Calendar of Racism and Resistance (17 June – 1 July 2020)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (17 June – 1 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.


A crowd in Manchester marks the anniversary of Shukri Abdi’s death. Credit: Justice 4 Shukri campaign

18 June: In response to BLM protests, the head of the Belgian Federal police acknowledges that there have been ‘occasional slip-ups’ but denies that the force is institutionally racist. (Brussels Times, 18 June 2020)

18 June: Prominent human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar describes a statement released by the Scottish Police Federation after the far-right attack on the asylum seekers’ rally in Glasgow as ‘shameful and grotesque’. ‘Statue wreckers and statue protectors’ are as guilty as each other when it comes to protests during coronavirus lockdown, the body said. (Daily Record, 18 June 2020)

18 June: Imran Khan, the solicitor who worked with the Lawrence family after Stephen Lawrence’s racist killing, dismisses the National Police Chiefs’ Council statement that policing is not racist but must do more to tackle or challenge ‘bias, disproportionality, discrimination or racism’, as a ‘cynical effort to … pretend there is change’ while failing to mention racism in the ranks blocking progress or treating ethnic minorities unfairly. (Guardian, 18 June 2020)

19 June: Members of the Belgian federal police hold demonstrations across the country, including throwing handcuffs to the ground and sounding sirens, to protest against the accusation of systemic racism. The demonstrations are organised by a private Facebook group, Police Unifying Movement. (Brussels Times, 19 June 2020)

21 June: Thousands march in London and Leeds in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The recently uncovered statue of Winston Churchill, in London’s Parliament Square, is unharmed. Armed police patrol the peaceful Leeds march. (Daily Mail, 21 June 2020)

22 June: A sergeant in the Devon and Cornwall police force is under criminal investigation by the police watchdog over the sharing of an offensive and possibly racist meme of George Floyd with other officers in a private social media chat group. (Guardian, 22 June 2020)

26 June: Thousands protest in Athens and across Greece against racism, the worsening conditions for people on the move and the migration policies of the government, with slogans including ‘Black Lives Matter’, ‘From Minneapolis to Palestine, no peace without justice’. (Are You Syrious, 26 June 2020)

27 June: Thousands of BLM supporters mark the first anniversary of the death of 12-year-old Shukri Abdi, who drowned in the River Irwell in Bury, with protests in London, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol. (BBC News, 27 June 2020)

27 June: Black Lives Matter demonstrations are held in cities across the country including Portsmouth, Oxford, Coventry and Stoke on Trent. (BBC News, 27 June 2020)

29 June: Black Lives Matter, Black MPs, and author Reni Eddo-Lodge are amongst those criticising the leader of the Labour party for comments made in a TV interview in which he says that the BLM demand to defund the police is ‘nonsense’. He is also criticised for referring to BLM as a ‘moment’. (Huffington Post, 29 June 2020)


For more information on policing and civil liberties issues follow @NETPOL, @BigBrotherWatch@COVIDStateWatch and @libertyhq.

Police officers stopping cars in Sheffield. Credit: Tim Dennell

16 June: The League for Human Rights in Belgium publishes data on police abuses during the lockdown. Based on the testimony of 75 victims or eyewitnesses, it shows that young people, particularly racialised minorities living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and/or in a precarious situation, have suffered most from beatings (36 per cent), arrests (33 per cent) and administrative fines (31 per cent), followed by insults (21 per cent), searches (16 per cent) and the use of handcuffs or collars (12 per cent). (Brussels Times, 16 June 2020)

17 June: Liberty finds that police enforcing coronavirus lockdown rules in England and Wales were nearly seven times more likely to issue fines to black, Asian and minority ethnic people than to white people. (Guardian, 17 June 2020)

20 June: Police use tear gas to enforce a coronavirus quarantine on around 200 residents attempting to break down a fence and leave the Göttingen housing complex in Lower Saxony, Germany. Complicated instructions on testing, not translated into Romanian, resulted in a communications breakdown, suggest city officials, who are adamant that all 700 residents must stay inside the run-down complex until 25 June. (Deutsche Welle, 20 June, (BBC News, 21 June 2020)

24 June: Amnesty International’s new report Policing the Pandemic: Human Rights Violations in the Enforcement of Covid-19 Measures in Europe concludes that in 12 European countries, including the UK, the pandemic has led to ‘marginalisation, stigmatisation and violence’, with racial bias in policing including disproportionate stop-and-search and fines, lengthy curfews and the targeting of Roma communities through measures such as ‘disinfecting’ by low-flying planes. AI verifies 15 videos of unlawful use of force or racist and homophobic insults in 15 French cities between 18 March and 26 April. Read the report here. (Guardian, 24 June 2020)

24-25 June: Violence breaks out as police attempt to break up an illegal street party in Brixton, south London. The Met police later say 22 officers were injured, and four people are arrested for assault and public order offences. A section 60 order, allowing random stop and searches, is imposed and extra police are assigned to target illegal street parties. (Guardian, 25 June 2020)

26 June: After home secretary Priti Patel meets Met Police chief Cressida Dick to demand a ‘full explanation’ of the circumstances of Wednesday’s violence, senior police officers, police and crime commissioners and criminologists warn ministers that hardline policing is likely to increase civil unrest over the summer. (Guardian, 26 June 2020)


17 June: Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, a 71-year-old black woman MEP, says she was a victim of police violence after Belgian officers frisked and humiliated her for attempting to intervene in the arrest of two black youths. She filmed the incident, but found herself brutally pushed against the wall by four of the officers, and her phone wrenched out of her hands. (Guardian, 17 June 2020)

18 June: Nurse Neomi Bennett, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to nursing and invited to Downing Street, describes the lasting and multiple impacts of an unwarranted arrest for obstruction on 4 April 2019, over which she has made a formal complaint and intends to bring a civil action. No officers were disciplined, and she says she was arrested because she is black. (Guardian, 18 June 2020)

