Calendar of racism and resistance (16 August – 2 September 2019)

Calendar of racism and resistance (16 August – 2 September 2019)


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

 18 August: Médecins sans Frontières spokesperson reacts with disbelief to UNHCR official Vincent Cochelet’s tweets expressing concern for ‘the radicalisation of migratory dreams’, which he explains as refugees’ rejection of jobs and language classes in nearby countries in order to go to the EU. Another critic says Cochelet should be more concerned with EU member states’ refusal to comply with refugee law and the law of the sea. (Euronews, 21 August 2019)

19 August: Free movement for EU citizens will end on 31 October in the event of no Brexit deal, Boris Johnson says, raising fears of another Windrush among the 2.6 million EU nationals in the UK who have not yet applied for settled status. (Guardian, 19 August 2019)

20 August: Thirteen Greek and European civil society organisations publish ‘No End in Sight,’ which details a range of struggles and abuses against refugees in mainland Greece and the islands, amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, in the asylum procedure, healthcare, police violence and discrimination against women, children and LGBTQ+ people. Read the report here. (Are you Syrious, 24 August 2019, Statewatch News, 26 August 2019)

21 August: The newly elected Greek government revokes access to national ID cards for asylum seekers and introduces changes to housing policy whereby all rental payments have to made through banks. Asylum-seekers have virtually no access to the banking system. (Are you Syrious, 24 August 2019)

22 August: Official statistics show that immigration from the EU is at its lowest level for six years, mainly because of fewer people coming for work. (INews, 22 August 2019)

23 August: Nearly 17,000 asylum seekers in the UK have waited over six months for a decision on their claim, 58 per cent more than a year ago,  including some who had waited years, and one who received a decision four and a half years after claiming asylum, according to government figures. (Independent, 23 August 2019)

© London Black Women’s Project

23 August: Step Up Migrant Women (a collation of over 40 organisations), and Amnesty International UK launch a petition expressing concern that the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill fails to provide protection for migrant women. Specialist BAME service providers including Southall Black Sisters (SBS) and Latin American Women’s Rights (LAWR) highlight that they have not been invited to participate in an upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill roundtable. (Amnesty International, 23 August 2019, LAWRS twitter 23 August 2019)

25 August: Eurostat statistics show that nearly 900,000 asylum seekers are living in limbo in the EU, awaiting processing of claims, as the asylum rejection rate doubles to nearly two-thirds of claims (four-fifths in Italy), although the numbers claiming have halved. (Guardian, 25 July 2019)

31 August: Campaigners accuse the government of misleading the public over the Home Office claim that over a million EU nationals have successfully applied under its settlement scheme, as evidence shows the proportion granted pre-settled status, which provides fewer rights than settled status, has increased to over 40 per cent. (Guardian, 31 August 2019)

1 September: The Home Office will end family reunification under the Dublin Regulation for asylum-seeking children stranded in Europe on 31 October in the event of a no-deal Brexit, UNHCR warns, which charities say is likely to lead to dozens more refugee children risking their lives in the dangerous crossing from France to Britain. (Guardian, 1 September 2019)

2 September: The new Greek government announces enhanced border patrols to contain ‘huge waves’ of asylum seekers arriving from Turkey, along with other ‘emergency’ measures aimed at abolishing asylum seekers’ appeal rights and removing ‘illegal migrants’ back to Turkey. (Guardian, 2 September 2019)

The Libyan crisis

22 August: A month after the shipwreck of a boat with 250 people on board off the coast of Libya, in which up to 150 migrants drowned, bodies wash up on the shore near Khoms Souq al Khamis detention centre, where according to an Eritrean detainee, guards threaten to shoot detainees who try to bury them. (Irish Times, 22 August 2019)

27 August: Another forty people are feared dead after a wreck is found off Libya’s coast. The previous week, more than 100 people died. (Guardian, 27 August 2019)

Reception and detention

14 August: Senior coroner Mary Hassell directs Camden council to alert other local authorities to the increased risk of suicide among unaccompanied child refugees from Eritrea, during the inquest into the death of Osman Ahmed Nur, 19, who was found dead in May 2018, one of four young Eritreans who appear to have taken their own lives. (Bhatt Murphy, 19 August 2019, Guardian, 12 August 2019)

