Calendar of Racism and Resistance (15 – 28 July 2020)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (15 – 28 July 2020)


Written by: IRR News Team

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


Martin Pettitt ©

17 July: Around 1,500 people protest in Berlin in support of BLM and to protest police brutality. (Deutsche Welle, 17 July 2020)

17 July: Anti-racist activists in Madrid hang a banner reading ‘Fire to the colonial order’ from the Christopher Columbus statue, demanding its demolition. Migrant and anti-racist groups also demand the removal of other colonial symbols in Spain. (El Diario, 17 July 2020)

18 July: Thousands of anti-racism protesters join with climate activists to march through the Paris suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise to mark the fourth anniversary of the police killing of Adama Traoré, under the banner of ‘We want to breathe’, to protest police violence and environmental degradation. (Guardian, 18 July, France24, 21 July 2020)

20 July: Police release new photos of eight people they wish to speak to in relation to the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol on 7 June. (Sky News, 20 July 2020)

20 July: During a solidarity protest in Letterkenny, Ireland, organised by Building Intercultural Communities and the Donegal Travellers Project, the words Traveller, Roma, Black Lives Matter, are sprayed across a community playing field. (Donegal Daily, 20 July 2020)

23 July: Police order a group of flatmates to remove a banner stating ‘white silence is violence’ hanging outside their flat in Crouch End, north London, allegedly claiming it was offensive against white people. A new banner is put up saying ‘had to take first sign down cause racists complained to the police’. (Guardian, 23 July 2020)

Taken from Twitter
Policing (general), military and criminal justice
See also anti-fascism and far Right
For more information on policing and civil liberties issues follow @NETPOL @BigBrotherWatch @COVIDStateWatch and @libertyhq.

16 July: Three decades after the murder of Stephen Lawrence, an ITV poll finds that 77 percent of black people believe that the police still have a ‘culture of racism’. ( ITV, 16 July 2020)

Unison ©

16 July: Three French police officers are charged with manslaughter in connection with the asphyxiation death of 42-year-old delivery driver Cedric Chouviat in January. A fourth police officer is under investigation but has not been charged. (Al Jazeera, 16 July 2020)

17 July: Police access to personal data of phone and internet users is unconstitutional, rules Germany’s constitutional court, following a challenge from the Pirate Party. The Telecommunications Act and several other laws will now need to be revised. (Deutsche Welle, 17 July 2020)

17 July: Following a freedom of information request, Germany’s armed forces admit that over 60,000 rounds of ammunition have gone missing since 2010, revelations that are linked to recent reports that 48,000 rounds are unaccounted for within an elite Special Forces Command known to be penetrated by the extreme Right. (Deutsche Welle, 17 July 2020)

17 July: A Metropolitan police officer is suspended after kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed black suspect in Islington, while another officer is removed from operational duties. Deputy Met Police commissioner Sir Steve House says the footage is ‘extremely disturbing’ and that the techniques used are not taught in police training. The case is referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). (BBC News, 17 July 2020)

17 July: The police officer who assaulted a Sudanese refugee in the Place Anneessens in central Brussels, in an attack the court calls ‘absolutely unacceptable’, walks free after receiving a suspended prison sentence and a €1,600 fine. (Brussels Times, 17 July 2020)

20 July: The parents of Olaseni Lewis, who died in 2010 after being restrained in the Bethlem Royal hospital, are asking why a law drafted in his name two years ago, to tackle dangerous restraint used disproportionately against young black men, has still not come into force (Guardian, 20 July 2020)

20 July: Greater Manchester police launch an internal investigation into a ‘disgraceful and disgusting’ hate crime after an officer’s belongings are etched with a swastika, apparently by a colleague. (Sky News, 20 July 2020)

21 July: Belgian police shut down a protest in Antwerp against police violence, organised on social media after a 29-year-old Algerian man, Akram, died after being restrained close to Antwerp train station two days earlier. (Brussels Times, 21 July 2020)

21 July: The European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control calls on the Swedish justice minister to apologise, after he disparaged research by two academics claiming unfair targeting of racialised minorities in a police operation in Malmö as ‘this year’s most detached from reality debate article’. As a result, xenophobic and libellous comments were directed at the authors. (Statement by European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, 21 July 2020)

26 July: The Metropolitan police defend officers who arrested and handcuffed a 12-year-old black boy seen with a toy gun in north London on 17 July, saying they acted in line with training and expectations. The boy’s mother says the family felt traumatised and ‘utterly violated’ and the police acted out of proportion. (Guardian, 26 July, Guardian, 27 July 2020)

27 July: The Metropolitan police issued 65 ‘Section 60 notices’ allowing no-cause stop and search in May 2020, and made 1,418 stops under them, more than double the number stopped in May 2019, data from Liberty shows. In London, black people are four times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched, rising to 11 times when the requirement of ‘reasonable grounds’ is removed under section 60. (Guardian, 27 July 2020)

27 July: The new chair of the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in England and Wales says schools, police forces, councils and courts hide behind ‘a veil of complexity’ to excuse their failure to reduce the disproportionate number of black and minority ethnic children in the criminal justice system. In 2010, 28 percent of children in custody were of BAME origin, but in March 2020 the figure was 51 percent – despite white children making up 76 percent of young offenders. (Guardian, 27 July 2020)

27 July: Analysis of fixed-penalty notices issued under the coronavirus regulations by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) find that young black, Asian and minority ethnic men are fined twice as often as white people. (Guardian, 27 July 2020)