18 June: After publication of video footage of the death of Moroccan teenager Ilyas al-Taheri strapped down to a bed in a Spanish juvenile detention centre in 2019, the Almeria public prosecutor calls for the case, previously ruled ‘accidental death’, to be reopened, and the Spanish ombudsman’s office joins his call for a ban on such procedures against juveniles. (Al Jazeera, 24 June 2020)

19 June: The Devon and Cornwall police force refers itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after new footage emerges showing Simeon Francis, the 35-year-old black man who died in police custody last month, shouting that he could not breathe as he was forcibly detained by officers in a city centre. The IOPC is already investigating Francis’ death. (Guardian, 19 June 2020)

19 June: Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Kim Kendall, who works in courts around Lincolnshire, is under investigation after a petition from Britain First calling for a statue of Nelson Mandela in London to be ‘torn down’ is shared on her Facebook page. (Mirror, 19 June 2020)

20 June: The Metropolitan police force is under pressure to refer itself to the IOPC after footage emerged of an 18-year old black man being kneed in the face while handcuffed during a stop and search by two officers in Hackney, east London. The teenager in question can be heard in the video shouting ‘I’m not resisting’ and ‘I didn’t do anything’ before receiving a forceful knee to the head. The incident took place very near to where 20-year-old Rashan Charles died in 2017 after being chased and restrained by a Met officer. (Guardian, 20 June 2020)

23 June: Automated facial recognition technology that searches for people in public places breaches privacy rights and will ‘radically’ alter the way Britain is policed, the Court of Appeal is told. Opening a legal challenge against the use by South Wales police of the mass surveillance system, lawyers for the civil rights organisation Liberty argue that it is also racially discriminatory and contrary to data protection laws. (Guardian, 23 June 2020)

23 June: France’s police watchdog investigates four officers over the death of Cedric Chouviat, a 42-year-old delivery driver stopped by police for a traffic violation in January and held in a chokehold, saying ‘I’m suffocating’. He died of a fractured larynx two days after the arrest. Magistrates are to decide whether the officers will be charged. (France 24, 23 June 2020)

24 June: Jordan Walker-Brown, 24, speaks out about an encounter with police on 4 May which left him paralysed from the waist down. He was shot with a Taser when jumping over a wall to escape police, as he had been stopped, arrested and mistreated the previous day. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating. Officers in England and Wales are nearly eight times more likely to draw Tasers against black people than white. (Guardian, 24 June 2020)

25 June: Two Met police officers are arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and suspended after allegedly circulating to a WhatsApp group including members of the public ‘inappropriate’ images of two murdered sisters, the daughters of the Church of England’s first Black female archdeacon, whose bodies were found on 7 June. The IOPC is investigating whether racism played a part in the actions alleged. (Guardian, 25 June; Guardian, 26 June 2020)

“In Memory of Chris” banner. Credit: Justice for Christopher Kapessa campaign

27 June: The family of Christopher Kapessa hold a memorial to mark the anniversary of the 13-year-old’s death in the river Cynon, Rhondda. They say institutional racism marred the police investigation and informed the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service that it was not in the public interest to prosecute anyone despite clear evidence that Christopher was pushed into the river. South Wales Police say they have referred the case to the IOPC. (BBC News, 27 June 2020)

28 June: Shadow justice secretary David Lammy calls for an investigation into the violent arrest on 4 June of 13-year-old Huugo Boateng and his father Andrew as they took part in a charity bike ride along the River Lea in north London. Huugo was grabbed from behind and threatened with a Taser, and they were both handcuffed. The incident was partly filmed. (Observer, 28 June 2020)


20 June: Three men from the LGBT community are killed in a knife attack in a Reading park, described later by police as a terrorist incident. Khairi Saadallah, a 25-year-old Libyan refugee arrested at the scene, was known to MI5 after a Prevent referral. As tributes are paid to the victims, it emerges that Saadallah has extensive mental health problems, and that his family had suffered anti-Muslim abuse. (GuardianGuardian, 21 June; Guardian; Guardian, 22 June; Guardian, 23 June 2020)


Where relevant to the UK and European situation, we include some links to US stories involving Trump’s attempts to criminalise ‘Antifa’.

16 June: The Never Again Association in Warsaw comes under concerted attack from ultra-nationalist TV pundit Rafl Zimekiewicz as an ‘anti-Polish’ ‘local agent of an international Jewish conspiracy’, after the anti-racist group criticised Zimekiewicz’s book for describing the Holocaust as a ‘myth’ and arguing that ‘Jews are working to earn themselves a new Holocaust or, at least, a new wave of pogroms’. (Algemeiner, 16 June 2020)

17 June: According to Home Office statistics, the numbers of those imprisoned for far-right terrorist offences grew by a third last year to their highest recorded level. Forty-four ‘extreme right-wing’ prisoners are now in custody, with the rise linked to the banning of National Action in 2016. (Guardian, 17 June 2020)

17 June: The parents of Emily Jones, a seven-year-old girl fatally stabbed in Bolton, call on the far Right to stop using her image under its ‘All Lives Matter’ meme. Far-right groups have used Emily’s picture to attack BLM and to claim a racially motivated conspiracy of silence around the killing, as compared to the coverage of the killing of George Floyd. (Guardian, 17 June 2020)

18 June: Amnesty International condemns a far-right attack on an asylum seekers’ rally in Glasgow protesting evictions and marking Refugee Week, and calls on the authorities to protect peaceful protest from far-right violence and intimidation. The ultra-loyalist National Defence League called on demonstrators to the ‘protect the Cenotaph’ in St George’s Square. (The National, 17 June; Amnesty International press release, 18 June 2020)

19 June: A former member of the Spanish armed forces, Francisco de Borja J.B., who has old links to neo-Nazi groups, is arrested in Málaga following video footage showing him shooting at pictures of members of the government. (La Marea, 19 June 2020)

19 June: UN experts express profound concern over a statement by the US attorney-general which describes ‘Antifa’ and other anti-fascist activists as domestic terrorists, saying it undermines the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. (UN Geneva, Twitter, 19 June 2020)

19 June: A German court orders Alternative for Germany to temporarily reinstate former Brandenburg state party leader Andreas Kalbita, saying his expulsion from the party was inadmissible, as his alleged offence of previous membership of the neo-Nazi linked German Youth Faithful to the Homeland could not be proven. (Deutsche Welle, 19 June 2020)