19 August: A trafficked Vietnamese woman who was detained for three days while suffering a miscarriage at Heathrow is awarded £50,000 damages for her detention, which the Home Office admits amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. (Guardian, 19 August 2019)

20 August: Asylum seekers are forced to live in rooms infested with rats and coackroaches and unfit for human habitation, under new Home Office contracts following criticism of previous arrangements, according to a Guardian investigation. (Guardian, 20 August 2019)

Moria camp, January/February 2017

25 August: A 15-year-old Afghan boy is fatally stabbed by another Afghan teenager in a brawl in the squalid and overcrowded Moria camp. The UNHCR representative says that the Moria camp is no place for children, and they must be evacuated.  (Greek Reporter, France24, 25 August 2019)

26 August: Greek police carry out dawn raids on squats which are home to hundreds of migrants in the Exarcheia area of Athens, arresting about 100 people in a heavily militarised operation during which helicopters circle the area as the government promised to bring ‘order’ to the district. (Guardian, 26 August 2019)

Borders and internal controls

15 August: Angela Merkel calls for the return of naval patrols to the Mediterranean after their replacement by drones puts lives at risk, and describes rescue at sea as a ‘humanitarian imperative’, as polls show nearly three-quarters of Germans say they support rescue boats. (Deutsche Welle, 16 August 2019)

20 August: Eighty-three people are finally landed on Lampedusa, 19 days after being rescued, after Italian prosecutor Luigi Patronaggia orders the seizure of the Open Arms and the evacuation of those on board, many of whom had become so desperate that some 15 migrants jumped into the sea and with the help of rescue workers reached the island. (Guardian, 20 August 2019, Are You Syrious, 21 August 2019)

22 August: Slovenia starts work on extending its border wall with Croatia, building new kilometres of barbed wire fence. In the coming weeks 4 kilometres of fence will be built between the towns of Vincia and Zunica, near the Kupa River. (Euronews, 22 August 2019)

23 August: After two weeks at sea, 356 migrants rescued by the Ocean Viking, operated by MSF and SOS Méditerranée, are transferred to a Maltese navy vessel for landing in Valetta, following agreement to distribute those on board among six EU member states. (Morning Star, 23 August 2019)

23 August: An unnamed Iraqi man is found dead at a wind farm off the coast of Zeebrugge, Belgium. He is believed to have been attempting to swim from France to the UK after being refused asylum in Germany. (BBC News, 26 August 2019)

23 August: Migrant Voice’s Salman Mirza says those seeking refuge in the UK ‘deserve better’ as Boris Johnson warns those intending to cross the Channel that they will be sent back as illegals, and Priti Patel prepares to hold talks with French politicians.  Around 900 people have tried to make the crossing this year. (Guardian, ITV News, 23 August 2019)

26 August: Greece’s police spokesman calls refugees ‘rubbish’ and ‘dust’ when describing a new police operation to clear refugees and asylum seekers from the Exarchia district of Athens. (The Press Project, 26 August 2019)

26 August: A jeep smuggling people through northern Greece crashes into an irrigation ditch, killing 6 and injuring the remaining 10 men from Pakistan and Egypt. The two suspected smugglers survive and are arrested. (Ekathimerini, 26 August 2019)

27 August: The Italian civil aviation authority blocks two planes used by the NGOs Sea Watch and Pilotes Volontaires to search for migrant boats in distress in the Mediterranean. (Guardian, 27 August 2018)

31 August: As 13 men attempting to reach Britain from France are rescued by French authorities in the Channel, a Help Refugees spokeswoman says smugglers are cramming 30 people into dinghies built to carry six, and children frequently fall into the water, but refugees are increasingly desperate, with no legal, safe alternative. (Alarabiya, Guardian, 31 August 2019)

