Calendar of Racism and Resistance (17 June – 1 July 2021)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (17 June – 1 July 2021)


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 June: A refugee family win their case against HMRC for child tax credit backdated to their date of arrival, after waiting six years for refugee status. (The National, 15 June 2021)

16 June: A report by Changing Europe says hundreds of thousands of EU citizens, who have not applied to the EU Settled Status scheme, will irreversibly lose their rights and be considered ‘undocumented’ after 30 June. Read the report here. (UK in a Changing Europe, 16 June 2021)

25 June: A Greek court awards compensation of €85,000 and €250,000 respectively to the families of 20-year-old Egyptian Ahmed Elgamal and 46-year-old Syrian Mustafa Mustafa, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a fire lit to keep warm in their freezing tent in January 2017 in the Moria refugee camp. (Ekathimerini, 26 June 2021)

27 June: Campaigners warn that an estimated 15,000 East Timorese people living in the UK after fleeing the country in the 1990s could lose all their rights on 1 July as they arrived on Portuguese passports. (Guardian, 27 June 2021)

Borders and internal controls

18 June: Captains of rescue ships and about 80 human rights organisations across the world launch Abolish Frontex, publishing an open letter to various EU bodies. Frontex has just secured a €5.6bn (£4.8bn) budget until 2027, with its budget growing more than 7,500 percent since 2005. (Guardian, 18 June 2021)

Two protest banners lie on the floor at a pro-migrant protest in Leipzig, reading "Stop Deportations" and "Ferries not Frontex".
 A ‘Ferries not Frontex’ banners at a migrant solidarity protest in Leipzig. Credit: Tschop! Tschop!, Flickr.

21 June: South African opera performer Pretty Yende accuses French immigration authorities of ‘outrageous racial discrimination’ after being detained, strip-searched and held in a dark room at Paris’ main airport as she arrives to star in La Sonnambula, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. (Actu Seine-Saint-Denis; Guardian, 22 June 2021)

23 June: Amnesty International (AI) publishes Greece: Violence, lies and pushbacks, detailing new evidence of torture, ill-treatment and illegal pushbacks from Greece to Turkey affecting around 1,000 migrants and refugees from March to December 2020. (AI press release, 22 June 2021) 

23 June: Leaked European Commission plans reveal the EU’s intention to fund controls at Turkey’s eastern borders, to stop Syrian, Iraqi and other refugees from travelling through the country to reach Europe.  (Guardian, 23 June 2021)

28 June: Home secretary Priti Patel opens talks with Denmark over sharing an offshore processing centre for asylum seekers in Rwanda, a plan intended to discourage Channel crossings and denounced by human rights groups as violating refugees’ rights. (Evening Standard; Independent, 28 June 2021)

Reception and detention

15 June: Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) publishes a report on the inhumane and unhealthy conditions in the emergency pandemic camps constructed in the Canary Islands, Spain, where migrants suffer from anxiety attacks, poorly healed wounds, scabies, digestive and oral problems, urine infections, etc. (El Diario, 15 June 2021)

18 June: Portuguese NGOs accuse Eduardo Cabrita, minister of internal administration, of treating migrants like criminals after it emerges that refugees have since February been detained at Caxias prison, outside Lisbon, while their asylum claims are dealt with. (Portugal Resident, 18 June 2021)

21 June: The High Court, reversing a Tribunal decision, rules that the home secretary is not legally obliged to house all refused asylum seekers during the pandemic. (Free Movement, 24 June 2021)

22 June: The transfer of asylum seekers to Napier barracks is suspended following the launch of a new legal challenge, as internal documents reveal government health officials warning it could become a site of ‘reoccurring or enduring’ Covid transmission. More than 200 asylum seekers are currently accommodated at the barracks. (Guardian, 22 June 2021)

22 June: The Court of Justice of the EU rules that the maximum period of detention for an EU citizen awaiting deportation should be shorter than for non-EU nationals. (Free Movement, 25 June 2021)

