Calendar of Racism and Resistance (18 July – 1 August 2023)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (18 July – 1 August 2023)


Written by: IRR News Team

A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance.


Asylum and migrant rights 

23 July: France’s National Asylum Court rules that Russian deserters and draft dodgers can seek political asylum in France provided that they have evidence of a call-up, though fear of being forcibly conscripted to fight in the war in Ukraine is not enough to guarantee asylum. (Le Monde, 23 July 2023) 

23 July: An Afghan judge living in hiding in Pakistan wins the right to come to the UK following a two-year battle with the Home Office, in a case with implications for others told they were eligible for resettlement and then refused. (Guardian, 23 July 2023)  

23 July: It is revealed that the home secretary personally intervened to prevent Siyabonga Twala, who grew up in the UK and has a nine-year-old son here, from returning after a holiday in Turkey, where he has been stuck for six months, issuing an exclusion order based on ‘serious criminality’ for an old cannabis conviction for which he served four months.  (Guardian, 23 July 2023) 

23 July: Italian leader Giorgia Meloni hosts a 20-nation summit described as an ‘anti-migration alliance’, seeking to build on the EU’s deal with Tunisia to stop migrants coming to Europe. (Al Mayadeen, 24 July 2023)  

26 July: All potential trafficking victims with criminal convictions must be screened before being denied support, the High Court rules, reversing rules brought in six months ago which disqualify most of those with criminal convictions from support. (Guardian, 26 July 2023) 

28 July: The EU opens an investigation into the actions of the EU border agency Frontex during the Pylos boat disaster of June 2023, in which up to 600 people died off the coast of Greece. (The New Arab, 28 July 2023) 

30 July: The Lords’ Justice and Home Affairs committee warns the home secretary that the Illegal Migration Act puts police cooperation with the EU at risk, since the Act risks non-compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. (Guardian, 30 July 2023)  

Borders and internal controls 

19 July: Visa conditions are imposed on nationals of Dominica, Honduras, Namibia, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu to remove safe routes for asylum seekers from these countries, as East Timorese people living in the UK claim discrimination in the treatment of family members seeking to visit them. (i, 20 July 2023, Guardian, 25 July 2023)  

22 July: Reports emerge that asylum seekers arriving on Greek islands are disappearing, hiding and in some cases dying as they seek to avoid illegal pushback from the Greek authorities. (Middle East Eye, 22 July 2023) 

28 July: The Lithuanian deputy interior minister says that Lithuania and Poland are considering closing their borders with Belarus, amid concerns that members of the Wagner mercenary group could disguise themselves as asylum seekers to cross into EU member states or stage provocations involving refugees. (Guardian, 28 July 2023) 

Reception and detention 

18 July: The European Court of Human Rights condemns Belgium for its failure to accommodate a Guinean asylum seeker for over two months in breach of a ruling from a domestic court, saying the case revealed a systematic failure by the government to comply with court orders to house asylum seekers. (ECRE, 20 July 2023)  

19 July: Port operators and local authorities in Liverpool and Edinburgh reportedly refuse docking facilities for barges to accommodate asylum seekers. (Independent, 19 July 2023)    

19 July: Conditions in an East Devon hotel, Hamptons by Hilton at Exeter airport, are condemned by local councillors who report inadequate and inappropriate food for asylum seekers, leading to malnourishment and medical concerns, and children as young as 4 being left to get the bus to school alone. (Devon Live, 19 July 2023) 

21 July: The Home Office acted unlawfully in denying asylum seekers lodged in hotels a £3 per week cash allowance, the High Court rules, adding that the long delays in processing requests for payments make the asylum support system unlawful. (Independent, 24 July 2023)  

23 July: An Observer investigation reveals that hundreds of millions of pounds from the international aid budget is used to pay VAT on asylum hotel bills, money which returns to the Treasury. (Observer, 23 July 2023) 

