Calendar of Racism and Resistance (15 December 2021 – 5 January 2022)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (15 December 2021 – 5 January 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

14 December: New immigration rules narrow the categories of people who can claim resettlement under the government’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP), for those in danger for helping the British authorities. (HM Government, 14 December 2021)

21 December: The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights reports that the modern slavery provisions of the Nationality and Borders Bill is ‘not compliant with the prohibition on slavery and forced labour’ under international human rights and anti-trafficking law. (Independent, 21 December 2021)

23 December: An open letter to children’s safeguarding bodies from 25 child and migrant rights organisations says delays in the asylum process, which average over 18 months for unaccompanied children, leave them at significant risk of dying by suicide, self-harm or exploitation. (Guardian, 23 December 2021)

4 January: Freedom of information requests by the Scottish Refugee Council reveal that in the past 5 years only 7 per cent of confirmed victims of trafficking have been granted permission to stay in the UK. In October the High Court ruled that all confirmed trafficking victims should be granted leave to remain. (Guardian, 4 January 2022)

5 January: As the Nationality and Borders bill returns to the Lords for its second reading, a protest calling to scrap the bill is held outside parliament. (Independent, 5 January 2021)

Borders and internal controls

14 December: In France, the Paris prosecutor investigating the 24 November capsizing of a boat in the Channel says that 26 of the 27 migrants have been formally identified, including seven women, a teenager and a 7-year-old girl. Sixteen were Iraqi Kurds, others were from Iran (also Kurdish), Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Egypt and Somalia. (Guardian, 14 December 2021)

17 December: Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) publishes Human dignity lost at the EU’s borders, based on interviews with 368 family members, which identifies 6,200 cases of forced or illegal push backs from Balkan country borders. Read the report here. (Balkan Insight, 17 December 2021) 

18 December: A transcript of a recording of armed officers intimidating a humanitarian worker from Grupa Granica in Poland’s border region with Belarus, leads to media criticism of the Territorial Defence Forces, a volunteer corps overseen by the military, which is accused of harassing and intimidating humanitarians and journalists. (Notes from Poland, 18 December 2021)

20 December: Relatives of those who drowned in the Channel on 24 November launch legal proceedings to demand a public inquiry into alleged failings by British agencies contributing to the deaths of 27 refugees, while refugee support group Utopia 56 lodges a complaint against French authorities in Paris. (Guardian, 20 December 2021)

21 December: According to IOM, 164 people drowned in two separate shipwrecks off the coast of Libya, with the number of deaths this year of those trying to reach Europe by the central Mediterranean route now at around 1,500. (Guardian, 21 December 2021)

21 December: Four men jailed for between two and six years for assisting illegal entry after piloting small boats across the Channel have their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal, which rules that prosecutors and judges are misunderstanding the law. (Guardian, 21 December 2021)

24 December: Almost 800 people, including infants and new-born babies, are stranded at sea on Xmas Eve on humanitarian rescue boats, as no EU state offers a safe port. SOS Mediterranee’s Ocean Viking, carrying 114 people, had sent six requests for a place of safety, with no response. (EU Observer, 25 December 2021)

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

25 December:  Over the course of three days, at least 30 migrants die as their boats capsize in the Aegean Sea, in Greek waters. (Guardian, 25 December 2021)

3 January: The Polish interior ministry launches a legal action for insulting public servants against Janina Ochojska MEP, for sharing a tweet accusing border guards of violently pushing migrants back to Belarus. A group of citizens show solidarity with Ochojska by submitting complaints to the public prosecutor against themselves for the same offence. (Euronews, 3 January 2021; Euractiv, 3 January 2022)

3 January: Walking Borders reveals that the death toll of refugees attempting to reach Spain doubled in 2021 with an average of 12 people dying or disappearing each day (4,404 deaths) linked to controls enforced in the Mediterranean Sea pushing refugees towards the Canary Islands route – one of the most dangerous crossings in Europe. (Guardian, 3 January 2022)

Reception and detention

13 December: Health officials in Hove, where three hotels have been taken over to house new arrivals, complain that pregnant women arriving in the UK needing ante-natal care are not being seen by doctors for weeks and in some cases are denied food. (Guardian, 13 December 2021)

15 December: Asylum Matters and refugee support groups issue a report on asylum accommodation, ‘In a place like prison’, on the harm to mental and physical health caused by institutional accommodation and calling on the government to abandon plans to extend its use. (Asylum Matters, 15 December 2021)

16 December: HM Inspector of Prisons reports that new cross-Channel arrivals held at Tug Haven and Kent Intake Unit (Dover) and Folkestone, including unaccompanied children, continue to experience very poor conditions and treatment, often held for up to four days in permanently lit rooms, with no beds, no access to fresh air often and inadequate washing facilities. (HMCIP, 16 December 2021)