24 June: Increasing violence towards refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres, including shootings, beatings and sexual assaults by guards, has forced MSF to suspend operations at two facilities, the charity says. (Guardian, 24 June 2021)

25 June: Over 70 MPs and peers urge the home secretary to scrap plans for a new immigration detention centre in County Durham for women, which they say risks ‘exposing already vulnerable women to yet more discrimination and harm’. (Independent, 25 June 2021)

26 June: Campaigners in Glasgow mark the anniversary of the deaths of seven asylum seekers at the Park Inn hotel and call for an inquiry into the policies leading to deaths in asylum accommodation. (Guardian, 25 June 2021)

Criminalising solidarity

13 June: Dutch journalist Ingeborg Beugel, 61, who lives on the Greek island of Hydra, is arrested for facilitating the illegal stay of a foreigner after neighbours tipped off police about a ‘suspect’ relationship with an ‘illegal’.  An Afghan asylum seeker was staying with her while he appealed a negative decision, an arrangement that had been cleared with the authorities. (Guardian, 24 June 2021)

27 June: It is revealed that on 13 May, Hanad Abdi Mohammad, a 28-year-old from Somalia, was sentenced by Lesvos criminal court, Greece to 142 years in prison for ‘human smuggling’ for taking the wheel of the boat in which he and 33 others were trying to reach the island in December 2020 when it got into difficulties – one of several asylum seekers heavily sentenced in similar circumstances. (Ekathimerini/New York Times, 27 June 2021)

Citizenship and statelessness

17 June: The  Covid-19 Emergency Statelessness Fund (CESF) Consortium publishes a report on the situation of stateless Roma in  North Macedonia and Montenegro now facing  increased racism during the pandemic due to their lack of documentation following the dissolution of Yugoslavia and barriers in accessing healthcare and emergency relief. (European Network on Statelessness blog, 17 June 2021)


16 June: A German military spokesperson says that 30 soldiers recalled from Lithuania after accusations of sexual violence, singing a birthday song for Hitler, and making racist and antisemitic comments have brought ‘shame on us all’. The soldiers were deployed in Lithuania as part of NATO’S Enhanced Forward Presence mission providing protection by deterring Russia. (Al Jazeera, 16 June 2021)

18 June: Nationwide guidelines for the prosecution of antisemitic incidents will be standardised, the German government announces, as will instructions for the policing of anti-Israel demonstrations near synagogues and other Jewish institutions. The Hamas flag will be banned and antisemitic incidents will be classified as extreme right-wing motivated, even if the perpetrators’ intentions were not clear. (Deutsche Welle, 18 June; Deutsche Welle 20 June 2021) 

18 June: For the first time in a German intelligence agency report, the activities of the New Right Generation Identity, the Compact media outlet, the One per cent group (Ein Prozent) and the Institute for State Policy (IfS) are listed, on the grounds that they deny fundamental rights to ethnic minorities in ways that breach the Constitution. (Deutsche Welle, 18 June 2021)

19 June: Stanislav Tomáš, a Romany man, dies in an ambulance shortly after being restrained by police in Teplice, Czech Republic. Footage of the incident goes viral on social media, and in the following days Amnesty International draws attention to the ‘unlawful’ and ‘reckless’ use of the neck restraint technique and the Council of Europe and the European Roma Rights Centre call for an urgent investigation. Police blame his death on intoxication. (Guardian, 23 June 2021)

Justice for Stanislav Tomas vigil in Glasgow
A vigil for Stanislav Tomáš in Glasgow. Credit: Susanna Hotham for Romano Lav, Twitter.