27 July: Five police forces including the Met police have used ‘Origins’ software developed by Webber/Phillips to map the ethnicity of community neighbourhoods and in one case, for ‘FGM countries’, freedom of information requests reveal. The IRR says the revelation ‘heightens already well-aired concerns about racial profiling’. (Guardian, 27 July 2020)

27 July: French police brigadier-chief Amar Benmohamed goes public on his repeated attempts to expose police racism and violence from 2017 on, including brutality towards detainees in the cells of the Paris high court, and the attempts by his superiors to discredit him and to suppress the evidence he revealed, including removing him from direct contact with detainees and attempting to force a psychological examination on him (en24news, 27 July, Streetpress, 27 July 2020)

27 July: An HM Inspectorate of Prisons report expresses concern about extreme lockdown conditions at Feltham and Warrington Young Offenders’ Institutions, where children are alone in cells for over 22 hours a day, with no visits, and attempts to re-introduce education classes blocked by the prison service. (Justice Inspectorates, 27 July 2020)

27 July: The home of a former Bavarian police officer and his wife is raided in connection with the ‘NSU 2.0’ threatening messages sent to prominent people in Germany. A computer is seized, but no one is charged, as the police officer protests his innocence. (Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2020)

28 July: Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch blames the family of the 12-year-old boy arrested after his home was raided over a toy gun, for ‘inflaming tensions’ about police behaviour, in an interview in which she wrongly claimed the arresting officers were unarmed. The boy’s mother, Mina Agyepong, said she saw red dots on her daughters’ heads from the laser sights on the officers’ guns and feared they would shoot, as the family was ordered out of the house with their hands up and the boy was taken away. (Guardian, 28 July 2020)


28 July: The Munich Higher Regional Court sentences ten people to jail for lending financial and other support to the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML), which is banned in Turkey and was, according to the German prosecutor, plotting a coup there. (Deutsche Welle, 28 July 2020)


Asylum and migration rights

18 July: Over 1,200 of the 7,100 Moroccan seasonal workers stranded in Spain since the outbreak of Covid-19 are finally able to return to Morocco by ship. (El País, 18 July 2020)

28 July: After the Daily Mail reveals that only two Afghan interpreters at risk of reprisals for working with British troops have been granted visas under a scheme launched two years ago, ministers say the very strict criteria for entry will be relaxed to permit more to come. Daily Mail, 28 July 2020)

Reception and detention

10 July: Between 500 and 1,000 displaced people are evicted from encampments on the outskirts of Calais and dispersed, one of the largest evictions since the outbreak of Covid-19. (Independent, 10 July, Are You Syrious, 16 July 2020)

14 July: A crowdfunding campaign is started to pay for the funeral costs of Taofik Sekoni, an asylum seeker from Togo who arrived in the UK five years ago, and died on 1 July after being taken to hospital with severe abdominal pain. He had been shunted about the asylum system, losing touch with friends, and forced to eat unsuitable food. Friends at Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary are organising his funeral in August. Donate here. (No Evictions (FB), 16 July 2020)

14 July: As the Italian authorities look for a new quarantine ship for migrants, 13 migrants who tested positive for Covid-19 are moved to a military hospital in Rome from the town of Amantea, Cosenza, after local protests at their presence in the town. (InfoMigrants, 14 July, InfoMigrants, 16 July 2020)

14 July: NGOs in Munich denounce the inhumane Covid-19 quarantine conditions endured by refugees in overcrowded container-style centres where temperatures reach up to 50°C and where they are allowed only 30 minutes of fresh air per day, spending the rest of their time in a space of 7m². (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14 July 2020)

16 July: Campaigners criticise the dispersal of 84 asylum seekers from Mears-run Urban House asylum centre in Wakefield, where they say there have been 35 cases of Covid-19, without testing them. South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) says residents are being sent to properties across Yorkshire and the North East which are ‘filthy or not decorated and without adequate heating’. (BBC News, 16 July 2020)

17 July: The Greek government announces a sixth extension to the coronavirus lockdown for the crowded migrant and refugee camps, taking the lockdown, which began on 21 March, to 2 August, contrasting with the lifting of restrictions on citizens’ movement on 4 May. (AYS, 18-19 July, News International, 19 July 2020)

18 July: A tribute is held for Doni Neckson, a 29-year-old Sudanese man who drowned in the Canal Saint Denis, Paris on 10 July. He had been living on the banks of the canal with hundreds of other displaced people after fleeing Sudan five years ago. (Archyworldys, 18 July 2020)

19 July: Figures released in a parliamentary answer reveal 474 incidents of self-harm in UK immigration removal centres in 2019, up from 398 in 2018. (Belfast Telegraph, 19 July 2020)

20 July: Women seeking asylum in the UK describe a significant increase in unsafe and unsanitary living conditions during the Covid-19 crisis, according to a report published by Sisters Not Strangers which collated evidence from a coalition of charities. (Guardian, 20 July 2020)

21 July: An Eritrean asylum seeker who became infected with Covid-10 at Mears-run Urban House asylum accommodation in Wakefield is taking legal action against the Home Office, which was warned by his lawyers in April of the risks of infection through overcrowding and shared facilities. (Guardian, 21 July 2020)

21 July: 500 of the displaced people evacuated from Calais for the visit of interior minister Gerald Darmanin on 12 July return to the area but are unable to access showers, food or drinking water. (Le Figaro, 21 July 2020)

22 July: Reports reveal families with refugee status sleeping rough in Athens’ Victoria Square after the Greek government ordered the expulsion of those with refugee status from the camps to ease overcrowding, without providing alternative support. (Guardian, 23 July 2020)