17 December:  The High Court rules that the withdrawal of financial support for thousands of trafficking victims moved from self-contained accommodation to hotels in July 2020 was unlawful, entitling them to back payments. (Guardian, 17 December 2021)

22 December: Asylum accommodation provided by Home Office contractor Clearsprings in Boris Johnson’s Hillingdon constituency is urgently inspected by the local council after residents complain that it is unfit for habitation. (Guardian, 22 December 2021) 

4 January: The inquest into the death of teenage Eritrean refugee Alexander Tekle, who died on 6 December 2017, the second of four friends to kill themselves within a period of 16 months, hears how he received no help after being traumatised by his experiences, the dangerous journey, attacks in Calais and after being placed in an adult hostel. (Guardian, 4 January 2022)


16 December: The High Court rules that the Home Office acted illegally in denying citizenship to two Windrush victims who could not fulfil the residence requirement only because they were unlawfully prevented from returning to the UK. (Guardian, 16 December 2021)


26 December: Internal documents reveal that at Brook House detention centre, suicidal asylum seekers were subjected to force by guards unauthorised to use restraint techniques during the Home Office operation to remove as many asylum seekers as possible between July and December 2020. (Observer, 26 December 2021)   

Crimes of solidarity

23 December: An Italian court drops the last charge of aiding illegal immigration against Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete, detained in Lampedusa in June 2019 for refusing to obey a military order not to dock in the port of Lampedusa. She acted lawfully under her duty to protect people, the court rules. (Deutsche Welle, 23 December 2021)

A portrait of Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete.
Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete. Credit: Sea-Watch/Paul Lovis Wagner, Wikimedia Commons.


16 December: Germany’s five parliamentary parties are uniting to block Alternative for Germany nominees from parliamentary committees such as the powerful interior affairs committee which deals with domestic security, policing and asylum policy. Some AfD politicians are under surveillance as a threat to the constitution. (Deutsche Welle, 16 December 2021)

16 December: Following a case brought by Jewish organisations, a Dutch court orders far-right MP Thiery Baudet (Forum for Democracy) to delete four tweets drawing comparisons between coronavirus lockdown measures and the treatment of Jews under the Nazi regime, saying they ‘instrumentalised’ the suffering of Jews. (Euronews, 16 December 2021)

17 December: After the Danish parliament expresses unity around the right of schools to teach about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the Danish government vows to protect teachers from threats to ‘free speech’. (Euronews, 17 December 2021)

20-23 December: Two supporters of the far-right French presidential candidate Éric Zemmour post videos on social networks in which they simulate shooting at targets, training rifles against images of president Macron, politicians from the left-wing LFI parliamentary group, anti-fascists and other left-wing targets. Zemmour denounces those who posted the videos while calling on left-wing politicians to denounce the thousands of antifa who harass him. (News Net Daily, 20 December 20 2021; RFI, 23 December 2021)

21 December: Locals demand that a village mayor restores order in the Dobruška Vas Roma settlement, near Škocjan, Slovenia as authorities in various regions bring in intensive controls in impoverished Roma settlements, with the help of horseback units and Roma police officers. (Euronews, 21 December 2021)

21 December: As part of its probe into reports that the Alternative Message Group Bavaria, called for civil war on chat groups, police search the homes of two Alternative for Germany politicians, withholding their names but reporting that they are under investigation for public incitement. (Reuters, 21 December 2021)

22 December: The media reveals that Vincent Uher, a seconded expert from France working in the legal service of the European Commission, is playing a key role in the ‘Funding association of The Friends of Eric Zemmour’. (Politico Europe, 22 December 2021)

23 December: Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán is denounced by Bosnian officials and religious leaders for comments made in a speech in Budapest in which he claimed integrating Bosnia into the EU would be a challenge because of its Muslim population. (Euronews, 23 December 2021) 


13-14 December: As the far Right, notably the Reichsbürger movement, features prominently in anti-coronavirus restrictions disturbances in several German cities, the government announces a clampdown on the messaging service Telegram. (Deutsche Welle, 14 December 2021)

15 December: In Saxony, east Germany, domestic intelligence (LKA) forces carry out coordinated raids after Dresden Offlinevernetzung (Dresden offline network) use the Telegram site to discuss a plot to kill the state premier, Michael Kretschmer and other representatives of the state government. (Deutsche Welle, 15 December 2021)

15-16 December: As Chancellor Olaz Scholz warns that far-right extremism poses the greatest threat to German democracy, police raids on the homes of far-right extremists in Cologne lead to the seizure of drugs, bomb-making equipment and four arrests. (Deutsche Welle, 16 December 2021)