Criminalising solidarity

20 August: Pia Klemp, captain of the Iuventa, who with nine crew members faces possible trial and imprisonment in Italy for assisting illegal immigration, refuses the Grand Vermeil medal awarded for bravery by the city of Paris, citing the hypocrisy of a city whose ‘police steal blankets from people forced to live on the streets … and criminalise people … standing up for rights of migrants and asylum seekers’. (NPR via Statewatch, 20 August 2019)

21 August: 73-year-old Anni Lanz loses her appeal against her fine for helping a refused asylum seeker with PTSD return from Italy, where he was deported, to Switzerland, so he could be looked after. (Swissinfo, 21 August 2019)

2 September: The Italian government seizes German NGO Mission Lifeline’s ship Eleonore, shortly after it disembarks over 100 rescued refugees in Sicily, with outgoing interior minister Matteo Salvini saying it violated the ban on docking and that the German charity workers will pay dearly for such defiance. (Deutsche Welle, 2 September 2019)


16 August: A court in Bavaria rules that a Syrian refugee cannot be sent back to Greece because of the risk of return to Turkey, which is not a safe country for refugees. (Are You Syrious, 19 August 2019)

23 August: It is revealed that one of the G4S guards involved in the deportation death of Jimmy Mubenga in 2010, who was found to have dozens of racist texts on his phone, is still licensed to work as a guard by the Security Industry Authority, a Home Office regulator. (Morning Star, 23 August 2019)

23 August: It is reported that in July, the Swiss Supreme Administrative Court halted a deportation to Croatia under the Dublin Regulation, due to concerns about asylum standards there and because the migration secretariat failed to check the risk of inhuman or degrading treatment. (Are You Syrious, 24 August 2019)

30 August: The Munich administrative court rules that Germany’s bilateral agreements with Greece and Spain, entered into a year ago to enable speedy return of asylum seekers, is illegal, as it bypasses the safeguards for asylum seekers in the Dublin regulation.  To date 28 people have been returned under the agreements. (ECRE news, 30 August 2019)

Reception and detention

28 August: Migrants and supporters demonstrate outside Brandenburg’s interior ministry in Potsdam calling for justice for 32-year-old Kenyan migrant Rita Awour Ajonge, whose skeletonised body was found by police in June, two months after her disappearance from the nearby refugee centre. Protestors demand the closure of the centre, which they say is remote, inaccessible and unfit for living in, and for an inquiry into the ‘inadequate’ police response to her disappearance in April.  (InfoMigrants, 28 August 2019)

29 August: The Independent Monitoring Board expresses concern at the increase in cases of self-harm at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, from 181 in 2017 to 217 in 2018. (BBC, 29 August 2019)

31 August: A court in Siegen, Germany convicts a security guard at Burbach reception centre of dangerous assault and  deprivation of liberty for spraying a resident with pepper spray without prior warning and for locking asylum seekers, on four occasions, in the reception centre’s  so-called ‘problem room’. (Der Spiegel Online, 31 August 2019)



19 August: The IWGB union launches a legal complaint against Transport for London and the Met Police for disproportionate stops and inspections of mainly BAME-driven minicabs, which are targeted nearly four times as often as black cabs (with mostly white drivers), despite minicabs’ higher compliance rate with enforcement standards, and calls on London mayor Sadiq Khan to hold a review. (Taxi Point, 19 August 2019)

20 August: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) completes its investigation into the death of 30-year-old Portuguese father of four, Andre Moura, in the custody of Greater Manchester police in July 2018, and passes the file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider criminal charges against the five officers involved. (IOPC, 20 August 2019)

21 August: An inquest into the death of Oghene Abboh, 26, in police custody following a stop and search in Southwark, concludes that he died from ingestion of drugs. Following the verdict, the IOPC publishes the findings of its investigation, which concluded in December 2018 that no police misconduct was involved. (IOPC, 21 August 2019)

3 September: Following a public outcry, the company responsible for London’s Kings Cross development says that it has abandoned plans for a wider deployment of facial recognition technology across its entire building estate. (Prolific London, 3 September 2019)


17 August: Guardian journalist Owen Jones says that he believes the far Right were behind a premeditated attack on him and four friends in Islington which left him with a ‘bloodied back’  and a bump on his head. (Independent, 17 August 2019)

19 August: The general secretary of the National Union of Journalists calls on the police to do more to tackle ‘a coordinated surge in violent extremism against journalists and media workers’ as British politics becomes more polarised by Brexit. Far-right attacks on Owen Jones, the photographer Joel Goodman and intimidation of BBC crews during the Tommy Robinson trial are cited. (Guardian, 19 August 2019)

22 August: One year after a week of violent anti-foreigner far-right protests in Chemnitz, a Syrian asylum seeker is found guilty of the manslaughter of a German-Cuban man that sparked the disturbances. (Deutsche Welle, 22 August 2019).