26 July: Two sans-papiers activists are arrested while occupying an abandoned building in Koekelberg district of Brussels, with the aim of establishing a space for 30 women and children to live safely during the pandemic. (Medias de Bruxelles, 26 July 2020)

26 July: A month after a man stabbed six people in asylum accommodation in Glasgow, rights groups complain that hundreds of vulnerable asylum seekers remain in ‘untenable’, stressful and isolating hotel accommodation, with poor-quality food, no money and no information about when they will be moved back to long-term accommodation in the community, despite promises from Mears and the Home Office they would be moved quickly. (Guardian, 26 July 2020)

28 July: A group of asylum seekers at the Skellig Star hotel, a Direct Provision centre in Kerry, Ireland, go on hunger strike over the ‘inhumane conditions’ of their accommodation, where there have been 25 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past four months, during which time the residents have been calling on the government to relocate them. (Independent, 28 July 2020)

Borders and internal controls

15 July: Home secretary Priti Patel asks French authorities to intercept and return migrant boats found trying to cross the English Channel. (BBC, 15 July 2020)

16 July: In a landmark ruling, the Slovenian Administrative Court finds the national police department guilty of carrying out an illegal expulsion in 2019 of a Cameroonian man to Croatia, from where he was pushed back to Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Border Violence Monitoring Network, 20 July 2020)

17 July: The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) criticises the European Commission’s face-value acceptance of Greece’s denial of responsibility for a deadly shooting of asylum seekers at the Turkish border on 4 March, a decision that NGOs believe goes against the forensic evidence. (ECRE Newsletter, 17 July 2020)

17 July: The Dutch data protection authority announces an investigation after it emerges that the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) shared personal details of thousands of asylum seekers including date of birth, ethnicity, religion and country of origin, with the police as part of a formalised liaison system to detect criminal offences. (ECRE Newsletter, 17 July 2020)

18 July: In a legal first, a trial is set for the captain of the Italian commercial ship Asso28 for the pushback to Libya of 101 people rescued in the Mediterranean on 30 July 2018. Two days earlier, the Italian parliament voted in favour of further funding of the Libyan Coast Guard. (AYS, 17 July, InfoMigrants, 20 July 2020)

21 July: As home secretary Priti Patel promises ‘sweeping reforms’ and a ‘cultural shift’ at the Home Office to address the recommendations of the Windrush Lessons Learned review, action is demanded on the review of hostile environment policies and to end delays in awarding compensation to those affected. (Parliament, 21 July, Guardian, 21 July 2020)

Image taken by Twitter user @abiponcehardy who captured a small BLM solidarity protest on 12 July 2020 against hostile environment policies in Scotland

23 July: Poland is ordered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to award compensation of €34,000 to each of the 13 asylum seekers rejected repeatedly between 2016 and 2017 at the border with Belarus. (Politico, 23 July 2020)

23 July: Prominent Windrush campaigner Paulette Wilson, whose decision to speak about her wrongful arrest under hostile environment policies encouraged many others to come forward, leading to the exposure of the scandal, dies suddenly, a month after delivering a petition to Downing Street calling for compensation payments to be speeded up. (Guardian, 23 July 2020)


14 July: Germany carries out its first deportation flight since the start of the pandemic, deporting 19 Pakistani nationals from Frankfurt to Islamabad, on a flight originating in Athens with 10 Pakistani nationals deported from Greece. (InfoMigrants, 16 July 2020)

15 July: The Home Office seeks to reverse a landmark 2019 high court ruling that removal under the detained fast-track asylum system was ‘procedurally unfair’ and ordering the return of a Ugandan asylum seeker to the UK to have her claim reconsidered. Thousands removed under the system could be affected. (Guardian, 15 July 2020)

22 July: Greek migration minister Nitos Mitarakis shares photos of people facing deportation on his personal twitter page and on the Migration Ministry’s Facebook page, violating their right to privacy. (AYS, 22 July 2020)

Criminalisation of solidarity

22 July: SOS Méditerranée accuses Italian authorities of moving to ‘a new level of harassment’ after its Ocean Vikingmigrant rescue ship is detained in Sicily for ‘several irregularities’ including carrying too many passengers. It points out that the 180 quarantined migrants on board are not passengers, but people ‘rescued from drowning’ during an ‘emergency at sea’. (SOS Méditerranée, 22 July, Deutsche Welle, 23 July 2020)


16 July: The Court of Appeal rules that Shamima Begum, the now-20-year-old who left London as a 15-year-old to join the Islamic State group in Syria in 2015, should be allowed to return to the UK to fight the decision to remove her British citizenship. The Home Office says it will challenge the decision. (Freedom of Movement, 16 July, Guardian, 16 July 2020)

16 July: Dual Belgian- Moroccan national Ali Aarrass returns home to Belgium following a ten-year illegal incarceration in Moroccan prisons after a show trial based on torture evidence. (Free Ali, 17 July 2020)

19 July: Save the Children accuses the Home Office of ‘alarming inaction’, of making no attempt to bring back an estimated 60 orphaned British children trapped in north-east Syria and of failing to respond to its letter of December 2019 asking when the children will be brought home. The UK has so far repatriated three orphans, compared with France’s 28 and Kazakhstan’s 600. (Observer, 19 July 2020)

21 July: Over 175 historians call on the Home Office to remove the history section of the official UK citizenship test handbook, because of its ‘misleading and false’ representation of slavery and empire. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)

22 July: The Home Office publishes details of its scheme to allow British Nationals (Overseas) citizens from Hong Kong (formerly known as British Dependent Territories citizens) to enter the UK under a settlement scheme from January 2021. (Free Movement, 22 July 2020)