29 December: In Greece, the mayor of Kilkis, which borders Turkey, refers a retired military officer to the police after receiving   a threatening letter accusing him of high treason by ‘preparing settlements for illegal immigrants’ as part of an attempt to ‘legitimise the occupation’ of Greece. (Keep Talking Greece, December 2021)

3 January: Data provided by the counter-extremism tech company Moonshot reveals a sixfold rise in visits to incel forums with glorification by the online incel community of Jake Davison, the shooter who, in August 2021, killed seven people in Plymouth prompting calls for action. (Guardian, 3 January 2022)

3 January: In Bavaria, Germany, prosecutors investigating a Bundeswehr soldier who posted an anti-Covid vaccine video which contained ‘threats against the rule of law’ say they are not ruling out an extremist motive. (Deutsche Welle, 3 January 2022)


16 December: In Denmark, the justice ministry announces a plan to rent 300 prison cells in Kosovo to ease overcrowding and accommodate foreign prisoners due to be deported at the end of their sentences.(Euronews, 16 December 2021)

17 December: North East Borough command officer PC Harry Chandler is sacked for using a racial slur in a WhatsApp message to a colleague which was discovered on the phone of former Met officer Jamie Lewis, jailed for sharing photographs at the murder scene of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. (Guardian, 17 December 2021) 

22 December: Liberty Investigates’ FOI requests reveal that 61% of those listed under Operation Prime, an initiative of the Met’s Violence Suppression Units to target the ‘most prolific or violent offenders’ in the capital were black, with 61% on the list 18 or under and 15% under 15. (Liberty Investigates, 22 December 2021)

24 December: The Telegraph publishes data based on FOI requests on assaults on police officers in 2021, under the headline ‘Black Lives Matter and Climate Change protests blamed for rising attacks on police’. (Telegraph, 24 December 2021)

28 December: PC Ryan Connolly of the Merseyside police, who sent racist, homophobic and offensive images via WhatsApp, resigned before a disciplinary tribunal found him guilty of gross misconduct, the Guardian reveals. Photos of himself at a murder scene and of people in hospital who had been sectioned were discovered on his phone, as well as homophobic and racist messages including an image of a KKK member. (Guardian, 28 December 2021)

30 December: Newly-released Cabinet papers reveal that Tony Blair’s government initially opposed allowing the Stephen Lawrence inquiry to examine police relations with minority ethnic communities on the grounds that it would raise unrealistic hopes for change and a more advisable focus on ‘achievable and appropriate’ goals to ensure support for the police. (Guardian, 30 December 2021)

1 January: The girlfriend of Dalian Atkinson, the ex-footballer who died in police custody, for which a convicted officer, the first in 35 years, is serving a sentence, rejects the apology for the 2016 death from West Mercia Police. She demands a review of deaths in custody. (Mirror, 1 January 2022)


28 December: Since the French separatism law came into force in August, 25 mosques have been closed and La Ligue de Defense Noire Africaine, the Nawa Centre d’Etudes Orientales et de Traduction publishing house, and the far-right Alvarium group, dissolved, the government reveals. (Euronews, 28 December 2021)


24 December: Leading Cambridge theologians criticise Divinity faculty head Professor James Aitkin for the weakness of his response to allegations that a right-wing circle of academics had met with a Trump donor’s chief of staff – no clarification of the faculty’s commitment to issues of racial justice were given, with the issue framed as one of free speech. (Varsity, 24 December 2021)

28 December: The Campaign for Real Education criticises an Oxford Union proposal to restructure its invitations process in order to consult with ‘specialist student societies’ and take into account adverse effects on minority groups. (Daily Mail, 28 December 2021)


21 December: Statistics Sweden and the National Board for Health and Welfare say that it is nearly twice as likely that a child from a foreign background is taken into care, a total of 7,909 children were removed from their parents in 2019. (Radio Sweden, 21 December 2021)

2 January: According to figures supplied by the Labour Party more than half of black children now live in poverty and the total number in poverty has doubled over the past ten years. (Guardian, 2 January 2021)


17 December:  A 4-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sister, originally from Bulgaria, die after a fire breaks out at the Stornara Roma camp home to around 1,000 people near the southern Italian city of Foggia. (, 17 December 2021) 


20 December: Research by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel finds that Belgians with non-western names are 4.8 times more likely not to find a job in the regular labour market, with secondary school pupils already experiencing discrimination and less likely to be employed in government departments or the private sector. (Brussels Times, 20 December 2021)

20 December: In a pre-action letter to the Labour party, 82-year-old Jewish member Diana Neslen says the party’s investigation of her for antisemitism constitutes discrimination of her protected philosophical belief in anti-Zionism under the Equality Act and that she has a case for discrimination and harassment. (Guardian, 20 December 2021)


5 January: After a nine day trial, the four Black Lives Matter protesters charged with criminal damage for pulling down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston are found not guilty at Bristol crown court. (Guardian, 5 January 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.

