Calendar of Racism and Resistance (16 February – 2 March 2022)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (16 February – 2 March 2022)


Written by: IRR News Team

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


Asylum and migrant rights

15 February: The Welsh Parliament votes to reject the Nationality and Borders Bill, saying it fundamentally undermines Wales’ ‘nation of sanctuary’ vision and interferes with Wales’ devolved social care powers in its new age-assessment policies. (Morning Star, 17 February 2022)

17 February: The Home Office closes the ‘investor visa’ or ‘golden visa’ route, which allowed wealthy foreign investors a fast track to settlement, amid concerns about fraud and illicit finance, following widespread reports of its use by oligarchs and organised criminals. (Guardian, 17 February 2022) 

24 February: As the UN predicts that up to 4 million people could be displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and calls on neighbouring countries to keep borders open to the 100,000 already displaced, Poland announces it will open up nine reception centres in borders areas. Hungary opens up a humanitarian corridor for citizens from third-party countries who will be allowed into the country without visas and then move on. (Al Jazeera, 25 February 2022; Deutsche Welle, 25 February 2022) 

25 February: As the UN Refugee Agency calls on countries to receive those displaced by the war in Ukraine, irrespective of race or nationality, videos shared on social media show African students being held back from boarding trains out of Ukraine and African and Caribbean students also claim that Ukrainian military personnel have forced black people off buses. Nigerian international students say they were refused entry into Poland by border officials who refuse to check their documents because they are black. (Foundation for Investigative Journalism, 25 January 2022; Independent, 28 February 2022; Associated Press, 28 February 2022; Globe and Mail, 27 February 2022)

28 February: The Bulgarian prime minister is criticised for mixing racism and Islamophobia after he distinguishes between non-European refugees and refugees from the Ukraine, stating ‘These are not the refugees we are used to… these people are Europeans…These people are intelligent, they are educated people … This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists.’ (Independent, 28 February 2022)

28 February: The African Union issues a statement on the treatment by EU countries of Africans fleeing Ukraine which demands that all countries respect international law and show the same empathy and support to all people fleeing war notwithstanding their racial identity. (African Union, 1 March 2022)

Borders and internal controls

21 February: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees records nearly 540 incidents of informal returns by Greece since the start of 2020 and criticises Greece for allowing ‘deplorable’ and ‘illegal acts towards asylum seekers to become ‘normalised’, adding that all European governments are to blame. (Deutsche Welle, February 2022)

25 February: As refugees flee Ukraine and British citizens try to get family members out following the Russian invasion, there is anger that the Home Office has no evacuation and resettlement plan, and is still requiring visa applicants to attend biometrics appointments in Kyiv. (Guardian, 25 February 2022; Guardian, 25 February 2022)

26 February: Former home secretary David Blunkett calls on the government to commit to a resettlement scheme and scrap the two-tier system in the Nationality and Borders Bill, as Border Force officials stationed at Paris Gare du Nord turn back Ukrainians trying to join family in the UK, for not having a visa. (Mirror, 26 February; Guardian, 27 February 2022)

26 February: Immigration minister Kevin Foster causes outrage by tweeting that Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion can apply for UK visas under the seasonal workers’ scheme. (Guardian, 27 February 2022)

27 February: After intense criticism about visa requirements, Boris Johnson announces that immediate family members will be able to join family in the UK. (Independent, 28 February 2022)

A Ukraine solidarity rally in Sheffield, 27 February 2022. Credit: Tim Dennell, Flickr

27 February: Hundreds of people, including refugee support groups, anti-racists, Muslim and Sikh associations and LBGT+ communities and politicians march through London and Halifax to protest against racist provisions in the Nationality and Borders Bill. (Socialist Worker, 27 February, 2022)

28 February: Home secretary Priti Patel rejects demands (from human rights charities and others) to waive visa requirements for fleeing Ukrainians, on the grounds of her concerns about extremists and Russian agents entering the country. This response contrasts with the package supported by 27 EU members. (Guardian, 28 February 2022)

28 February: The Lords reject by a majority of 78 Clause 11 of the Nationality and Borders Bill which criminalises refugees who arrive by irregular routes and provides inferior protection to those who do not use government-sanctioned routes. They also defeat Clause 9 which would allow citizenship to be removed, without warning, from those who have or have access to a second citizenship. (Guardian, 28 February 2022)