15 July: The anti-racist campaigner Noel Martin, 60, dies in Birmingham. In 1996, Noel Martin was working in construction in Mahlow, in rural Germany when he was subjected to a neo-nazi attack that left him paralysed. Following that, he dedicated his life to anti-racist causes and founded an exchange programme that brought English and German youngsters together. (Deutsche Welle, 15 July 2020)

15 July: The Hanover Attorney’s Office launches an investigation after Turkish businessmen and others receive a flood of hate mail and racist threats in a series of letters signed ‘Die Deutschen’ that threaten to burn down mosques and launch a war in the Steintor district, which is also a left-wing bastion. (Daily Sabah, 15 July 2020)

16 July: Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst is placed under police protection following threats from the extreme Right. Ranst has regularly criticised the N-VA and Vlaams Belang parties. (Brussels Times, 16 July 2020)

19 July: Neo-nazis signing off as ‘NSU 2.0’ issue threats against at least 15 prominent people in Germany, including high-ranking politicians and the journalist Deniz Yücel, who was previously imprisoned in Turkey and was angry that the police did not inform him about the nature of the threats. (Deutsche Welle, 19 July 2020)

20 July: Xenophobic audio messages from the leader of the far-right party Vox in Ceuta, Sergio Redondo, are found circulating, in which Redondo makes derogatory remarks about the Hindu and Muslim communities, using the pejorative term ‘moritos’ to refer to Muslims, and scorns Ceuta mayor-president Juan Vivas’ support for multiculturalism. (Público, 20 July 2020)

21 July On the first day of his trial in Magdeburg, Germany, for the shooting dead of two people in the Halle synagogue attack in October 2019, Stephen Balliet blames his action on refugees, saying he felt ‘superseded’ by the hundreds of thousands of refugees entering Germany. The judge threatens to exclude him from the courtroom for abusive and explicitly racist language. (Guardian, 21 July 2020)

22 July: Neo-nazi Jacek Tchorzewski, 19, previously jailed for collecting bomb and terror manuals, is sentenced at Harrow crown court for downloading videos, photos and animations depicting child rape, incest and ‘sexual interference with a corpse’. (Independent, 22 July 2020)

24 July: Extreme rightwinger James Healy, 40, is jailed for an attack on Guardian journalist Owen Jones in Kings Cross in August 2019 motivated by Jones’ leftwing and LGBT politics, with two others receiving suspended sentences. (Guardian, 24 July 2020)


22 July: The Labour party apologises unreservedly and agrees a six-figure settlement to seven former employees and journalist John Ware, admitting it defamed them in the aftermath of a Panorama investigation into its handling of antisemitism. Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn criticises the settlement as ‘political, not legal’, arguing that the case could have been successfully contested, and Unite general secretary Len McCluskey says it is a misuse of party funds. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)

22 July: The far-right League and Forza Nuova parties react to news that Italy has been allocated €209 billion in loans and grants under the coronavirus recovery fund by describing it as ‘an unconditional surrender’, with Salvini claiming that the deal will ‘create leverage’ in disputes over migration. (Politico, 22 July 2020)

23 July: Italian senator and former TV journalist Guanluigi Paragone launches a new political party, Italexit, calling for Italy to leave the European Union, two days after meeting Nigel Farage in London. (Al Jazeera, 23 July 2020)

23 July: The Green party takes control of Brighton and Hove city council after two Labour councillors resigned and one had the Labour whip withdrawn over antisemitism allegations. (Left Foot Forward, 27 July 2020)


16 July: The appointment of Tony Sewell, who worked with Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London and is dismissive of institutional racism, to head the government’s new commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, is criticised by both race equality and gay groups, who point to past homophobic comments and stigmatisation of the black family. (Huffington Post, 16 July 2020)

24 July: The Monitoring Group launches a petition to end institutional racism in the family courts and support Allison Wilson-Shaw, a black mother who they say has been systematically failed by the family courts and the police since 2017. (Facebook,  24 July 2020)

25 July: Campaigners urge the new official Windrush working group to investigate discrimination in the pensions system, as it emerges that the state pensions of retirees who move back to Antigua, Trinidad, St Lucia or Grenada are frozen for life. (Guardian, 25 July 2020)


 17 July: After the Jubilee Debt Campaign accuses the International Monetary Fund of allowing some of the world’s poorest nations to use $11.3 bn of Covid-19 bailout money to service private-sector debt, instead of using the money for health budgets and food imports, the World Bank calls on private sector lenders to reduce debt payments.  (Guardian, 16 July, Guardian, 17 July 2020)

22 July: Juliana Lumumba, daughter of Congo’s first prime minister, writes a letter to King Philippe of Belgium asking for the return of her father’s relics, referring to his teeth and finger bones that were kept by the former Belgian chief of police, who admitted to involvement in Lumumba’s 1961 murder. (Brussels Times, 22 July 2020)


See also employment and exploitation

 14 July: As Lancashire faces a ‘rising tide’ of coronavirus cases, Blackburn with Darwen council, an area of ‘concern’ for Public Health England with a large Indian and Pakistani population, where two-thirds of all confirmed Covid-19 sufferers in May were BME, urges local residents to follow new limits on visits and always to wear face masks in public, to stop the spread of coronavirus and avoid a centrally-imposed lockdown. (Guardian, 14 July, Guardian, 15 July, Guardian, 15 July 2020)

19 July: A study of 400 hospital patients links the severe impact of Covid-19 on people from minority ethnic groups to air pollution and overcrowded, poor-quality housing. Patients from ethnic minorities are twice as likely as white patients to live in areas of environmental and housing deprivation and people from these areas are twice as likely to arrive at hospital with more severe coronavirus symptoms. (Guardian, 19 July 2020)