19 June: Twitter permanently suspends Katie Hopkins for violating the social media platform’s ‘hateful conduct’ policy. Hopkins recently attacked the BLM as well as Marcus Rashford’s campaign to give children free meals during school holidays. (Guardian, 19 June 2020)

21 June: Youtube removes The Iconoclast, one of the biggest far-right content producers in the UK and its most prominent ‘social media influencer’, unmasked as former media student Daniel Atkinson. (Observer, 21 June 2020)

22 June: The US Southern Poverty Law Centre releases covert recordings to BBC’s Panorama which show how the neo-nazi group The Base, which emerged from the now-defunct web forum Iron March, is recruiting Europeans online in a bid to unite white supremacists around the world and incite a race war. (BBC News, 22 June 2020)

22-23 June: Burnley FC and fans react with fury after an aircraft tows a banner with the word ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ as players take a knee in support of BLM at the start of a fixture at Manchester City’s stadium. Jake Hepple, photographed in the past with Tommy Robinson, organised the stunt. Lancashire Constabulary say no criminal offence has been committed, and refuse to comment on Hepple’s claim that he has been offered police protection. (BBC News, 22 June; Guardian, 23 June 2020)

23 June: The German government bans the neo-nazi group Nordadler (Northern Eagles), confirming that its members have been obtaining weapons and plotting terrorist offences. (Deutsche Welle, 23 June 2020)

25 June: A Europol trends report suggests that the UK witnessed the highest number of terrorist plots in Europe, with four such plots in 2019. (Independent, 25 June 2020)

26 June: In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the US Justice Department launches its Task Force on Violent Anti-Government Extremists, with a memo naming ‘Antifa’ as amongst those extremists which might be ‘fortified by foreign entities seeking to sow chaos and disorder’. (Huffington Post, 26 June 2020)

28 June: Thousands of anti-fascists, trades unionists and Kurdish groups march in Vienna in solidarity with Kurdish women who earlier in the week were violently attacked by members of the far-right Turkish organisation Grey Wolves, who targeted them after they staged a demonstration against a drone strike on a largely Kurdish village in Kobane, Syria. (Morning Star, 28 June 2020)

28 June: As counter-extremism chief Sara Khan warns that the far Right is using the BLM movement to propagate white supremacist narratives online, the Community Security Trust reveals that a UK-registered technology company with British directors is behind global platform BitChute, used by neo-Nazis to upload footage of racist killings. (Observer, 28 June; Observer, 28 June 2020)

28 June: Farmers’ associations and environmental groups warn that far-right activists are infliltrating the green movement, using vehicles including a new glossy magazine, Die Kehre (The Turning), edited by identitarians and containing a manifesto by far-right think-tank Recherche Dresden. (Observer, 28 June 2020)


17 June: Oxfam condemns a ‘brazen challenge to the aid sector’ after the government announces that the Department for International Development (DfID) will become part of the Foreign Office, which will be renamed the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, with DfiD’s aid budget ‘used for security and diplomatic aims’, according to Oxfam. (Guardian, 17 June 2020)

24 June: After Commonwealth countries accuse Boris Johnson of a ‘colonial mindset’ in using his role as chair to hinder the reappointment of its secretary-general, Dominican-born Lady Patricia Scotland, Downing Street confirms her role for the next year. There are fears that Johnson sees the Commonwealth primarily in terms of trading opportunity. (Guardian, 22 June; Guardian, 24 June 2020)

29 June: A coalition of 14 charities and rights group pressure the government to commit to concrete measures and not just ‘lacklustre’ verbal condemnation of the threatened annexation by Israel of parts of the occupied Palestinian territories, in breach of international law. (Guardian, 29 June 2020)


16 June: Home secretary Priti Patel is accused of previously endorsing charity executive Philip Smith, who has helped mobilise counter-protests to Black Lives Matter under the banner of protecting monuments. According to the Guardian, Smith only took down posts using explicitly racist language from the Facebook page of the Cenotaph and Military Memorial Volunteers Group after he was contacted by the newspaper. (Guardian, 16 June 2020)

16 June: Former Tory party chair Lady Warsi warns that the commission on racial inequalities announced by Boris Johnson is likely to provide its instigators with ‘the answer they want to hear: there’s no such thing as racism’, while Stephen Lawrence’s brother Stuart accuses the prime minister of having a ‘race problem’ and his use of the language such as ‘victimisation’ is inappropriate.(GuardianGuardian, 16 June 2020)

16 June: The Karoly Eotvos Institute calls Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s suggestion that he will end the coronavirus-related extraordinary legal order by 20 June a political sleight of hand as his proposals actually further his sweeping powers. Orbán dismisses criticism as ‘fake news’ fabricated by leftist liberals with ties to George Soros. (New York Times, 16 June 2020)

18 June: The European Court of Justice rules that Hungarian legislation on the foreign funding of NGOs, which requires donations from abroad above a certain limit to be registered and disclosed, is ‘discriminatory and unjustified’ and breaches EU law. (Al Jazeera, 18 June 2020)

18 June: Foreign secretary Dominic Raab draws scorn for his remark that he sees taking the knee, a protest against racism adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement, as a ‘symbol of subjugation and subordination’. (Guardian, 18 June 2020)

19 June: Conservative party activist Theodora Dickinson is suspended from the party after tweeting that Labour MP Naz Shah should ‘go back to Pakistan’ if she hates ‘this country so much’. (BBC News, 19 June 2020)

21 June: Bosnia’s Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik calls for a ‘full sterilisation from migrants on our territories,’ and says no asylum reception centres will be built in the Republika Srpska entity. (Podijeli, 22 June 2020)

25 June: Labour leader Keir Starmer sacks shadow education minister Rebecca Long-Bailey after she tweets an interview with actor Maxine Peake which included a claim (later retracted) that US police learned the tactics that killed George Floyd from the Israeli secret service. Starmer describes the claim as an antisemitic conspiracy theory, while critics say this confuses antisemitism with legitimate criticism of Israeli and US police cooperation and state racism. (Huffington PostGuardian, 25 June 2020)

26 June: Peter Kraus, Pembroke Dock councillor and former mayor, resigns after posting pictures on Facebook comparing Black Lives Matter protesters to monkeys jumping on a car. Police are investigating as a possible hate crime. (BBC News, 26 June 2020)

28 June: In the second-round of local elections in France, Rassemblement National candidate Louis Aliot faces down a ‘republican front’ to win the mayoralty of the south-western city of Perpignan, in what is hailed as the biggest municipal victory for the far Right since it took Toulon in 1995. (Financial Times, 28 June 2020)


See also Employment.