20 June: Following the discovery of the body of far-right soldier Jürgen Conings near the Dutch border, the Belgian interior minister calls on the public to ignore conspiracy theories about the state’s involvement in his death. (Guardian, 21 June 2021)

21 June: Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights warns that provisions in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill are unnecessary and disproportionate, confer unacceptably wide powers to curb demonstrations and breach human rights. (Guardian, 21 June 2021)

22 June: As the inquest opens in Ireland into the death of George Nkencho, shot dead by police in December 2020 outside his home in Clonee, near Dublin, the coroner agrees a six-month adjournment to give time for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) to complete its investigation. (RTE, 22 June 2021)

24 June: In France, Moroccan gardener Omar Raddad seeks a retrial on the basis of new DNA evidence, 30 years after his employer, a wealthy widow in Alpes-Maritimes, was murdered, for which he was sentenced to 18 years in 1994 on unreliable evidence while protesting his innocence, and released two years later. (Ouest-France, 24 June 2021)

24 June: A black Uber Eats rider accuses the Metropolitan police of racial profiling after he was stopped, forcefully restrained, and handcuffed before being arrested and taken to Lewisham police station. He was later released without charge. (News Shopper, 24 June 2021)

28 June: In a report analysing 109 deaths across the world in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, the UN calls on member states including the UK to end the ‘impunity’ enjoyed by police officers who violate the human rights of black people. (Guardian, 28 June 2021)

29 June: Six days after a jury at Birmingham crown court convicted PC Benjamin Monk of manslaughter for the on-duty killing of vulnerable former footballer Dalian Atkinson in August 2016, Monk is sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment. Atkinson’s family pay tribute to ‘all the bereaved families of black men who have died at the hands of the police, and whose fight for justice has not led to successful prosecutions’.  (Guardian, 23 June; BBC News; Guardian, 29 June 2021)

29 June: A former police sergeant is found guilty of gross misconduct and barred from policing for ‘deeply offensive’ racist and homophobic language in messages to a colleague in 2015 and 2016. (Guardian, 29 June 2021)


29 June: The People’s Review of Prevent is launched, after over 500 organisations and individuals decided to boycott the government’s official review of its counter-extremism policy in protest at the appointment of ‘Islamophobe’ William Shawcross as chair. (People’s Review of Prevent, 29 June 2021)


20 June: In the first round of the French regional elections in 13 regions and 96 departments, the far-right Rassemblement National take 19 percent of the vote, nine points lower than the last regional elections in 2015. In the south-eastern Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the RN candidate Thierry Mariani, a former minister who defected from the centre-right Republicans, tops the poll with 36.3 percent of the vote. (Guardian, 21 June 2021)

25 June: In Portugal, the far-Right Chega party introduces a parliamentary resolution calling for a publicly available electronic platform where information on all convicted sex offenders can be found. (Portugal Resident, 25 June 2021)

27 June: In the second round of regional elections in France, the far-right Rassemblement National fails to gain any region, with a ‘Republican front’ keeping them out of power in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region where RN candidate Thierry Mariani takes around 43.4 percent of the vote. (Guardian, 27 June 2021)

Batley and Spen by-election

20 June: The Labour Muslim Network writes to the Labour leadership deploring an anonymous briefing to the Mail on Sunday from a ‘senior Labour official’ who claims that the party was losing votes in the Batley and Spen by-election due to a ‘backlash’ from Muslim voters over ‘what Keir has been doing on antisemitism’. (Guardian, 20 June 2021)

28 June: Fake leaflets purporting to be from the TUC are distributed in Batley and Spen, with an image of the Labour leader and the England football team taking the knee, and the words ‘Labour believes that the biggest threat to our precious multicultural society is whiteness, and as a community, we must tackle this threat head-on.’ (Guardian, 28 June 2021)

28 June: Labour MP Navendu Mishra accuses the party of ‘dog whistle racism’ and sowing community division after it distributes a flyer to Muslim voters showing Boris Johnson with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with the message ‘Don’t risk a Tory MP who is not on your side’. (Guardian, 28 June 2021)


With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, this section now incorporates information on the Christian Right.