20 July: Academics at the University of Leicester find that Covid-19 cases continued to rise in BME groups in certain pockets of the city three weeks after the lockdown announcement was made, while rates ‘dropped off very sharply’ in white groups. They say the findings, published by The Lancet, raise ‘serious questions’ about whether the ‘one size fits all’ approach is effective on a diverse population with multi-generational households, where most people cannot work from home. (BBC Science Focus, 20 July 2020)

20 July: Blackburn, with an Asian population of about 28 percent, overtakes Leicester as the place with the highest Covid-19 infection rate in England. (ITV, 20 July 2020)

20 July: Official figures show that ‘gaping holes’ in the national ‘test and trace’ system put England’s poorest communities, where far fewer contacts of infected people are traced and alerted, at greatest risk of a second outbreak of Covid-19, as hard-hit local authorities demand more local control for their public health officials. (Guardian, 19 July,Guardian, 20 July, Guardian, 22 July 2020)

26 July: Dr Vanessa Apea, the lead author of the largest and most diverse British studies on Covid-19 in patients in hospital to date, reveals that not only are black and south Asian people significantly more likely to become severely unwell with Covid-19, and to die of it, but also that it is ‘younger black and Asian people who are dying’, as research shows that the psychosocial stress of experiencing racism causes illness. (Guardian, 26 July 2020)

27 July: The National Child Measurement programme reports that, with one in five children in year 6 obese, ‘postcode determines access to healthier food’, making access to healthier food harder in poorer, more deprived areas of the UK, which tend to have larger black and ethnic minority populations. (BBC News, 27 July 2020)

27 July:  Travellers react angrily to being told not to leave the site at Craven Arms, Shropshire where 23 residents have tested positive for Covid-19 following an engagement party there, after police are called to a Traveller who leaves the site to buy groceries in the town. (Guardian, 27 July 2020)

28 July: The National Lottery Trust funded Covid-19 Community Led Organisations Recovery Scheme is launched, offering grants of up to £100,000 to community organisations in England delivering services to support those at high risk of Covid-19, with an emphasis on BME-led or BME supporting businesses. (Power for Change, 27 July 2028)


15 July: A report by the Open Society Foundation, Are agri-food workers only exploited in Southern Europe? exposes exploitation among agricultural workers in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. (Open Society Foundations, 15 July 2020)

16 July: Environmental audit committee chair Philip Dunne MP criticises fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, which claimed it was unaware of potentially illegal working practices at garment factories, ‘over a year since the committee highlighted illegal working practices in its supply chain’, and its failure to meet a pledge to sign up to the Ethical Trading Initiative or to enable union representation. (Guardian, 16 July 2020)

16 July: A Bulgarian care worker, part of an army of eastern European women providing 24-hour care for German pensioners, wins a test case against the Bulgarian agency that employed her. The agency appeals the ruling of the German employment court that she must be paid the minimum wage, entitling her to some €42,000 in back pay. (Deutsche Welle, 16 July 2020)

17 July: Labour rights groups warn that abuses and sweatshop conditions alleged at garment factories in Leicester occur in factories in cities including Birmingham, Manchester and London and ‘at scale’ across UK’s garment, manufacturing, construction, cleaning and farming industries. (Guardian, 17 July 2020)

17 July:  A Trades Union Congress (TUC) survey suggests that one-fifth of BME workers in the UK feel they have been unfairly treated at work due to the colour of their skin during the pandemic, and one-sixth feel they have been more at risk of exposure to the virus due to their ethnic background. 31 percent of BME workers claim they have been bullied at work and 34 percent unfairly turned down for a job. More statistics can be found here.  (ITV News, 17 July 2020)

20 July: Undocumented delivery drivers for the French startup Frichti, who have been on strike since 8 June demanding regularisation, reach a resolution with the platform. Currently, around half of the workers have begun the regularisation process. (en24news, 22 July 2020)

20 July: Two British Uber drivers launch a legal action in Amsterdam, the company’s international HQ, through the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) to check if the company is using secret algorithms to discriminate in allocating work, the day before the company seeks to overturn drivers’ classification as workers with rights, in the UK supreme court. (Guardian, 20 July, Guardian, 21 July 2020)

22 July: The Italian government’s new decree aimed at providing pathways to legalisation for an estimated 200,000 undocumented agricultural and domestic workers is leading to malpractice, fraud and blackmail on the part of employers, according to a Deutsche Welle investigation. Deutsche Welle, 22 July 2020)

22 July: The incoming head of the Financial Conduct Authority warns City firms that it could block directors’ appointments if companies fail to recruit more women and BME candidates to senior roles. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)

23 July: A coalition of over 180 human rights groups says many of the biggest global fashion brands source Chinese cotton and yarn produced through a vast state-sponsored system of forced labour involving nearly 2 million Uighur, Turkic and Muslim people in prison camps, factories and farms in Xinjiang province, where 84 per cent of China’s cotton is processed. (Guardian, 23 July 2020)

24 July: Shadow employment secretary Andy McDonald urges HMRC to investigate Sports Direct after a Guardian investigation finds workers’ inability to leave its Shirebrook warehouse during breaks may put it in breach of minimum wage laws, four years after MPs found the company treated workers ‘as commodities rather than as human beings’. (Guardian, 23 July, Guardian, 24 July 2020)

24 July: Working mothers in the UK are being treated as ‘sacrificial lambs’ during the pandemic, with half not able to access the childcare they need to return to work. According to the Pregnant Then Screwed survey, 11 per cent of pregnant women have been made redundant or expect to be – of these, 57 per cent are black women. (Guardian, 24 July 2020)