16 June: Public Health England (PHE) publishes a second report, Beyond the data: understanding the impact of Covid-19 on BAME groups, which accepts that racism has contributed to the high incidence of the virus and death rate from it in BAME communities. (Independent, 16 June 2020)

18 June: The government says people with special dietary needs can contact their local authorities after it emerges that pork products were sent to Muslims listed as at risk and shielding, under a government contract run by private companies.(Guardian, 18 June 2020)

19 June: The biggest study of its kind finds South Asians the most likely to die after being admitted to hospital for coronavirus, with diabetes accounting for much of the difference. The report’s chief investigator believes occupation is a significant factor, with large numbers working in healthcare, public sector activity and other human facing work. (Guardian, 19 June 2020)

23 June: Labour’s race adviser Doreen Lawrence and shadow women and equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova write to the prime minister to ask whether the recommendations from a Public Health England (PHE) report into coronavirus and the BAME community have been implemented, and seeking a timetable for further action. (Guardian, 23 June 2020)

27 June: A Guardian report on Covid-19 in the Church end neighbourhood of Brent, with a large British Somali population and the second-worst cluster of coronavirus deaths in the country, says one-third of residents are in poverty, half through housing costs, and ‘total collapse of the system’ according to community workers, in the early days of the pandemic. (Guardian, 27 June 2020)

29 June: Health secretary Matt Hancock says Leicester, which has a large BAME population, is to return to strict lockdown for two weeks, as infections rise in the city. The mayor and public health director express frustration at the government’s failure to provide information, which has hindered their efforts to single out a cause for the outbreak. (The Journal, 1 July 2020)


19 June: As France begins to close its Covid-19 emergency shelters which provided beds for up to 177,000 homeless people, thousands of migrants are forced back to the makeshift unsanctioned camps in and around Paris and northern France. (Le Parisien, 19 June 2020)

21 June: Council leaders in the Local Government Association call on the government to provide councils with the means to build 100,000 homes a year to rent to key workers who have helped fight the virus and bereaved families. (Observer, 21 June 2020)

24 June: Councils and charities express concern that new government funding to support rough sleepers moving out of hotels they have been housed in during the pandemic will exclude thousands of homeless people because of their immigration status. (Independent, 24 June 2020)

25 June: Members of the Gilets Noirs movement, which demands the regularisation of undocumented workers in France, hold a rally in the Coignières ADEF hostel, where they have been on rent strike since April in protest at the charges and living conditions, described as ‘like living in prison cells’, demanding talks with the hostel’s director. The loss of wages due to Covid-19 has placed residents in a very precarious situation, without enough to buy bread, and with no state support. (Twitter, 25 June 2020)

25 June: The Home Office’s private housing contractor Mears says it will not pursue the controversial ‘lock change’ eviction policy carried out by its predecessor Serco on asylum seekers in Glasgow. (Guardian, 25 June 2020)


20 June: Data from the Runnymede Trust shows that Black African and Bangladeshi families have only 10p of savings and assets for every pound of white British wealth, with a race gap running through pay, pensions, wealth and property. (Guardian, 20 June 2020)


20 June: Maritime and Coastguard Agency officials detain five of six cruise ships anchored near London and Bristol, all owned by Global Cruise Lines Ltd and operated by CMV, after inspecting them following reports of hunger strikes, late payment of wages and a death among the 1,500 crew members, mainly from India and Indonesia, some of whom have been stuck on board for over the legal limit of 11 months and who are desperate to be repatriated. (Guardian, 20 June 2020)

23 June: A study by Oxfam estimates that over a quarter of migrant workers in Spain will lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic, a much higher proportion than Spanish citizens, and that one in three people left in poverty in Spain will be migrants. (El Diario, 23 June 2020)

24 June: The Tönnies abattoir and meat processing plant in Gütersloh, North-Rhine Westphalia, which employs mostly Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian migrant workers, is accused of flouting physical distancing and hygiene rules in the factory, canteen and workforce accommodation after over 1,700 cases of Covid-19 infection are reported there, forcing the town of Gütersloh into a second lockdown. (Guardian, 24 June 2020)

25 June: Migrant workers in Spain interviewed by El País say they must continue to work picking fruit despite a spike in Covid-19 cases due to the precarious nature of their work and demands of family back home. As one worker, Chikh Oumarov from Senegal says ‘I’m not scared of the coronavirus. What terrifies me is not being able to feed my three children’. (El Pais, 25 June 2020)

25 June: A report by the Dutch trade union research foundation VNB, the International Transport Federation and the International Union of Food Workers, finds the surge in home deliveries has led to intense exploitation of non-EU lorry drivers recruited from Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan and the Philippines to drive loads around western Europe, with extreme examples of low pay and appalling working conditions. (Guardian, 25 June 2020)

26 June: Those working in social care, of whom many are migrant workers, are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than working-age people as a whole, the Office for National Statistics finds. Security guards, construction workers, taxi drivers, cleaners, chefs and shop workers all have an increased risk, and 11 of the 17 highest-risk occupations employ significantly higher proportions of BAME workers. (Guardian, 26 June 2020)

26 June: The Ministry of Justice, where Emanuel Gomes died hours after a shift in May, and its outsourced cleaning firm OCS are accused of failing to protect workers or to investigate a potential coronavirus outbreak after four cleaners fell sick at the height of the pandemic, and management demands and the lack of sick pay beyond the statutory £95.95 per week put them under pressure to continue working. (Guardian, 26 June 2020)