1 March: Boris Johnson and Priti Patel say that a further 100,000 refugees including elderly parents, grandparents and adult children and siblings of British based Ukrainian nationals will be eligible to apply for entry to the UK – making for an expected 200,000 people in total. Refugee charities question why the UK has not followed the EU’s lead and waived all visas. (Guardian, 1 March 2022)

Reception and detention

21 February: A 20-year-old man from Eritrea commits suicide in the Asimakopoulou refugee centre near Kavala, Greece. (news.247, 21 February 2022)

25 February: As the Home Office investigates claims of racist WhatsApp messages circulating for two years among a group of 120 employees in the ‘care and custody’ division of private contractor Mitie, who have contracts worth £2.5 billion to escort migrants and work as guards in detention centres, the CEO apologises to the home secretary. (BBC News, 20 February; Guardian, 25 February 2022)


16 February: The Interpol red notice system is criticised following the ‘illegal’ extradition and deportation of Ahmed Jaafar Mohamed Ali from Serbia to Bahrain where he has been accused of alleged terrorism for labour activism. (Guardian, 6 February 2022)

24 February: Official figures show that the Home Office deported only 11 of the nearly 10,000 asylum seekers it sought to deport to the EU as ‘inadmissible’ in 2021, as the backlog of undecided claims surpassed 100,000. (Independent, 24 February 2022)


18 February: Statistics Austria reveals that just 0.6% of those living in the country without citizenship were naturalised in 2021, a historic low, says SOS Mitmensch, which warns that a quarter of a million people born in Austria do not have citizenship. (SOS Mitmensch Newsletter, 18 February 2022)

24 February: Responding to prolonged campaigning, the Home Office agrees to extend the scheme enabling British Nationals Overseas (BNOs) from Hong Kong to come to the UK and giving them a path to citizenship, to allow young people born after 1997 to come independently of their BNO parents. (Independent, 24 February 2022)

24 February: The Conservative chair of the foreign affairs select committee Tom Tugendhat calls for ‘tougher consequences on Russian individuals to protect Britain’ stating in parliament ‘We can expel Russian citizens, all of them’. Welsh Labour MP Chris Bryant removes a tweet in which he demanded citizens with dual British Russian nationality choose between them.(Yahoo news, 24 February 2022; The National, 24 February 2022)


16 February: Balkan Insight warns that the French presidential election is being infected by the far Right’s warped reading of the conflict in Kosovo, presented as vindicating the ‘great replacement theory’, the colonisation of historical Serbian lands by Muslim Albanians. (Balkan Insight, 16 February 2022)

16 February: Conservative Party chair Oliver Dowden tells a Heritage Foundation meeting in the US that a ‘painful woke psychodrama’ is afflicting the UK, adding that a West confident in its values should not be ‘obsessing over pronouns’ or ‘seeking to decolonise mathematics’. (Independent, 16 February 2022)

17 February: The deputy leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner, is criticised after telling Matt Forde’s Political Party podcast that police should ‘shoot terrorists and ask questions second’ and ‘beat down the door of the criminals and sort them out and antagonise them’. (Guardian, 17 February 2022)

17 February: Bulgarian nationalist MEP Angel Dzhambazki (VMRO) is accused of giving the Nazi salute in the European Parliament after making a rigorous defence of the rule of law in Hungary and Poland. (Deutsche Welle, 17 February 2022)

22 February: Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg warns senior civil servants not to publicly support Black Lives Matter saying they should be ‘apolitical’ and only tweet about events like the Queen’s Jubilee and Remembrance Sunday. (Daily Mail, 22 February 2022) 

25 February: Just two days after banning André Ventura, leader of the Chega party in Portugal for promoting violence and attacking and threatening people with protected characteristics, Twitter reverses its decision. (Portugal Resident, 25 February 2022)


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

16 February: The trial of far-right extremist Alexander Horst M opens in Frankfurt, Germany. He is accused of sending death threats to prominent politicians and lawyers and bomb threats signed NSU 20, and there are calls for the investigation to be widened into the police itself. (Deutsche Welle, 16 February 2022)

17 February: Journalist Vincent Bresson publishes Au Cour de Ze, an account of three months spent undercover in the young supporters’ group of French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, detailing casual racism and covert online campaigning through encrypted Telegram chat groups. (Guardian, 17 February 2022)