24 August: Hope Not Hate informs the Royal Navy that two of its members, including one who is due to start work on a Trident nuclear submarine, are members of Generation Identity UK.  (Guardian, 24 August 2019)

24 August: On the eve of state elections in Saxony, east Germany, in which the far-right Alternative for Germany is predicted to do well, 40,000 anti-fascists participate in the ‘Unteilbar’ (Indivisible) demonstration against  racism and in defence of tolerance and diversity – the largest demonstration in Dresden since German reunification.  (Deutsche Welle, 24 August 2019)

29 August: A tribunal at Gap, France, jails three members of Generation Identity for six months and fines then €2,000 each for impersonating border guards at an anti-migrant action in the Alps in 2018. GI is also fined €75,000, the maximum fine that can be imposed. (Guardian, 29 August 2019)

30 August: Six German journalists’ organisations send an open letter to the interior minister Horst Seehofer demanding that the government does more  to protect journalists from right-wing extremists, after reporters’ names are found on neo-Nazis’ ‘enemy lists’.  (Vice, 30 August 2019)


20 August: Croatian diplomat Elizabeta Magarevic is suspended from her Berlin post over racist Facebook posts expressing her desire for a ‘pure, white’ Europe. (MSN News, 20 August 2019)

20 August: The Italian prime minister,  Giuseppe Conte, who had refused to sign an order banning the Open Arms migrant rescue vessel docking in Lampedusa, resigns after accusing deputy prime minister and interior minister  Matteo Salvini of being obsessed with closing ports to migrants. (Guardian, 20 August 2019)

22 August: The new UKIP leader, Richard Braine, is accused of whipping up anti-Muslim prejudice after four emails leaked to the Guardian from a UKIP source show him arguing that people should no more want Muslims to settle in their country than Nazis, and that non-Muslims should help Muslims to ‘cast out their demon’. (Guardian, 22 August 2019)

30 August: Leaked diplomatic documents reveal that Andreas Kalbitz, Alternative for Germany’s election candidate in the Brandenburg state elections, attended a neo-Nazi rally in Athens in 2007. (Guardian, 30 August 2019)

31 August: Marine Le Pen blames France’s ‘naïve and lax’ migration policy for an attack in Lyon in which an Afghan asylum seeker wielding a knife killed one person and wounded eight more.  (Deutsche Welle, 1 September 2019)

1 September: The far-right Alternative for Germany makes a strong showing in state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg, coming second in both states with 27.3 percent and 22.7 percent respectively, in particular mobilising several thousands of people who have never voted before.(Deutsche Welle, 1 September 2019)


18 August: A coalition of civil rights groups condemn the government’s appointment of Lord Carlisle to independently review its Prevent strategy, for which the former reviewer of anti-terrorist legislation has publicly declared his support. (Observer, 18 August 2019)

18 August: The UK government strips Jack Letts, who is being held in a Syrian prison, of his British citizenship, prompting a row with Canada, whose citizenship he also holds. (Guardian, 18 August 2019)

20 August: Cage accuses the government of ‘structural Islamophobia’ in a dossier that highlights ‘suspicionless stops’ of Muslims at ports and airports under the Terrorism Act 2000. In ten cases, complaints have been made to the Independent Office for Police Misconduct. (Guardian, 20 August 2019)


21 August: Launching a report into family homelessness, the Children’s Commissioner says it is a scandal that at least 210,000 children in homeless families in England are living in unsafe, crowded temporary houses, including converted shipping containers and cramped rooms in former office blocks. (Guardian, 21 August 2019)