29 June: The families of the five migrant workers from Gambia and Senegal crushed to death in July 2016 at the Hawkeswood Metal Recycling site in Birmingham are dismayed to learn of yet further delays to the Health and Safety Executive investigation. The families, who have not yet received compensation, say ‘Our Lives Don’t Matter’. (Guardian, 29 June 2020)

29 June: It is revealed that the company Transamed, contracted by the Madrid city government to provide medical care to nursing homes in March and April, employed Venezuelan medical students, failed to give them contracts or to pay them the promised salary and when they complained, said others could be found who needed the work more. (El Diario, 29 June 2020)

29 June: A report by the Kanlungan Filipino Consortium and human rights charity RAPAR finds the impact of the hostile environment on migrant workers, mostly in care and domestic work, amplified by Covid-19, with over half those interviewed losing jobs, others paid as little as £2 an hour, and overcrowded living conditions making it impossible to stay safe. (Guardian, 29 June 2020)

30 June: As a report by anti-exploitation group Labour Behind the Label alleges that Leicester’s garment factories, producing clothing mainly for Boohoo, forced workers to work when they were ill, experts and community organisers say the sector appears to have played a key part in the resurgence of the virus in the city. Leicester’s 1,000 factories and workshops, employing mostly Asian workers, are notorious for paying below the minimum wage, in some cases £3 an hour. Read the report here. (Guardian, 30 June 2020)


21 June: The Fabian Society says the successful school meal voucher campaign provides only a sticking plaster for households living below the poverty line as universal credit does not even cover basic needs. (Guardian, 21 June 2020)

21 June: An analysis by the Guardian and SIGOMA reveals that a decade of austerity policies left Labour councils’ income cut by over a third on average, while Conservative areas’ income cuts averaged less than a quarter. The Labour areas with the highest levels of deprivation, including Hackney and Newham in London and Knowsley and Manchester in the north-west suffered the deepest spending cuts. (Guardian, 21 June 2020)

22 June: The office of the Children’s Commissioner for England rules that Boris Johnson made false claims to parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions when he said levels of child poverty and overall levels of poverty were falling and that 400,000 fewer families live in poverty now than ten years ago. (Guardian, 22 June 2020)

30 June: Following the government U-turn on the summer extension of the free school meals programme, revised guidance published by ministers indicates that many children from families with ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) conditions will still be denied help. (Government website, 30 June 2020)


17 June: The majority of the Belgian federal parliament party leaders approve the setting up of a commission to examine Belgian’s colonial past, notably in the Congo. (Brussels Times, 17 June 2020)

17-18 June: As Oriel College Oxford votes to remove the statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes and to set up a commission looking at the Rhodes legacy, how to improve access and attendance of BAME students and faculty and ‘a review of how the college’s 21st century commitment to diversity can sit more easily with its past’, campaigners call for a radical transformation of the university’s relationships and decolonisation of the curriculum. (Guardian, 17 June, Guardian; 18 June 2020)

21 June: University admissions based on predicted grades, set to replace A-level exams this year because of Covid-19, will reinforce racial inequalities at Oxbridge for years because of under-prediction of black and working-class students’ grades, according to Target Oxbridge. (Observer, 21 June 2020)

30 June: Race and Racism in English Secondary Schools, new research by the University of Manchester, finds that the Safer School Partnership initiative, which bases police in schools, is having a detrimental impact on BAME pupils, with minor disciplinary issues among students quickly escalating into criminal issues, creating a ‘school to prison’ pipeline. (Voice, 30 June 2020)


See also Education.

17 June: Bristol City Council’s conservation team confirm that graffiti sprayed on the toppled statue of slave trader Edward Colston will remain on the preserved statue, which will be displayed in a museum. (BBC News, 17 June 2020)

17 June: Chains and a sign saying ‘Decolonise History’ are placed around the statue of Sir Francis Drake in Plymouth. Plymouth council had previously stated the statue would remain but that a plaque would be installed detailing Drake’s involvement in the slave trade. (Plymouth Live, 17 June 2020)

19 June: Parliamentary officials are examining the collection of more than 9,000 artefacts in the corridors and lobbies of Westminster to re-evaluate how to present the UK’s involvement in empire, racism and slavery in the light of the BLM movement, says the curator of its art collection Melissa Hamnett, as University College London renames lecture theatres and a building that honoured prominent eugenicists. (GuardianGuardian, 19 June 2020)

19 June: In an out-of-court settlement, the Mail on Sunday pays £35,000 libel damages and legal costs to the Palestinian Return Centre after admitting defaming the organisation in the course of serialising a book published by Harper Collins about the then Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in a claim that PRC is ‘known to blame the Jews for the Holocaust’. (Electronic Intifada, 19 June 2020)

Colin Prescod in Blacks Britannica

19 June: The Guardian releases a list of 10 of the best black British films, featuring John Akomfrah’s Handsworth Songs, Campbell X’s Stud Life and David Koff’s Blacks Britannica. Now available to watch on Vimeo, Blacks Britannica featured the IRR’s former director A Sivanandan and current chair, Colin Prescod. (Guardian, 19 June 2020)

20 June: The head of the Catholic Aachener housing association in Berlin speaks out against the media stigmatisation and increased hostility towards Roma residents, after some tested positive for Covid-19. Benjamin Marx says that Roma residents can’t even open their windows, as if they do they are immediately confronted by journalists asking questions. Tabloids are stirring up old clichés about Roma as dirty and contagious, he says, citing the magazine Cicero as an example of ‘Roma bashing’. (, 20 June 2020)

20 June: The Polish state media are accused of stoking up antisemitism in their bid to shore up Law & Justice candidate Andrzej Duda’s presidential bid and of failing to refer once to ‘Jewish victims’ in the recent 80th anniversary commemoration of the first deportations of Poles to Auschwitz. State media also berated front-running opposition candidate Rafał Trzaskowski for his attitude to Jewish restitution campaigns, which they say is ‘not in line with Polish interests’. (Guardian, 20 June 2020)