13 December: In partnership with UNHCR, Malmö FF becomes the first sports club in Sweden to pledge commitment to the integration of refugees through work and sport opportunities, pledging to employ 50 refugees by 2023. (UNHCR press release, 13 December 2021)

17 December: After a Mughal ring is featured on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, Oxford history professor Dan Hicks says that the programme should address Britain’s legacy of colonialism when explaining the history of artefacts. (Guardian, 17 December 2021) 

18 December: Police make an arrest following allegations that racist abuse was directed at two Arsenal players from among the home crowd during their match at Leeds United. (Guardian, 18 December 2021) 

19 December: After a home fan directs a racist remark at opposition player Aaron Opoku, Duisburg’s match against Osnabrück in Germany is halted by the referee and subsequently abandoned. Both sets of fans unite in a ‘Nazis out!’ chant of solidarity. (Guardian, 19 December 2021)

21 December: The Equality and Human Rights Commission says that alleged accounts of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club were likely to have broken the law. (Guardian, 21 December 2021)

22 December: BBC Radio 4 is piloting a new show Unsafe Space, featuring stand-up comedians linked to the Campaign for Common Sense which has been critical of Black Lives Matter, trans rights and ‘wokeness’. Performers include GB News presenter Andrew Doyle and former Reclaim party candidate Leo Kearse. (Chortle, 22 December 2021)

24 December:  Press regulator Ipso orders Mail Online to publish a correction to an article which cited Ed Husain’s book Among the Mosques: A Journey Across Muslim Britain and claimed that there are ‘British towns that are no-go areas for white people’. (Guardian, 24 December 2021) 

29 December: In Portugal, SOS Racisme chair Mamadou Ba, who is often targeted by far-right movements and was subject to an online petition calling for his citizenship to be revoked, wins Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. (Global Voices, 29 December 2021)

1 January: A crowd-funder raises £50,000 and saves north London’s New Beacon Books, the first black bookshop in the country, from closing its premises and moving online due to financial problems. (Guardian, 1 January 2022)


17 December: Two men are targeted by a group of young people in a racially aggravated and homophobic incident in Havehill, Suffolk. (Suffolk News, 23 December 2021)

18 December: A 25-year-old woman pleads guilty to the racially aggravated common assault of a bouncer at a Weatherspoon’s pub in Birmingham in May 2021. (Daily Record, 18 December 2021)

22 December: A 42-year-old man is found guilty of racially aggravated harassment and ordered to pay a fine after shouting racist comments at police staff on 3 July in Cambridge. (Cambs Times, 22 December 2021)

22 December: A 24-year-old man admits two counts of assault, one of which is racially aggravated, for attacking two women and racially abusing one of them in Carlisle in July 2021. (News and Star, 22 December 2021)

23 December: The police launch an investigation after a Jewish man is assaulted and a Hanukkah stall damaged in an antisemitic attack outside Hampstead overground station, north London, on 2 December. (Evening Standard, 23 December 2021)

24 December: The police appeal for information following an assault involving racial abuse in Edinburgh, which left a 24-year-old man in need of hospital treatment. (Edinburgh Evening News, 24 December 2021) 

28 December: The police appeal for information after a woman is targeted in a racially aggravated assault in a Gloucestershire car park on 13 December by a man and women who physically assaulted and racially abused her, causing injuries to her neck and hand. (ITV News, 28 December 2021)

29 December: A 42-year-old man is jailed for attacking his female Polish neighbour with a knife, cutting the side of her throat, in an attack which took place on their shared balcony on 27 July 2021 in Whittick, Leicestershire. The court heard that the woman was targeted because she was a foreigner and could not speak English very well. (Leicester Mercury, 29 December 2021)

30 December: An Islington council tenant and domestic violence survivor says that she and her 2-year-old daughter are living in fear after months of racial abuse and harassment and that the council and police have let her down. (MyLondon, 30 December 2021)

31 December: A Muslim hiking group, with members from across the UK, is subjected to online racial abuse after sharing a group photo on Facebook, including comments comparing the walkers to ‘the Serengeti wildebeest migration’. (The Star, 31 December 2021)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to the ECRE, whose weekly bulletin on asylum and migration issues is an invaluable source of information.

Headline image:  A protest against the Nationality and Borders bill outside parliament on 5 January 2022.

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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