24 July: Following protests against asylum seekers, including an attack on a proposed asylum reception building and on an independent councillor’s home, Dún Laoghaire unions hold a solidarity rally outside Ballybrack town hall in South Dublin, Ireland. Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and People before Profits support a larger rally planned for 29 July. (Irish Times, 23 July 2023) 

27 July: Ethical fund Future Superhas is divesting from Corporate Travel Management, the Australian company which secured a £1.6 billion contract overseeing the super-barges used by the home secretary as asylum housing, over concerns about profiting from asylum detention. (Guardian, 27 July 2023) 

27 July: The High Court rules that the routine use of hotels for unaccompanied asylum seeking children is unlawful and that such children should be placed there only in ‘true emergencies’ and for short periods. (i, 27 July 2023)   

28 July: Local councillors express concern over the Home Office’ use of former offices in Chelmsford to house 300 vulnerable asylum seekers, saying they were not consulted over the plans. (Essex Live, 28 July 2023) 

28 July: Stradey Park Hotel in Furnace, Carmarthenshire, secures a temporary High Court injunction against protesters, including members of the far Right, who have gathered outside the hotel in recent weeks in opposition to a plan to house up to 241 asylum seekers there. (BBC News, 28 July 2023) 

31 July: Last-minute safety checks delay the arrival of the first 50 men onto the Bibby Stockholm at Portland, amid fears that the barge could become a ‘floating Grenfell’. (Guardian, 31 July 2023) 

Crimes of solidarity 

 18 July: A Reclaim the Sea protester is arrested outside the Home Office for holding a placard saying ‘No floating prisons’. (Novara Media, 19 July 2023) 


As anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI rhetoric in electoral campaigning are increasingly interlinked, we reflect this in the coverage below which also includes information on the influence of the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally. 

19 July: Participants at an international women’s rights conference in Rwanda are shocked by the platforming of Hungarian president Katalin Novák, known for her opposition to the ‘gender movement’, abortion and same-sex marriage. (Guardian, 19 July 2023) 

19 July: Susan Hall, a Trump-supporting hard-Brexiter who has spoken out against sportspeople taking the knee over racism, is selected as the Conservatives’ candidate for London mayor. (Byline Times, 19 July 2023) 

20 July: Following pressure from senior Tory MPs after Coutts Bank closes former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s account, ministers suggest new legislation that would stop banks closing customers’ accounts because of their political views. The head of NatWest Bank, which owns Coutts, is forced to resign for revealing information to a journalist concerning the reason for closing Farage’s account. (Guardian, 20 July 2023)  

23 July: The Spanish general election result is not the predicted clear win for the Right, with the Conservative People’s Party winning just 136 seats compared with the Spanish Socialist Workers Party’s 122. The far-right Vox party has 33 seats – down from 52 at the last election. (Guardian, 23 July 2023)   

23 July: In a radio interview, Christian Democrat leader Friedrich Merz says he is willing to cooperate at a local level with the far-right AfD, triggering concerns about the erosion of the firewall between Conservatives and the far Right in Germany. (Guardian, 23 July 2023)   

24 July: A survey of the implementation of recommendations in Swaran Singh’s 2021 independent review of Islamophobia in the Conservative party blames turmoil in the party for its failure to adequately tackle the issue. (Guardian, 24 July 2023)  

27 July: In Greece, jailed Golden Dawn politician Ilias Kasidiaris announces his candidacy for mayor of Athens in the October municipal elections, pledging to preserve its Greek Christian identity and combat the risk of the Greek population being replaced. (Balkans Insight, 27 July 2023) 

28 July: The Polish parliament passes the controversial ‘Russian influence’ law, which critics say could be used to target the opposition. (Euronews, 28 July 2023) 

30 July: Finland’s new far-right economics affairs minister Wille Ryndman is immediately embroiled in controversy after racist messages he sent to a former girlfriend are published, including one in which he suggested Somalis spread like weeds and others that described  people from the Middle East as ‘desert monkeys’. (Euronews, 30 July 2023) 

31 July: RomanoNet writes to the president of the Czech Senate urging action against recent offensive and discriminatory speech by politicians accusing most Romani people of not working and living on welfare. (Romea, 31 July 2023) 

31 July: The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service says that AfD’s annual conference in Magdeburg shows that the far-right party is now influenced by racist conspiracy theories around the ‘Great Replacement’. (Deutsche Welle, 31 July 2023) 


With anti-migrant, anti-Muslim, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally. 