22 June: Bollo Brook Youth Club in Acton, West London launches a virtual online exhibition led by young people examining race, racism and class in Britain. Titled ‘who we are, who we aren’t, it previously exhibited at Tate Modern in February 2020. (Metro, 22 June 2020)

22 June: 4,000 producers, directors, writers and actors demand that the UK film and TV industry ‘put its money and practices where its mouth is’ to tackle systemic racism in the industry in an open letter to broadcasters and film studios. (Guardian, 22 June 2020)

22 June: After launching a criminal damage investigation, Avon and Somerset Police release the images of 15 people they wish to speak to in relation to the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol. (Sky News, 22 June 2020)

22 June: Hackney mayor Philip Glanville announces that two sculptures, one a 9-foot tall figure that will stand outside Hackney town hall, will be the first permanent artworks to honour the Windrush generation. (Guardian, 22 June 2020)

23 June: A statue of former Plymouth MP Nancy Astor is sprayed with the word ‘Nazi’ after it appeared on a list by campaigners Topple the Racists which is demanding the removal of monuments that ‘celebrate slavery and racism’. Topple the Racists lists Astor as an ‘anti-semite and a Nazi supporter’. (BBC News, 24 June 2020)

23 June: Cambridge professor Priyamvada Gopal is temporarily suspended from Twitter under its ‘hateful content policy’ after a tweet stating ‘White lives don’t matter. As white lives’ attracts hundreds of abusive messages, including death threats. Gopal later clarifies her comments, ‘I was saying whiteness isn’t the reason lives should matter. Lives do matter, but not because they are white. I say the same thing about my own community.’ Twitter later reinstates Gopal’s account. (Cambridgeshire Live, 25 June 2020)

23 June: Writing in a foreword of the first in-depth study of diversity in publishing, Booker Prize winner Bernadine Evaristo criticises the publishing industry for ‘misguided’ beliefs that undervalue Black, Asian and minority ethnic and working-class audiences. (Guardian, 23 June 2020)

25 June: The Guardian runs its first ever Black British Culture special feature, pairing black creatives to discuss race and racism in the creative industries. Artists and creatives include architect Elsie Owusu, comedian Gina Yashere and rappers Rodney P and Kojey Radical. (Guardian, 25 June 2020)

26 June: The Archbishop of Canterbury confirms that some Church of England statues and images of Jesus as a white man will be removed or have their names changed following a review. (BBC News, 26 June 2020)

26 June: After more than 100 of the world’s leading brands announce a boycott of advertising on Facebook due to its failure to address hate speech and violence, Facebook’s chief executive announces that it is banning adverts containing claims that people of a specific race, religion or sexual orientation are a threat to others. (Guardian, 26 June 2020)

26 June: Google honours race equality and housing campaigner Olive Morris in its daily ‘google doodle’ on what would have been her 68th birthday. A member of the British Black Panthers, Morris co-founded Brixton Black Women’s Group and the Organisation Of Women Of African And Asian Descent (OWAAD). She died in 1979 aged 27 (Elle, 26 June 2020)

28 June: The Telegraph newspaper is criticised after publishing a story with the headline ‘Half of UK’s imported Covid-19 infections are from Pakistan’. The story is based on just 60 cases recorded since 4 June. (The International News, 28 June 2020)

29 June: French activist Assa Traore, leader of the Comité Vérité pour Adama (Committee for the Truth for Adama) is given the Global Good award by BET, an American television channel dedicated to African-American and minority people, in recognition of her commitment to the welfare of the global Black community. (France 24, 29 June 2020)


“Choose your Mediterranean”. Credit: Flavita Banana

18 June: The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is granted a judicial review to challenge the Home Office’s artificial intelligence system that filters UK visa applications. They claim the AI programme is designed to discriminate against applicants from certain nations. (Guardian, 18 June 2020)

19 June: As 100 people demonstrate in Nicosia, Cyprus, to mark World Refugee Day, demonstrators hold banners saying ‘Solidarity to refugees’ and ‘We can’t breathe’. (Are You Syrious, 20 June 2020)

20 June: Marking World Refugee Day, demonstrations take place in cities across Europe, protesting the inhuman treatment of asylum seekers, demanding regularisation for undocumented migrants, a resumption of sea rescue, refugee family reunion and other basic rights for migrants and refugees. (Are You Syrious, 20-21 June; France 24, 20 June; Brussels Times, 20 June 2020)

20 June: The Aquarius Survivors Association of 2018, comprising people rescued by the Aquarius search and rescue ship, gather in Valencia to demand that the Spanish government regularises the situation of migrants who have applied for international protection. ‘No one is born to be a refugee’, they say. (El Diario, 21 June 2020)

22 June: The parliamentary work and pensions select committee recommends that the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) policy should be suspended for the duration of the pandemic. Citizens Advice reveals that the number of migrants seeking help due to being denied benefits by the policy has doubled during the pandemic. (Guardian, 22 June; Independent, 26 June 2020)

22 June: 130 Saxony mayors, councillors, organisations and clubs sign an open letter calling for Lower Saxony to declare itself a safe haven for people on the move and develop a state admissions process, and demonstrations are held in the main city of Halle demanding that the city takes in more refugees from the Greek camps. (Are You Syrious, 22 June; Are You Syrious, 25 June 2020)

24 June: The Spanish #RegularizacionYa movement and the ‘Obrim Fronteras’ coordinating committee, supported by over 1,500 migrant and anti-racist groups, register a proposal for legislation in Congress calling for the urgent, permanent and unconditional regularisation of undocumented migrants, who are, they point out, excluded from protective measures such as minimum income. (Público, 24 June 2020)

30 June: Former England boxer Kelvin Bilal Fawaz wins a 16-year legal battle to live and work in the UK as the Home Office grants him 30 months’ leave to remain. (Guardian, 30 June 2020)


16 June: The mayor of Grande-Synthe, northern France, removes the only accessible sanitation (water points, WC) points for the hundreds of displaced people living in the area. (InfoMigrants, 16 June 2020)