17 February: The GRA Foundation Against Racism and Antisemitism launches a petition for a continued ban on Nazis in public places in Switzerland amidst concern that the neo-Nazi youth group Junge Tat as well as the Swiss Men’s Club of Freedom and the extreme Right have taken over protests against Covid restrictions in Zurich and Bern. (Peoples Dispatch, 17 February 2022)

28 February: The defence minister distances himself from the foreign secretary who, during a BBC interview, says, in contradiction to information on the government website, that she would ‘absolutely back’ British citizens wishing to join the fight in Ukraine. Prior to the Russian invasion, counter-terrorism officers had introduced checks on flights to Ukraine amidst fears that neo-Nazis seeking weapons training and military experience were flying out. (Guardian, 16 February 2022; Guardian, 28 February 2022)


15 February: In Greece, two people, including a police officer, are arrested following the death of a 44-year-old Roma man who was allegedly attacked and beaten by a group of people during a burglary in the Athens suburb of Menidi. (Keep Talking Greece, 15 February 2022)

16 February: AI describes a ruling against two Greek Helsinki Monitor members, found guilty of false accusations of antisemitic hate speech against a Greek Orthodox bishop, ‘chilling’ and a threat to freedom of expression. (Guardian, 16 February 2022)

17 February: Avon and Somerset Police apologises to a former investigator of south Asian heritage for the racist treatment he faced when in the force. (Eastern Eye, 17 February 2022)

17 February: A Freedom of Information request finds that black people are over-represented in the Metropolitan Police’s use of strip-searches, with a concerning number of children represented in the data. (Canary, 17 February 2022)

20 February: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) concludes that the British Transport Police’s investigation into the death of Romello McCook, a 22-year-old who was hit and killed by a train in Plymouth in 2018, was insufficient, in response to McCook’s family’s claim that the case was not taken seriously because of his colour. (Guardian, 20 February 2022)

22 February: Lawyers for the Scottish Police Federation ask for a guarantee that officers’ statements at the public inquiry into Sheku Bayoh’s death, in police custody which opens on 3 May 2015, will not be used as evidence for any prosecution or misconduct proceedings. (BBC News, 22 February 2022)

Sheku Bayoh. 4WardEverUK, Flickr

24 February: Following a parliamentary question, the justice minister reveals that there has been a 15% yearly rise in the number of people held in custody for longer than the time limit of six months, with almost half of the 4,185 people detained accused of non-violent offences. (Guardian, 24 February 2022)

25 February: The family of 18-year-old Roma Nikos Sampanis, shot dead by police in October 2021 in Athens, Greece, call for the dismissal of the investigator, citing a failure to collect crucial evidence. A police trades union officer claims that the two Roma teenagers who survived when police opened fire on a car, will be charged with attempted murder of the police officers. (Al Jazeera, 25 February 2022)

26 February: The founder of Bristol Copwatch launches a funding appeal to help him challenge a data protection breach on the Police National Computer that is linked to what he describes as two years of targeting and police harassment. (CrowdJustice, 22 February 2022)

1 March: Conservative leader on the London Assembly, Susan Hill, is criticised after she says that the black community have a ‘problem with crime’ and that ‘we need to assist those communities’ but are then ‘accused of being racist’. (Independent, 1 March 2022)

1 March: A report by the home affairs select committee into the role of the Independent Office for Police Conduct criticises its poor communication and ‘opaque processes’ and demands that it restores public confidence because trust in the police is at a ‘perilous point’. (Guardian, 1 March 2022)


17 February: New DfE guidance on political impartiality in English classrooms will scare teachers from talking about subjects such as climate change and racism, say teachers’ unions. Topics related to ‘empire and imperialism’ must be taught in a ‘balanced manner’ says the DfE which accuses Black Lives Matter for going too far. (Guardian, 17 February 2022)

25 February: The DfE’s own equality analysis acknowledges that wealthy undergraduates in England will be better off while disadvantaged students will most likely be worse off under proposed changes to post-18 higher education funding. A minimum GCSE threshold for student loans will also hit the poorest hardest say social mobility experts. (Guardian, 23 February 2022; Guardian, 24 February 2022)

25 February: Students at SOAS, University of London, occupy management offices in support of striking university workers, a ‘demarketise and decolonise’ strategy, and to demand the firing of director Adam Habib. (SOAS students’ statement, 25 February 2022)


18 February: Following negotiations between Great Ormond Street Hospital and United Voices of the World, previous hard-line restrictions imposed on protests by striking security guards, are somewhat eased, with demonstrations allowed in certain areas. (National World, 18 February 2022)