26 July: As a parliamentary answer reveals that only 19 families of NHS and social care workers who died after contracting coronavirus have been approved for compensation payments, although at least 540 workers have died, NHS statistics reveal that a quarter of BME healthcare staff have not had a risk assessment for Covid-19. (Guardian, 26 July,  Health Service Journal (£), 27 July 2020)

26 July: Boohoo, the company at the centre of allegations of exploitation of garment workers in Leicester, announces plans to set up its own ‘model factory’ there to ensure workers are treated fairly. (Guardian, 26 July 2020)

27 July: As the Tate galleries reopen to the public, a protest takes place outside Tate Modern against proposed job cuts which will disproportionately affect BME staff. (Guardian, 26 July 2020)

27 July: The chief executive of the General Medical Council warns that the NHS must tackle discrimination against overseas medical staff to improve retention, as fewer doctors arrive from abroad. (Health Service Journal (£), 27 July 2020)

27 July: A report commissioned by Transport for London finds that bus drivers were more than three times more likely to die from coronavirus, because of the nature of the job, underlying health conditions, living in the boroughs most hit by the virus and in many cases, being black or ethnic minority. The bereaved daughter of bus driver Ranjith Chandrapala calls for a public inquiry, as the report says lives would have been saved with an earlier lockdown. (Guardian, 27 July 2020)


See also Asylum and migration: reception

18 July: Plans by Islamic education charity the Aziz Foundation to convert basement floors of the Trocadero building at London’s Piccadilly Circus into a mosque for 1,000 worshippers are withdrawn after 2,800 objections, many racist, were received by Westminster City Council, along with a petition against the proposals organised by Britain First. The council received 6,100 comments in support. (BBC News, 18 July 2020)

19 July: The Housing Ministry announces the creation of a new post of chief inspector of buildings to lead a national regulator of building safety, which will police a system designating an ‘accountable person’ for each high-rise building to respond to residents’ complaints, in a reform prompted by the Grenfell Tower disaster of June 2017. (Guardian, 19 July 2020)

20 July: The Grenfell inquiry hears that the main contractor on the refurbishment, Rydon, pocketed over £100,000 in savings by using inferior cladding, saving the landlord Tenant Management Organisation nearly £300,000 on the contract, and failed to appoint fire safety advisers despite promising to do so five times. (Guardian, 20 July 2020)

22 July: The Grenfell inquiry hears evidence that the main contractor carrying out the refurbishment work referred to residents questioning the quality of the work as ‘rebels’ and ‘aggressive’, and did not check materials used in window surrounds, which were combustible, in breach of building regulations. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)

24 July: Conservative housing secretary Robert Jenrick extends permitted development rights (PDR) allowing a range of buildings, including former offices, to be converted into housing without planning permission, despite recent research commissioned by the government revealing that such rules have led to ‘worse quality’ homes, many of which are tiny, dingy apartments barely fit for human habitation. (Guardian, 24 July 2020)

26 July: Grenfell campaigners request the inquiry chairman, judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, to examine whether the cost-cutting measures that helped spread the fire would have been sanctioned ‘if the tower block had been in an affluent part of the city for an affluent white population’. (Guardian, 26 July 2020)

credit: ChiralJon flikr

27 July: The Home Affairs Select Committee publishes a report on Home Office preparedness for Covid-19 in institutional accommodation, which is highly critical of failures in testing and provision of basic hygiene facilities in shared asylum accommodation, unrelated adults still sharing rooms and asylum seekers being moved without local authorities being consulted or informed. Read the report here. (BBC News, Politics Home, 27 July 2020)


19 July: The government reveals that interviews with ‘work coaches’ for claimants applying for universal credit, criticised for being too short for claimants to raise often complex and challenging personal circumstances, have been cut from 50 to 30 minutes, as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) re-introduces benefit sanctions for people who fail to fulfil agreed conditions. (Observer, 19 July 2020)

21 July: Oxfam Intermón estimates that after the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three people at risk of poverty will be migrants, and that unemployment rates for migrants this year will increase 10 per cent more than for the rest of the population. (El Diario, 21 July 2020)

22 July: The DWP tells the work and pensions select committee that it is overhauling its safeguarding systems to ensure liaison with the NHS, police and other agencies after a series of high-profile failures including the death by starvation of 57-year-old Errol Graham in 2018 following withdrawal of his benefits and the revelation by the National Audit Office in February 2020 that at least 69 suicides over the past six years could be linked to benefits problems. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)


14 July: SOAS publishes findings from a survey of 2,022 students attending 132 universities, revealing that the Prevent duty inhibits discussions of identity and religion on campus and reinforces negative stereotypes of Islam and Muslims, with one-fifth of students saying that Islam is not compatible with British values, a figure rising to 35 per cent among those supportive of Prevent. Read the report here. (Middle East Eye, 14 July 2020)

19 July: Dr Hilary Aked uncovers documents revealing that colleges and universities in Greater Manchester, with the help of counter-terrorism police and the Department for Education, drew up a secretive agreement two years ago allowing for the sharing of personal data of students referred to Prevent without their consent. (Guardian, 19 July 2020)

16 July: Education secretary Gavin Williamson says universities in financial need will have to show they are complying with duties to secure freedom of speech, and scrap ‘low-value’ courses, to receive emergency loans – but said student unions should not subsidise ‘niche activism and campaigns’. The University and College Union (UCU) accuses the government of using the pandemic to enforce Conservative election manifesto objectives. (Guardian, 16 July 2020)