17 June: Of the 40 NGOs operating in the reception and identification centres (RICs) and accommodation facilities for migrants and refugees, only 18 registered in time to continue working in them under a new registration and monitoring scheme, says the Greek Migration and Asylum Ministry. (Ekathimerini, 17 June 2020)

20 June: Hours after 2,000 people mark World Refugee Day by a protest in central Athens at the government’s treatment of migrants, the Greek government again extends the lockdown in RICs and accommodation centres for refugee and asylum seekers across the country to 5 July. Limits on freedom of movement have been lifted for everyone else, and Greek borders are open for inessential travel. (IB Times, 20 June 2020)

20 June: The Italian Public Prosecutor’s Office in Agrigento opens an investigation into an attack by a security officer on two Tunisian migrants trying to escape from the region’s detention centre. (Agence Tunis Afrique Presse, 20 June 2020)

21 June: New data released by the campaign group Detention Action reveals that black people are detained for significantly longer than white people in the UK’s immigration detention system, prompting concerns of racial bias. (Guardian, 21 June 2020)

23 June: A month after the lifting of lockdown in Italy, the Roya transit camp in Ventimiglia, which closed on 18 April, remains closed, with now almost 200 people sleeping rough outside. (Are You Syrious, 23 June 2020)

23 June: The UK prisons inspector condemns poor conditions and an ‘alarming lack of oversight and accountability’ after an inspection of the Home Office’s 13 short-term holding facilities. (Free Movement, 23 June 2020)

26 June: El Diario claims that Moroccan authorities in the western Sahara capital El Aaiún are indiscriminately rounding up sub-Saharan migrants, locking them up in improvised detention centres where there is no water for drinking or washing and no food, and forcibly testing them for Covid-19, after several migrants embarking for the Canary Islands tested positive. One woman has been detained with her children for two weeks, and says she does not have the virus but is being forced to take tablets. (El Diario, 26 June 2020)

26 June: A Ghanaian man dies of epilepsy in the Samos refugee camp after failing to access treatment at the local hospital. (Are You Syrious, 26 June 2020)

26 June: The Home Office faces criticism for failing to act despite warnings on the impact of mental health of the forced relocation of asylum seekers in Glasgow from self-contained flats into hotels and the withdrawal of all cash allowances by its contractor Mears, after Sudanese asylum seeker Badreddin Abedlla Adam, who residents told staff was mentally ill, stabs six people and is shot dead by police. (Scotland Herald, 27 June; Guardian, 27 June; InfoSur Hoy, 28 June 2020)

27 June: Several senior Conservatives including former ministers push for an amendment to the immigration bill to limit detention to a maximum of 28 days following the release of a report by the Jesuit Refugee Service, Detained and Dehumanised, documenting the trauma experienced by those in indefinite detention. Read the report here. (Guardian, 27 June 2020)

29 June: Immigration minister Chris Philps refuses to commit the Home Office to an independent inquiry into the treatment of asylum seekers in Glasgow during the lockdown, called for by Glasgow charity Positive Action in Housing, as the Scottish government tells the Home Office it expects a ‘thorough investigation’ and MPs press him on contractor Mears’ admission that it failed to carry out vulnerability assessments before moving hundreds out of self-contained flats into hotels. He agrees to ‘reconsider’ financial support for those in hotels. (Guardian, 28 June; Guardian, 29 June 2020


17 June: The National Audit Office reports that Home Office officials admit to having no specific evidence to show that the ‘compliant environment’ policy actually encourages voluntary departures or fosters compliance with visa and passport conditions. (Guardian, 17 June 2020)

19 June: A car carrying seven Pakistani men, believed to have just crossed the land border from Turkey, crashes in northern Greece while being chased by a police car, killing one man and injuring the remaining six. (Ekathimerini, 19 June 2020)

20 June: The Italian government announces an increase in funding to the Libyan coastguard by €3 million to a total of €58.28 million in 2020 and €213 million over three years. (Are You Syrious, 20-21 June; Morning Star, 20 June 2020)

22 June: A report by Balkan Insight reveals how in 2016, the EU secretly recruited US management company McKinsey to accelerate asylum processing to ‘maximise productivity’ and produce a ‘streamlined end-to-end asylum process’ on the overcrowded Greek islands, to salvage its controversial deal with Turkey. (Balkan Insight, 22 June 2020)

22 June: More illegal pushbacks are reported: by Italian police, a group of 12 people from Trieste, to Slovenia, where police destroyed documents, to Croatia, where police beat and robbed them, to Bosnia; and a group of 29 people whose boat was towed into Turkish waters by the Greek coastguard. (Are You Syrious, 22 June 2020)

23 June: After Windrush scandal survivors deliver a 130,000-signature petition to Downing Street demanding action, a cross-government working group is launched to address the challenges faced by the Windrush generation, two years after then-prime minister Theresa May promised to do so, and home secretary Priti Patel promises to accept all 30 recommendations of the Windrush Lessons Learned review published in March. (Guardian, 19 June; Guardian, 22 June; Guardian, 23 June 2020)

25 June: Are You Syrious reports that two more men have been found drowned in the Mreznica river, Croatia, bringing the total to 6 deaths in the river in June alone. (Are You Syrious, 25 June 2020)

26 June: The organisation Centre Suisse pour la Defence des Droits des Migrants (CSDM) submits a formal request to the UN Committee Against Torture for an inquiry into Italy’s policy of externalising border control to the Libyan coastguard, that has led to the mass torture, rape and forced labour of thousands of refugees and migrants. (CSDM press release, 26 June 2020)


25 June: As deportations from Germany resume after coronavirus restrictions are eased, over 9,000 people take legal action against the immigration authorities for suspending the normal 6 months’ time limit for deportations to other EU states under the Dublin regulation, putting 2,500 asylum seekers at risk. (InfoMigrants, 25 June 2020)


26 June: A 32-year-old woman returnee from Syria, identified as Rahma B, is stripped of her Belgian nationality by an Antwerp court, which also sentences her to 5 years in prison and fines her €8,000 for participating in the activities of a terrorist organisation. (Brussels Times, 26 June 2020)