25 July: Alex Yerbury, self-styled leader of far-right group National Support Detachment, says the group will camp out at RAF Scampton from 11 August to disrupt the arrival of asylum seekers there, planned for mid-August. (The Lincolnite, 25 July 2023)  

29 July: In Vienna, Austria, far-right demonstrators backed by the Identitarian movement and some members of the Freedom party (FPÖ) march to demand a political solution to ‘the Great Replacement’ based on ‘remigration’. An anti-fascist counter-protest is held. (Deutsche Welle, 29 July 2023) 

31 July: A number of protesters who forced the closure of Cork City Library as part of ongoing protests against LGBTQ material in Irish libraries have been linked to far-right groups in Britain. (Irish Examiner, 31 July 2023) 


24 July: In his first televised interview since the police killing of Nahel Merzouk in June, French president Macron calls for order, suggesting that poor parenting and social media rather than police racism were the cause of young people taking to the streets in huge numbers. (Guardian, 24 July 2023)  

24 July: French police officers respond angrily, some taking sick leave and others responding to emergency calls only, after the arrest of a police officer in Marseille for beating and seriously injuring Hedi, aged 21, during the ‘riots’. Frédéric Veaux, director-general of the National Police, says ‘knowing that he is in prison is stopping me from sleeping’. Four police officers in total are charged. (Le Monde, 24 July 2023) 

24 July: A Humberside police disciplinary hearing finds a former special constable guilty of gross misconduct in relation to comments of a ‘racist and discriminatory nature’ made when he was driving with passengers. (Yorkshire Post, 24 July 2023) 

25 July: The IOPC investigates Metropolitan Police officers for racial profiling and verbal abuse after a video shared on social media showed a black mother in Croydon being handcuffed and arrested on suspicion of fare evasion in front of her distressed child. She had in fact paid her fare. (Guardian, 24 July 2023; IOPC, 25 July 2023) 

26 July: An investigation by Open Democracy reports that former police officers and staff make up 18% of the IOPC, with most of the nearly 200 ex-police employees concentrated in the operations team that handles investigations into alleged police misconduct. (Open Democracy, 26 July 2023) 

27 July: Manchester mayor Andy Burnham asks the victims commissioner to look into claims that women were mistreated in police custody after Zayna Iman says she was stripped and sexually assaulted by Greater Manchester police and other women come forward. (Sky News, 27 July 2023)  

27 July: Abdel-Majed Abdel Barry, a former rapper who was stripped of his British citizenship over links to Islamic State and was on trial in Madrid, dies in prison custody in Spain, with the cause of his death unconfirmed. (Guardian, 27 July 2023) 

27 July: Seven years after the death of Adama Traoré in Beaumont-sur-Oise, France, the Paris prosecutor’s office requests closure of the investigation of the gendarmes on the ground of no evidence of ‘intentional violence resulting in unintentional death’. The family say they will appeal. (Le Monde, 27 July 2023) 

Black Lives Matter graffiti in Paris, with the names of Adama Traoré and George Floyd.
Black Lives Matter graffiti in Paris, June 2020, commemorating Adama Traoré and George Floyd. Credit: Langladure, Wikimedia Commons.