15 June: Research by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights reveals that of the $700m (€587m) spent on ‘anti-gender’ (anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQI) activities, about $430m (€360m) comes from European religious extremist sources, overshadowing $180m (€150m) from Russia and $80m (€67m) from the US. Around 54 European foundations are amongst the largest funders, along with aristocrats and wealthy businessmen. (Open Democracy, 15 June; Byline Times, 17 June 2021)

22 June: In Italy, Catholic fundamentalists, the Vatican and some feminists join forces to oppose the new Zan bill, that would criminalise homophobic hate speech, on the grounds that it threatens the church’s ‘freedom of thought’, and assert that the term ‘gender identity’, used in the Bill, has been ‘weaponised against women’. (Guardian, 22 June 2021)


26 June: A branch of a new trade union for delivery riders in Paris is formed, affiliated to the CGT, following the launch of seven local branches in French cities including Bordeaux, Toulouse and Lyon, to fight work exploitation and precarity, and workplace and popular racism. (Ouest-France, 26 June 2021)

28 June: In Puglia, southern Italy, Malian migrant worker Camara Fantamadi, 27, dies after picking tomatoes in the scorching sun. The African community in Puglia say that a ban, in response to his death, prohibiting ‘work in conditions of prolonged exposure to the sun’ does not go far enough, and question how it will be enforced. (Guardian, 28 March 2021)


23 June: At the Grenfell inquiry, the chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (TMO), who managed Grenfell Tower, blames his staff for allowing the fire safety plan to become 15 years out of date, showing only 12 instead of 37 disabled residents, 15 of whom died in the fire. (Guardian, 23 June 2021)

A Grenfell memorial on the fourth anniversary of the fire.
A fourth anniversary Grenfell Tower fire memorial. Credit: Steve Eason, Flickr.


14 June: An International Journal of Mental Health Systems review identifies the hostile environment as a barrier to mental healthcare for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK as well as a significant stress factor in its own right, and calls for relaxation of policies. Read the report here. (Electronic Immigration Network, 21 June 2021)

15 June: People from BME backgrounds continue to face a range of ‘unacceptable inequalities’ when using health services, a report released by NHS Race and Health Observatory and the King’s Fund says, calling for the NHS to work with local communities, other parts of the healthcare system and its partners to address long-standing ethnic health disparities. (Eastern Eye, 15 June 2021) 

16 June: NGOs in Italy begin an open vaccination campaign to include undocumented migrants, setting up centres in Ragusa and Vittoria, Sicily, and in the Campania region to vaccinate undocumented farmworkers. (InfoMigrants, 16 June; InfoMigrants, 17 June 2021)

19 June: Tower Hamlets GP Care Group opens a vaccine clinic for undocumented migrants, temporary migrants, asylum seekers and homeless people, to overcome fear of detention or deportation which has prevented some members of these communities from coming forward to be vaccinated. (The New Arab, 19 June 2021)

20 June: A new report by the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA) reveals that over half of Black, East Asian and South Asian employees suffering racism at work over the last 12 months said it had affected their mental health and wellbeing. (Independent, 20 June 2021) 

27 June: A year after the Park Inn Hotel attacks in which 7 people died, a study by Glasgow group Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) reveals that one-third of asylum seekers moved to hotels suffer trauma and adverse effects on their mental health. (The National, 27 June 2021)

28 June: A National Aids Trust report finds that the hostile environment creates barriers to HIV testing and treatment for migrants, with fears around data sharing between the NHS and the Home Office the greatest deterrents to accessing care. (Electronic Immigration Network, 28 June 2021)


17 June: Churchill College, Cambridge halts a critical examination of its founder, Winston Churchill, abruptly ending the role of a working party set up last year in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, following a dispute between the college’s leadership and the working party, whose members had been planning a mass resignation over alleged interference in a planned event. (Guardian, 17 June 2021)