16 July: Scotland’s children’s commissioner warns that the country is facing a ‘children’s rights emergency’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and calls for additional mental wellbeing and education support to be put in place. He is particularly concerned about the quarter of all children in Scotland experiencing poverty, which he believes are more at risk.  (BBC, 16 July 2020)

20 July: The Education Policy Institute says the government’s Covid-19 catch-up fund for pupils is badly targeted and unlikely to prevent a further widening of the attainment gap suffered by children from poor backgrounds. (Guardian, 20 July 2020)

20 July: Former students of a top private school, Norwich School, write a second letter criticising the school’s ‘dismissive’ response to allegations of racism in a first letter last month signed by 264 pupils, ex-pupils and parents, including a teacher telling a pupil he would grow up to be a ‘drug dealer’ and another being asked to apologise for wearing a Black Lives Matter badge. (BBC, 20 July 2020)

21 July: A study of school exclusions in Cheshire West and Chester by NGO Social Finance finds that pupils with experience of social care are more likely to experience all forms of exclusion, while girls are informally excluded more often than boys. (Guardian, 21 July 2020)

21 July: The German state of Baden-Württemberg, led by the Greens, bans full-face coverings in schools. As teachers are already banned from wearing them, the ban now encompasses secondary and primary school students, even though cases of full-face veiling in schools are rare. (Deutsche Welle, 21 July 2020)

22 July: Evidence compiled by 18-year-old Intisar Chowdhury, who condemned the government’s lack of consideration for BME health and care workers after the Covid-19 death of his hospital doctor father, reveals pervasive racism in English schools, from a black girl told by senior staff that her natural hair is against ‘government regulations’ to a teacher comparing two black boys to a cartoon of a fat, purple blackcurrant with outsized facial features. Listen to the podcast here. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)

24 July: Teachers say the reopening of schools in Wales confirms an increased number of pupils need support for their mental health after becoming more vulnerable in lockdown. Barnardo’s Cymru says it has the greatest concern for children from more deprived families. (BBC News, 24 July 2020)

24 July:  New data reveals a widening of the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates during the partial school shutdown, particularly among primary age pupils. (Read the report here) (Tes, 24 July 2020)


15 July: Thousands sign a petition calling for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to include black composers, as music students say the overwhelmingly white curriculum deters black musicians from applying to the four royal music schools. (Guardian, 15 July, Guardian, 16 July 2020)

16 July: The sculpture of Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid, erected clandestinely on the plinth emptied by the toppling of Edward Colston in Bristol, is removed 24 hours later, leading some to say it should have been allowed to stay longer given that Colston’s statue had stood for over a century. (Guardian, 16 July 2020)

16 July: The Daily Telegraph pays substantial libel damages to The Nectar Trust and its Trustees and apologises for false allegations of links to terrorism. (Chambers & partners press release, 16 July 2020)

 17 July: Leeds City Council launches an independent public consultation into the city’s statues and monuments with the aim of better honouring and representing ‘inclusivity and diversity in public spaces’. (Morning Star, 17 July 2020)

18 July: The RAF removes the name, N***** on a headstone on the grave of a Dambuster’s dog at Scampton in Lincolnshire. The RAF’s review of its ‘historical assets’ continues. (Independent, 18 July 2020)

 19 July: Speaking ahead of the installation of his new work Reaching Out, a nine-foot statue of a black woman to be erected in Stratford, East London as part of The Line sculptor trail, British sculptor Thomas J Price says Marc Quinn’s Black Lives Matter Jen Reid statue, which replaced slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol for 24 hours, ‘effectively colonised that space in Bristol again’. (Guardian, 19 July, Time Out, 21 July 2020)

21 July: The inquiry into the potential removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue at Oriel College, Oxford states that it will publish its findings in January 2021 and will consider ‘a full range of options for the statue’. (Guardian, 21 July 2020)

21 July: Photographer Martin Parr steps down as artistic director of the Bristol Photo Festival after criticism over his association with a 1969 book with a racist juxtaposition of images. (Guardian, 21 July 2020)

22 July: Dr Errol Francis, director of arts charity Culture&, calls on galleries and museums to support decolonisation of collections and start restitution processes, saying statements in support of Black Lives Matter are hypocritical if unaccompanied by an intention to return items seized by force from Africa, such as the Benin Bronzes, looted in 1897 and displayed by the British Museum. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)

22 July: Theatre director Dominic Cooke steps down from the West End musical Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story,to be replaced by British Jamaican director Clint Dyer, with Cooke acknowledging ‘the conversation about race has changed in theatre, as it has across society’. (Guardian, 22 July 2020)

24 July: A campaign is launched to remove a statue of the Coburg Moor which adorns the town’s hall in Bavaria. Critics say it is a throwback to the colonial era, but supporters claim the statue is reverential and probably symbolises the Black African Saint Maurice, who was executed for his faith. (Deutsche Welle, 24 July 2020)

26 July: Activists in Martinique pull down the statue of Josephine de Beauharnais, wife of Emperor Napoleon, who was born on the island, cover it with palm leaves and set it alight. (Franceinfotv, 26 July 2020)

27 July: After UK Grime rapper Wiley tweets a series of antisemitic remarks, causing police to open an investigation, his manager to sever all ties and Twitter to suspend his account, several campaigners, celebrities and government ministers launch a 48-hour ‘Twitter walkout’ in protest at the platform’s failure to remove hateful content. (Guardian, 24 July, Guardian, 25 July, Evening Standard, 27 July 2020)

