and were up 12%, with three deaths registered.  There were just 8 disciplinary sanctions arising from a total of 1,073 complaints. (Portugal News, 13 August 2021)

13 August: An internal review by South Yorkshire Police rules that ‘reasonable force’ was used against Musa Usuf in May 2020, who, in a case of mistaken identity, was detained at gun point, kicked in the face and body, and required hospital treatment. There was no evidence of misconduct according to the review. (Sheffield Star, 13 August 2021)

16 August: A Cambridgeshire police sergeant who used PAVA spray to restrain a Polish man in custody faces charges including racially aggravated assault, following an investigation by the IOPC. (Hunts Post, 16 August 2021)

19 August: The Devon and Cornwall officer, who admitted gross misconduct for sending an offensive meme about George Floyd to WhatsApp colleagues, keeps his job and receives a warning from the disciplinary panel. (Guardian, 19 August 2021)

20 August: The Court of Appeal increases the sentence of Jamie Taylor, who had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Amaan Momand in Birmingham in 2019, because not enough weight had originally been given to the racial element of the crime. (BBC, 20 August 2021)

24 August: The College of Policing is criticised for publishing new guidelines on the use of facial recognition technology during the parliamentary recess, and more than 30 organisations including Amnesty International, Privacy International and the IRR call for a total ban on the technology, which has been introduced without proper oversight. (Morning Star, 24 August 2021) 


11 August: The Norwegian intelligence services record a rise in ‘tips’ from public and police about far-right radicalisation among young Norwegian men and teenagers, with the number of reported concerns divided equally between right-wing extremists and ‘Islamists’.  (News from Norway, 11 August 2021)


24 August: An unpublished Pavee Point report finds that discrimination by local authorities is a ‘key factor’ in the ‘striking over-representation’ of Travellers’ homelessness in Ireland; that Travellers are almost eight times more likely to live in severely overcrowded homes than settled families; and that conditions on Traveller sites are a ‘revolving door’ in and out of homelessness. (Irish Times, 24 August 2021)


12 August: GCSE results reveal a widening attainment gap between pupils at selective and state schools. (Guardian, 12 August 2021)

16 August: Lawyers for Aysha Khanom, whose contract with Leeds Beckett University was terminated on Twitter over the use of words and phrases like ‘house negro’ and ‘coconut’, takes legal action against Leeds Beckett University on the grounds that these words are associated with Critical Race Theory and Black radicalism which are protected beliefs under the Equality Act. (Guardian, 16 August 2021)

16 August: An appeal court overturns a previous successful defamation ruling brought against two historians researching Polish complicity with the Holocaust by the niece of a war-time mayor. Verifying research methodology or source material is an ‘unacceptable form of censorship and interference in the freedom of research and scientific work’, rules the judge.  (Guardian, 16 August 2021) 


17 August: Data from the Office for National Statistics highlights the inequalities in the job market, revealing that 31 % of black and minority ethnic workers have lost their jobs during the pandemic compared with 11% of white workers. (Mirror, 17 August 2021) 


13 August: Hackney Council pledges to support rough sleepers, taking a stand against government plans to make rough sleeping grounds to deport non-British nationals. (Hackney Council, 13 August 2021)


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.

14 August: The Church of England must not repeat its lack of welcome to the Windrush Generation when thousands of Hong Kong Chinese people move to the UK in what could be the largest planned migration for decades, say clergy of Chinese heritage. (Guardian, 14 August 2021)

 15 August: Campaigners pushing to remove Stroud’s 240-year-old figure known as the ‘Blackboy Clock’ are accused of trying to erase history by local conservative MP for Stroud, Siobhan Baillie. There has now been a council-run consultation panel set to deliver ‘meaningful recommendations’. (Guardian, 15 August 2021) 

 15 August: Historian David Olusoga criticises national newspapers’ characterisation of Newcastle city council’s modest attempt to contextualise its Boer War Memorial as an ‘erasing’ of ‘our history’. (Guardian, 15 August 2021)

16 August: Forensic Architecture demands that its exhibition at the Whitworth gallery, controlled by the University of Manchester, is closed immediately after a statement of solidarity with Palestine was removed from the display following a campaign by UK Lawyers for Israel. (Guardian, 16 August 2021)

18 August: Following protests from Manchester Palestine Action, the University of Manchester upholds a complaint against its earlier decision to remove a statement in support of Palestine from the Forensic Architecture Cloud Studies exhibition at the Whitworth gallery, saying it will reinstate the statement while providing a space for alternative responses. (Guardian, 18 August 2021)

18 August: The Society of Editors withdraws its claim that the UK media is not racist or bigoted, after six months of pressure from journalists of colour who said it did not reflect their experience of the industry. (Guardian, 18 August 2021)

18 August: After it was revealed that there were no immediate plans to publish the report into racism at Yorkshire, prompted by Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of abuse, the England and Wales Cricket Board intervenes to ensure its publication. (Guardian, 18 August 2021)

19 August: English cricketer Azeem Rafiq calls for Yorkshire’s chief executive and director of cricket to resign or be sacked, after accusing the county of ‘fudging’ a public apology at the end of an investigation into their former players’ allegations of racism. This ten-month investigation conceded that Rafiq had been the victim of ‘inappropriate behaviour’. (Guardian, 19 August 2021)

22 August: A virtual statue of campaigner Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg who died in the custody of Brixton police in 2008, is unveiled outside Brixton Police station. (Independent, 22 August 2021)


16 August: In France, anti-coronavirus ‘pass’ demonstrators, carrying banners with the word ‘Qui’[who] are accused of fuelling antisemitism and the vandalism of monuments, such as a memorial in Brittany to French Holocaust survivor, Simone Weil. Former far-right National Front official, Cassendre Fristo, is charged with racial hatred offences after carrying a banner stating ‘mais qui’ followed by names, including those of prominent Jews. (Guardian, 16 August 2021)

17 August: In Oslo, Norway, police charge a 34-year-old man with attempted murder after he tries to shoot two teenage Norwegians ‘with immigrant background’ on the metro. (, 17 August 2021)

17 August: A nationwide survey finds that 93 % of the taxi drivers who took part have suffered racial abuse from passengers, whilst 63 % of them said they kept the incidents to themselves as they saw it as ‘part of the job’. (i News, 17 August 2021) 

18 August: In North London, a 64-year-old Orthodox Jewish man is punched in the face in a suspected  racist attack, causing him to hit his head against a wall and leaving him unconscious, with a broken ankle and head injuries. (Metro, 22 August 2021) 

20 August: Two homes are attacked and a vehicle set alight in Ainsworth, North Belfast in what police call a ‘racially motivated hate crime’ causing a number of people to flee. (Belfast Telegraph, 20 August 2021)

22 August: In Corby, Northamptonshire, a 21-year-old woman is racially abused and then assaulted by a man, leaving her on the ground with injuries to her face. (Northamptonshire Telegraph, 23 August 2021) 

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

Headline image photo 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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