21 June: The Conservative-dominated Education Select Committee is accused of promoting a ‘culture war’ after it publishes a report that links white working-class educational failure to the use in schools of ‘divisive’ terms such as ‘white privilege’. (Guardian, 21 June; Guardian, 22 June 2021) 

23 June: Education secretary Gavin Williamson is mocked and rebuked for suggesting that schoolchildren should sing a patriotic song, ‘One Britain, One Nation’ to mark ‘One Britain, One Nation’ (OBON) Day. (Guardian, 23 June 2021)

24 June: Ofsted head Amanda Spielman, speaking at a virtual Festival of Education, says that ‘militant activism’ in schools is a threat to education. Racism and anti-racism, climate change and the complicated politics of the Middle East, are cited as examples leading to the abuse of children and teachers ‘for being the wrong religion, or race or ethnicity.’ (Guardian, 24 June 2021)

27 June: The family of an 11-year-old boy take legal action against a Warwickshire primary school for racial and religious stereotyping after a teacher referred him to Prevent after mistaking the word ‘alms’ for ‘arms’ during a classroom discussion when the child expressed a desire to ‘give alms to the oppressed’. (Guardian, 27 June 2021)

29 June: Brighton and Hove City Council denies it is telling schools to teach white privilege or inherited racial guilt to children, in response to a petition against its 5-year anti-racist schools strategy entitled ‘Stop the council teaching our kids that they are racists or victims of their classmates’. (The Argus, 24 June; The Argus, 29 June 2021) 


16 June: A Dorset auction house withdraws antique Ethiopian artefacts from sale to enable their return to the country, after the Ethiopian embassy requests their return. (Guardian, 16 June 2021)

20 June: The governing body of European football, UEFA, says it has appointed an ‘ethics and disciplinary inspector’ to investigate ‘potential discriminatory incidents’ by Hungary’s fans, who raised anti-LGBTQ banners in the Euro 2020 match against Portugal, and in the game against France, displayed a banner calling on players to stop taking a knee to protest racism and racially abused French players. (Al Jazeera, 20 June 2021)

22 June: Following the publication of the education select committee report on ‘white working-class’ pupils, the Labour members of the committee who refused to endorse the report are attacked on social media, with one user replying to a Conservative committee member saying, ‘these Labour MPs are the real racists…’ (Guardian, 22 June 2021)

23 June: Following dozens of anonymous allegations of racism and claims that the Barbican is ‘institutionally racist’, the arts centre announces an independent review of the allegations. (Guardian, 23 June 2021)

25 June: A new documentary film detailing the past two decades of police violence and deaths in custody is released in cinemas in the UK. Directed by Migrant Media’s Ken Fero, Ultraviolence is a follow-up to his 2001 film, Injustice. (Guardian, 24 June 2021)

27 June: A study of Twitter messages directed at and naming the England team during the three group stage Euro 2020 matches identifies over 2,000 abusive messages, including scores of racist posts directed at England footballers. (Guardian, 27 June 2021)

27 June: In a 3-part BBC documentary ‘Do Black Lives Still Matter?’ leading grime artist and presenter Saskilla criticises record labels for benefitting from black stars while failing to invest in and retain black talent behind the scenes. (Guardian, 27 June 2021)

28 June: Freedom of information requests reveal that the Victoria and Albert museum told the government it has a ‘foundational connection’ to the history of British imperialism, and has a duty to explain the nature of its collections including items looted by British forces. (Guardian, 28 June 2021) 

29 June: A Logically investigation finds a clandestine anti-vaccine campaign, ‘Future Z’, is attempting to recruit schoolchildren and parents across the UK. Largely organised on anonymous instant messaging platform Telegram, the Future Z network has links to alt-right activists in the US and QAnon conspiracy theory groups. (Logically, 29 June 2021)