28 August: As Serco accelerates its evictions of asylum seekers in the run-up to the expiry of its Home Office asylum housing contract, leading to more refugees sleeping rough in Glasgow, the Scottish Court of Session hears a fast-track appeal against the policy. Judges have already granted 80 temporary injunctions preventing evictions. (Guardian, 28 August 2019)

28 August: Italian security forces evict 130 migrants as they begin clearing sheds in a former industrial complex in Metaponto di Bernalda occupied by about 600 migrants working as day labourers on farms in the Basilicata province, southern Italy. MSF, which provides medical help to the migrants, calls for proper housing for them. (InfoMigrants, 30 August 2019)


23 August: Glasgow University signs an agreement with the University of the West Indies to fund a joint development research centre, projected to cost £20 million, in a ‘bold, historic’ move to make reparation for its financial benefit from slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. (Guardian, 23 August 2019)

22 August: A study by the University of Strathclyde, based on a survey of 1,000 eastern European children in England and Scotland, finds that 77 percent have suffered racism, xenophobia or bullying, which has increased since the Brexit vote, with some students accusing their teachers of failing to protect them and even laughing and joining in. (Guardian, 22 August 2019)


19 August: For the first time a woman wearing the niqab is escorted by police from a bus in the town of Stein, Netherlands. The driver called the police when the woman refused to remove her niqab, which contravenes the new law banning face-covering clothing in public buildings and transport in the Netherlands, which came into force last month. (Al jazeera, 20 August 2019)


18 August: An internal survey shows that more than a fifth of Border Force and Immigration Enforcement staff have experienced discrimination at work, the worst figure for any of the 89 government agencies and departments. (Guardian, 18 August 2019)

19 August: Loulou’s private club in Mayfair, whose owner has donated £20,000 to Boris Johnson and £250,000 to UKIP, is accused of exploitation of its kitchen porters, eight of whom were sacked on allegedly trumped-up charges after they started a campaign for the London living wage. (Left Foot Forward, 19 August 2019)


15 August: A social media network for young people, ‘Woke’, is revealed as a covert government counter-terrorism initiative aimed at young Muslims. (Middle East Eye, 15 August 2019)

23 August: More than twenty Jewish actors and playwrights protest the absence of Jews in the casting of the London production of a play about a dysfunctional Jewish family, complaining of cultural appropriation and ‘Jewface’ casting. (Guardian, 23 August 2019)

23 August: The Jewish Chronicle issues a full apology to the trustees of the charity Interpal, which supports Palestinians in need, and pays them damages for libel, for  an article published on 21 March 2019 (‘Corbyn spoke at conference calling for release of terrorists, attended by ‘blood libel’ cleric Salah’). (Jewish Chronicle, 23 August 2019)

26 August: Anti-racism activist Mouhab Reghif of the Brussels Panthers claims he has been expelled from the Belgian town of Ath after the organisation called on Unesco to remove the town’s festival, which features a blackface character in chains, paraded as a ‘savage’, from its cultural heritage list. (Guardian, 20, 26 August 2019)

30 August: YouTube reverses its decision to close down the video channel of Generation Identity’s Martin Sellner (as well as that of an anonymous British YouTuber known as The Iconoclast), saying that it had made the ‘wrong call’ in removing them. (BBC News, 30 August 2019)


21 August: Twitter is to meet with Kick It Out and Manchester United FC, after United black French footballer Paul Pogba becomes the third player in a week to be racially abused on social media following a penalty miss. Phil Neville, the captain of the England women’s football team, calls on footballers to boycott social media. (BBC News, 21 August 2019)

25 August: Chemnitz FC is considering legal action against a far-right section of its own fans after racist and anti-Semitic chants during an away fixture in Munich, including a chant in support of its former team captain (sacked for supporting far-right fans), ‘At least Daniel Frahn is not a negro’. (Deutsche Welle, 25, 27 August 2019)

25 August: Following the online racial abuse of football players Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, Manchester United FC announces plans to meet with representatives of Facebook. (Guardian, 25 August 2019)

1 September: A youth football match is cancelled after a 15-year-old Hutchison Vale player is allegedly racially abused by a Leith Athletic opponent in Edinburgh. (Edinburgh Evening News, 4 September 2019)

1 September: Romelu Lukaku, 26, is subjected to racist abuse, including monkey chants, during Inter Milan’s Serie A game against Cagliari. A statement from a group of Inter Milan fans claims that the monkey chants were a form of ‘respect’.  (Mirror, 1 September 2019, BBC News, 4 September 2019)


A poster put up in Wellington, New Zealand, after the attack.