15 February: The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle fires two more Palestinian-German employees from its Arabic service for alleged antisemitism, following an inquiry based on the controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism led by German justice minister Sabine Leuthauser Schanberger and psychologist Ahmed Mansour, an Arab Israeli known for his anti-Islamic views. (Al Jazeera, 15 February 2022) 

22 February: The University of Manchester is accused of bullying after the director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery is allegedly asked to leave his post following complaints by UK Lawyers for Israel about a Forensic Architecture exhibition which included a statement of solidarity with Palestine’s ‘liberation struggle’. (Guardian, 22 February 2022)

26 February: Labour MP Zarah Sultana blames media reporting on her position on Ukraine, aided by an unidentified Labour Party source disseminating ‘dangerous and irresponsible messages’, after she receives a racially abusive death threat by someone who described her as ‘Putin’s whore’. BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio apologise and corrects the record after making false claims. (Guardian, 26 February 2022)

26 February: Guardian Ukraine correspondent Emma Graham-Harrison criticises the Telegraph for the ‘disgusting take’ of columnist, former Conservative politician Daniel Hannan who writes: ‘They seem so like us. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations. It can happen to anyone.’ (Twitter, 27 February 2022)

28 February: The Arab & Middle Eastern Journalists Association issues a statement warning of the orientalist and racist implications of news coverage ‘that ascribes more importance to some victims of war over others’ and calls on newsrooms to train correspondents on the cultural and political nuances of regions they are reporting on, so as not to replicate US- or Euro-centric biases. (Morning Star, 28 February 2022)

28 February: Media outlets including French BFMTV and NBC are criticised for contrasting Ukrainian refugees, in terms of heritage, education, religion and civilisational values to refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. Al Jazeera and CBS News apologise as does the BBC interviewer who did not respond to Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor, David Sakvarelidze when he spoke of his emotional response to seeing ‘European people with blonde hair and blue eyes being killed’. (Associated Press, 28 February 2022; Al Jazeera, 27 February 2022; opindia, 28 February 2022; Yahoo News, 28 February 2022)

28 February: After the Czech-language internet spread racist ‘jokes’ about Ukrainian Roma fighting the Russian invasion, historian Michal Mižigár condemns the unconscious and profound racism of some commentators, pointing out that there are no cellars in the Romani settlements in which those Roma who take up arms can hide. (, 28 February 2022)

1 March: Eleven Labour MPs – including 4 women of colour – all of whom oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are sent an email telling them to ‘leave the country’ and accuse them of ‘supporting Russian fascism’. (Twitter, 1 March 2022

1 March: The Royal Court Theatre apologies for offensive stereotyping by naming a character in the play ‘Rare Earth Mettle’, Hershel Fink. The name has now been changed. (Guardian, 1 March 2022)


19 February: A 30-year-old woman is given a suspended sentence after admitting to a racially and religiously aggravated assault in Axminster, Devon, in May 2021. (Sidmouth Herald, 19 February 2022)

21 February: The police appeal for information after a man reportedly uses a hammer to smash the glass of a woman’s front door in Stockton, County Durham, in an incident that is being treated as racially aggravated. (Gazette Live, 21 February 2022) 

24 February: A 50-year-old man pleads guilty to the racially aggravated harassment of a taxi driver in December 2021 in Worcester, West Midlands. (Worcester News, 24 February 2022)

28 February: A 25-year-old man is charged with the racially aggravated assault of a man, who remains in a critical condition in hospital after being punched unconscious in Rochdale. (ITV News, 28 February 2022) 

28 February: A man is jailed after pleading guilty to the racially aggravated abuse and assault of a member of the railway staff at Birmingham’s New Street station. (Birmingham Mail, 28 February 2022)

28 February: A Jewish woman in County Durham speaks out about the long-standing antisemitic verbal and online abuse she and her family have faced over the past 4 years. (The Northern Echo, 28 February 2022) 

2 March: Polish nationalists shouting ‘Go back to your country’ attack and abuse groups of Africans, south Asians and Middle Eastern people, mainly students, who had just arrived from cities in Ukraine at Przemyśl train station. Fake reports about migrant crime, including rape, circulate on social media, with the Facebook group Przemyśl Always Polish (Przemyśl Zawsze Polski) prominent. (Guardian, 2 March 2022

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Sira Thiam and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration and policing issues are an invaluable source of information.

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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