17 June: As Premier League football returns, in empty stadiums, players, whose shirts have the words Black Lives Matter instead of their names, take a knee at kickoff and when goals are scored in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. (Guardian, 17 June 2020)

23 June: Players including Andy Murray and umpires take a knee at the start of the Battle of the Brits tennis tournament in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. (Sky Sports, 23 June 2020)

24 June: The Premier League announces a new system to fast-track players’ complaints of online abuse, including reporting abuse to the relevant social media company, investigation and legal action if necessary. (Guardian, 24 June 2020)

24 June: Jermaine Coleman, the only Black coach in professional rugby, refers comments by white players on social media calling for BLM protesters to be tasered to the Rugby Football League, to see what they will do about racism in the sport. (Guardian, 24 June 2020)

26 June: In televised remarks condemned by Formula One, its former chief executive Bernie Ecclestone dismisses Lewis Hamilton’s complaints about racism, saying it is not F1’s responsibility to tackle racist behaviour and black people are often more racist than whites. (Guardian, 26 June 2020)

29 June: The English Football League announces a pilot scheme for developing Black and minority ethnic coaches by funding a bursary for six players to take up two-year work placements at EFL clubs. The scheme, devised in part by the Premier League’s Black Participants’ Advisory Group, is welcomed by Sanjay Bhandari of Kick It Out, who adds that more needs to be done. (Guardian, 29 June 2020)

29 June: A study by Danish research firm RunRepeat finds that racial bias is a clear and significant problem in English football commentary, with darker-skinned players’ physical attributes of speed and power emphasised, with lighter-skinned players praised for their intelligence and hard work. (Guardian, 29 June 2020)


17 June: Sussex police appeal for witnesses after a 62-year-old man suffers a racial attack in Hove, in which he receives broken ribs and facial injuries. (Brighton and Hove News, 18 June 2020)

19 June: Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team issues a warning in the wake of a disturbance in which a shop owner was abused by a member of the public, who was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. (Hartlepool Mail, 19 June 2020)

19 June: In the wake of the toppling of the Colston statue, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees receives racist letters telling him to ‘get out of the country’, a racist book and a ‘black doll badge’. Avon and Somerset police are investigating. (BBC News, 19 June 2020)

19 June: Five more people aged between 21 and 57 are arrested in connection with an attack on a family in Sheffield city centre on 13 June, when a 55-year-old man was punched in the face and the family racially abused. Two men were arrested at the scene. (Examiner Live, 19 June 2020)

19 June: Three masked men armed with a hammer and other weapons force entry to an upstairs flat on Main Street in Dungiven, Northern Ireland, and attack a sleeping man in his bed. The attack is being treated as racially motivated hate crime and the victim remains in hospital. (Belfast Telegraph, 19 June 2020)

19 June: At least two mosques and a Muslim community centre in Stockton, Teesside are vandalised, with the letters KKK daubed in red paint, as well as graffiti marks on walls and windows, sparking fear and outrage in the local community. (Teesside Live, 19 June 2020)

19 June: Police hunt a man who hurled drunken racist abuse at a pregnant woman and attacked her in a Wellingborough street, pushing her to the ground, before passers-by intervened. (Northants Live, 22 June 2020)

23 June: A 21-year-old Lancaster student is racially abused by a group of teenagers and called ‘Taliban’ for wearing a face mask whilst walking on the Millennium bridge. (Lancs Live, 24 June 2020)

24 June: Police in Helensburgh appeal for information after racist graffiti was chalked on to a sea wall in Garelochhead between 12 and 13 June. (Helensburgh Advertiser, 24 June 2020)

24 June: Two women, one in her 50s and one in her 20s, sustain injuries in a racially motivated attack in the street in Brierley Hill, Dudley. (Birmingham Mail, 25 June 2020)

24 June: Police appeal for witnesses to a racial attack in a railway carriage at Exmouth railway station following a street altercation, in which a 20-year-old Exeter man suffers serious head injuries. (Exmouth Journal, 25 June 2020)

25 June: Two murals are defaced in Greece: one, of Greek-Nigerian NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, is vandalised and painted with neo-Nazi symbols, and a second, a commemoration of George Floyd, is splashed with red and white paint. (Ekathimerini, 25 June 2020)

25 June: Aberdeen residents condemn racist graffiti on two bus stops in the west of the city, reading ‘white lives matter’, ‘white power’ and ‘whites matter n****** die’. Police are investigating. (The National, 25 June 2020)

25 June: A video emerges showing a woman on a bus on the Kent border racially abusing a black man,repeatedly using racial slurs and slapping the man’s phone as he records her. The victim reports the incident to the Metropolitan Police. (Kent Live, 27 June 2020)

25 June: Detectives investigate racist letters received by post offices in Padiham, Burnley and Pendle, east Lancashire, on 24 June, which demand that the Asian community ‘go back to your land immediately, fast with urgency or else’. (This is Lancashire, 25 June 2020)

26 June: Police appeal for information after a man yelled racist abuse at a 12-year-old child from a passing car in Preston city centre, on 20 June. (Lancs Live, 26 June 2020)

26 June: Dorset police investigate after racist graffiti appears on an underpass in Weymouth town centre (Wessex FM, 26 June 2020)

27 June: Police investigate racially motivated criminal damage after racist graffiti saying ‘local only’ is painted on a wall outside a house in the Finaghy area of Belfast. (Belfast Telegraph, 28 June 2020)

28 June: A father and daughter describe their distress after being racially abused by a man at a Swindon supermarket. Investigations are ongoing. (Swindon Advertiser, 29 June 2020)

30 June: After Phillip Mbuji Johansen, a 28-year-old engineering student of Danish and Tanzanian descent, was tortured and killed on the remote Danish island of Bornholm on 23 June by two white men, one with far-right affiliations and a swastika tattoo on his leg, police and judicial authorities deny any racist motivation, saying it is the result of ‘a personal relationship… gone wrong’, as it seems one of the suspects was an old friend. Johansen’s skull had been broken, a knife had been driven through his throat and a knee planted in his neck. One of the suspects, according to research group Redox, had recently posted a message in support of White Lives Matter. (New York Times, 30 June 2020)

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

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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