29 July: After criticism from home secretary Priti Patel and chief rabbi Ephraim Mervis, Facebook and Instagram deactivate Wiley’s accounts. Twitter later apologises for slow action on antisemitism and confirms that following a further investigation it has permanently suspended Wiley’s Twitter account. (Guardian, 28 July ITV, 29 July 2020)

27 July: After a manslaughter verdict in the trial concerning the death of PC Andrew Harper, The Times carries an article by former Number 10 speechwriter Clare Foges arguing that ‘we have to end the squeamishness that prevents open talk about Travellers’, drawing criticism from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups and activists online. (Times (£), 27 July 2020)

29 July: In an opinion piece by Owen Jones, the Guardian mistakenly uses an image of Grime artist Kano in reference to Wiley. (Guardian, 29 July 2020)


15 July: Jermaine Coleman, the only black coach in rugby league, formally complains to the Rugby Football League about a series of posts relating to Black Lives Matter. No further action is to be taken against people within the game, says the RFL, as the posts were not discriminatory, though four individuals are instructed to undertake an educational course on the use of social media. (Guardian, 15 July 2020)

15 July: Premier League and EFL clubs are in discussions with pressure group Stop Funding Hate about joining an advertising boycott run by the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) which seeks to stop advertisers funding companies fuelling hatred, after social media companies have failed to stop the posting of racist messages. (Guardian, 15 July 2020)


14 July: A 47-year-old man who was found stabbed in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset on 29 June and died three days later may have been the victim of a racist attack, police believe, as two men aged 27 and 30 are charged with murder. They will appear in court on 7 December, and two other men remain under investigation. (BBC News, 14 July 2020)

14 July: Devon and Cornwall police appeal for information regarding a racially motivated assault outside Exmouth train station on 24 June in which a man in his 20s was hit in the face with a glass bottle by a group of men, leaving him needing hospital treatment and stitches. (ITV, 14 July 2020)

11 July: Scottish police investigate after a 55-year-old taxi driver is racially abused and assaulted by a passenger in his vehicle in Coatbridge, leaving him with serious injuries to his head and his hand. (News STV, 14 July 2020)

14 July: An investigation is launched after a racist incident in a pub in South Staffordshire on 11 July, when a customer warned three Asian men to leave, and another spat beer over one of them. (Birmingham Mail, 14 July 2020)

15 July: South Yorkshire Police open an investigation after two young girls aged 12 and 13, one of whom is of Jamaican descent, are racially abused and attacked by two teenage boys in a Rotherham park. One of the girls receives injuries to her hand when a boy threw a scooter at them. (Examiner Live, 21 July 2020)

16 July: Police appeal for witnesses after a couple and their two young children leaving a Taunton supermarket are subjected to racist abuse by a man and woman and the man waves a hammer from his car window before driving away. (Somerset County Gazette, 24 July 2020)

17 July: Officers appeal for information after three boys aged 10-11 years old hurled racist abuse at a family with young children by the river Nene, Wellingborough, and threw firecrackers at them. (Northampton Chronicle, 20 July 2020)

18 July: A 15-year-old boy is charged with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm in relation to an incident in London’s Oxford Street on 24 February, when a Singaporean student was set upon by a group and told ‘we don’t want your coronavirus in our country’. The teenager will appear at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court in August. (Evening Standard, 18 July 2020)

19 July: Avon and Somerset Police launch an investigation after Bristol City’s Famara Diedhiou was racially abused online. The Senegalese striker was targeted after missing a penalty, and posted a screenshot of a tweet sent to him consisting of three banana emojis. (Bristol Post, 19 July 2020)

19 July: A 12-year-old girl is racially abused and kicked in the stomach in an attack by young boys as she enjoys a cycle ride with her friend, also 12, in Healing, Lincolnshire. (Grimsby Telegraph, 21 July 2020)

20 July: West Mercia police appeal for witnesses following an incident of racist abuse of a woman who scolded two men for riding motorcycles on the grass in Lickey, north Worcestershire, on 5 July. (Kidderminster Shuttle, 20 July 2020)

21 July: A new study by the Spanish interior ministry reveals that hate crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia increased by over a fifth in 2019. (Público, 22 July 2020).

22 July: Greater Manchester police launch an investigation after racist graffiti were daubed over a George Floyd mural in the city’s Northern Quarter. Sacha Lord, founder of music venue The Warehouse Project offers a £1,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. (Huffington Post, 22 July 2020)

22 July: A study by Newcastle and Northumbria universities finds that 80 percent of Muslims in the north-east have experienced racist abuse and three-quarters feel it is getting worse. (ITV News, 22 July 2020)

22 July: A 21-year-old NHS worker and musician, performing under the name K-Dogg, has a car driven at him deliberately as he leaves his shift at Southmead hospital, Bristol, by two men who shout racist abuse at him. He is left with a broken leg, nose and cheekbone and will need plastic surgery on his face and leg. (ITV News, 29 July 2020)

24 July: Konstantinos Kalemis, refugee coordinator at the Malakasa migrant camp in north Athens, is dismissed with immediate effect after describing Greek-Nigerian NBA star Giannis Antentokounmpo as a ‘monkey’ in a tweet. He has since deleted his twitter account entirely. (Ekathimerini, 24 July 2020)

26 July: A couple visiting their boat in Weymouth find a woman and her dogs in it, and when they ask her to leave, a man with her racially abuses them and threatens to damage the boat. (Dorset Echo, 27 July 2020)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Aisha Rana-Deshmukh, Laura Wormington, Jessica Pandian, Graeme Atkinson, Joseph Maggs, Sarah Ross and Kaiisha Kukendra.

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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