16 August: A 50-year-old man pleads guilty to racially aggravated harassment, possession of a bladed article and attempted murder after rampaging through a Surrey town the day after the Christchurch massacre in March with a baseball bat and a knife, shouting that he was going to ‘kill a Muslim’. Vehicles were damaged and a Bulgarian man was hospitalised with stab wounds. The attacker will be sentenced in September. (Independent, 16 August 2019)

20 August: A 14-year-old Muslim girl has her hijab ripped from her head before being beaten and humiliated with eggs by a group of youths in the Dundrum area of Dublin. The incident was caught on video and the Gardai are investigating (Irish Mirror, 20 August 2019)

21 August: A family, originally from the Philippines, say that since moving to a housing estate in Caernarfon they have been repeatedly targeted for racist abuse by an unidentified group of people and that the authorities do nothing, merely telling her to install CCTV. (North Wales Daily Post, 21 August 2019)

23 August: Barking and Dagenham borough council funds a helpline, Call Hate Out, for young victims and witnesses of hate crime as data from the mayor’s office for policing and crime reveal that 321 racist crimes were recorded in the borough in the past year. (Barking and Dagenham Post, 23 August 2019)

27 August: Lancashire police statistics reveal a surge in racially aggravated anti-Muslim crimes in Preston, from eight in 2014 to 37 last year. (Lancashire Post, 27 August 2019)

30 August: An Everton fan is found guilty of racially and religiously aggravated harassment, given a suspended sentence and ordered to complete a course ‘promoting human dignity’ after publishing a series of Islamophobic  tweets about Livepool player Mo Saleh. (BBC News, 30 August 2019)

2 September: White supremacist David Parnham, responsible for the ‘punish a Muslim day’ letters sent in 2018,  is jailed for 12 years after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey to 15 offences involving hundreds of letters, including to the Queen, prime minister and Home Office, aiming to cause distress, and hoaxes involving noxious substances and bombs. Letters were sent to mosques and Islamic centres, with the words ‘P*** Filth’, signed ‘Muslim slayer’ and ‘you are going to be slaughtered very soon’, and Sheffield university received letters calling for the extermination of ethnic and religious minorities.  (Guardian, 2, 3 September 2019)

2 September: The North Wales Regional Equality Network (NWREN) criticises Gwynedd Council and Cartrefi Cyminedol (CCG) for their response to a South East Asian family who claimed they had been attacked and racially abused on a council estate for over three years. (North Wales Live, 2 September 2019)

2 September: Two Muslim women wearing hijabs, one in her 60s and one in her 30s, suffer broken ribs and internal bleeding after being attacked and racially abused at North Ealing tube station, London. Anti-racist protestors are planning a demonstration on 6 September. (Daily Star, 2 September 2019, Ealing Today, 6 September 2019)

3 September: Police launch an investigation after eggs were thrown at a mother and her nine-month-old baby in an alleged racially aggravated attack in Worcester. (Evening Standard, 4 September 2019)

3 September: A man is jailed for racially and religiously aggravated harassment after abusing a Jewish family on a bus in Hackney, east London. (CPS, 3 September 2019)

3 September: Figures released by Tell Mama show that Islamophobic incidents rose by 375 per cent after Boris Johnson compared Muslim women to ‘letterboxes’, the biggest spike in anti-Muslim racism in 2018. The report finds that perpetrators ‘directly referenced’ Johnson’s comments when abusing Muslim women in the street. (Independent, 3 September 2019)


This calendar was compiled by the IRR News Team with the help of Laura Wormington, Graeme Atkinson and Priska Komaromi.

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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