29 June: BBC journalist Rianna Croxford says she nearly quit the profession after receiving racially motivated online abuse when equalities minister Kemi Badenoch criticised her for reporting on a claim that a black doctor had been sidelined from leading a public health review into coronavirus risk factors. (inews, 29 June 2021)

29 June: Pioneering black filmmaker Menelik Shabazz, who directed the short film Blood Ah Go Run documenting the Black People’s Day of Action following the New Cross Fire of 1981, dies in Zimbabwe, aged 67. (Guardian, 29 June 2021)


13 June: In Mazarrón, Murcia, Spain, 37-year-old Moroccan Younes Bilal, who has lived in Spain for 20 years and has a Spanish wife and two adopted children, is shot dead at point-blank range by a former soldier after remonstrating with him for harassing a waitress who was ‘speaking to Muslims’. (El País, 18 June 2021)

14 June: In Dundee, two teenage girls damage a shop, attack and shout racist abuse at the shop owner and slap a member of staff across the face. Police fail to come to the scene despite being called three times by a neighbour. (Evening Telegraph, 17 June 2021) 

15 June: A delivery driver is racially abused and spat at by a man driving past him in a car, in Ibstock, Leicestershire. (Leicestershire Police, 17 June 2021) 

17 June: A new study from dating app Bumble finds that one in three people have suffered racial discrimination, unwanted fetishisation and microaggressions in online dating. (Metro, 17 June 2021) 

16 June: In the second racist attack in Murcia, Spain in four days, a woman is stabbed and beaten while waiting in line outside a food bank in Cartagena by another woman who uses the derogatory slur for a person from South America, yelling ‘Sudaca! They are stealing food from us!’ (El Pais, 18 June 2021)

19 June: In France, around 50 members of the Paris Collective of autonomous delivery riders (CLAP) assemble at the Place de la République to protest racist insults, abuse and aggression. (Ouest-France, 26 June 2021)

21 June: A 52-year-old York woman receives a 42-week suspended sentence after pleading guilty to racially abusing, punching and spitting at a Guatemalan man and kicking his dog in the face, in York in June 2020. (Yorkshire Live, 21 June 2021)  

22 June: A court in Lons-le-Saunier, France, sentences a 72-year-old man to 4 months in prison for running over his Maghrebi neighbour in Dole in April and racially abusing him. (FranceInfo, 22 June 2021)

24 June: Five people are arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences aimed at asylum seekers living Napier Barracks, Kent, after they broke into the former military camp on 7 June. One asylum seeker alleges that he was subjected to racial abuse and an attempted physical attack by one of the individuals. (Independent, 24 June 2021) 

24 June: A 43-year-old man is given a four-week prison sentence after pleading guilty to racially abusing and beating a member of staff at a supermarket in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear in January 2020. (Sunderland Echo, 28 June 2021)

26 June: A new report by academic and equality consultant Dr Karamat Iqbal reveals that a third of the UK taxi drivers surveyed, 90 percent of whom are black or Asian, experience racial abuse at least once a week, with nearly one in ten claiming they are abused daily. Only a handful of cases are reported, as 83 percent of drivers believe the abuse has become ‘normal’. (Birmingham Live, 26 June 2021) 

26 June: In Oundle, Peterborough a 32-year-old man is arrested in relation to a racially aggravated incident after reports that he was aggressive, armed with a lock knife, and making threats to kill at the town’s Marina. (Rutland & Stanford Mercury, 28 June 2021)

28 June: In Portugal, Evaristo Marinho, 77, a former soldier who fought in the colonial war in Angola, is convicted of the racially motivated murder of black actor Bruno Candé in Lisbon in July 2020 and jailed for over two decades. (Guardian, 28 June 2021)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Jess Pandian, Inês Silva, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs.

Headline image: From a demonstration held on 26 June 2021 for Stanislav Tomáš, who died after being restrained by police on 19 June in Teplice, Czech Republic. Credit: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec, Google Photos

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.