27 July: Ridley Road Shopping Village traders in Hackney, east London, protest ‘disrespectful and traumatising’ police behaviour after at least 50 officers carry out a raid, handcuffing and searching all traders and customers over a period of four hours, leading to six arrests. Traders say money, phones and laptops were confiscated by police. (London World, 27 July 2023) 

28 July: IOPC data for 2022-3 show 23 deaths in England and Wales in or following police custody, the highest number of deaths in five years. 19 victims were white, two black, one of mixed ethnicity, and one Asian. (Inquest, 28 July 2023; Guardian 28 July 2023)  

28 July: A coroner concludes that serious operational and systemic failings contributed to the death of full-term baby, Aisha Clearly, whose mother, an 18-year-old Black care leaver, was left alone to give birth with no medical assistance in a prison cell at HMP Bronzefield in September 2019. Camden Social Services are criticised. (Inquest, 28 July 2023) 


31 July: The Dutch organisation Controle Alt Delete publishes an online database of deaths related to law enforcement, revealing that 102 people have died since 2016, with only three prosecutions against law enforcement officers. (Controle Alt Delete, 31 July 2023) 


24 July: ‘Islamist preacher’ Anjem Choudary appears in court charged with three terror offences relating to the organisation al-Muhajiroun, banned in 2010, which he is accused of directing, funding and supporting. (Guardian, 24 July 2023) 

26 July: The Foreign Affairs Select Committee condemns the government’s lack of understanding of the power of the Wagner network in Africa and subsequent lack of control or sanctions over its use of the City of London as a financial centre. (Guardian, 26 July 2023) 


1 August: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation condemns recent Qur’an burnings in Sweden and Denmark and urges the UN to appoint a special rapporteur on combating Islamophobia, also calling on all governments to fully implement existing laws or adopt new legislation in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Guardian, 1 August 2023) 


20 July: Sir Martyn Oliver, previously a member of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and renowned for his high pupil suspension rate in an academy trust, is nominated as Ofsted’s next chief inspector of schools, children’s services and prison education. (Guardian, 20 July 2023)   

23 July: The University of Chichester is criticised for proposing to close a course on the history of Africa and its diaspora run by the UK’s first professor of history of African heritage. (Guardian, 23 July 2023)   


23 July: Staff working for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets claim that inexperienced recruits are being encouraged to dissuade residents from seeking housing help from the council. Despite the legal six-week limit, homeless families are placed in hotels for 6 months as the service nears ‘collapse’. (Guardian, 23 July 2023)   

25 July: With 79,840 households facing homelessness and a record 105,510 being held in temporary accommodation in England between January and March 2023, charities urge the government to ban no-fault evictions and accelerate housebuilding. (Inside Housing, 25 July 2023; Guardian, 25 July 2023)

30 July: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns that Britain is entering a dangerous new phase in the cost of living crisis with 2.3 million low-income families borrowing to pay basic bills and nearly 6 million low-income families living with unsecured debt. (Observer, 30 July 2023) 


30 July: The government’s migration adviser, Professor Brian Bell, accuses ministers of allowing the social care system to become heavily reliant on low-paid migrant workers paid less than supermarket shelf-stackers, instead of raising wages in the sector. (Guardian, 30 July 2023) 


While we cannot cover all incidents of racist abuse on sportspersons or their responses, we provide a summary of the most important incidents. For more information follow Kick it Out. 

21 July: A senior Garda in Ireland says false information spread on social media is fuelling anti-immigration protests, which have risen to over 300 in the Dublin Metropolitan region in the first six months of this year, double the number in the same period last year. (Irish Times, 21 July 2023)  

27 July: Following the death of Irish musician Sinead O’Connor, who converted to Islam in 2018, media outlets are accused of erasing her Muslim identity in obituaries. (Al Jazeera, 27 July 2023) 

28 July: Yorkshire Cricket Club is fined £400,000 and given a 48-point reduction after admitting to four charges, including the failure to address the “systemic use of racist or discriminatory language” between 2004 and 2021. £300,000 of the fine remains suspended for two years unless Yorkshire are found guilty of further charges, with the Cricket Discipline Commission stating that Yorkshire have already been significantly punished financially. (Guardian28 July 2023)

The calendar was compiled by Sophie Chauhan with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordishand Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration, far Right, racial violence, employment and policing issues are an invaluable source of information. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance. 

SOAS detainee support (SDS) demonstrate outside the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres. Credit: SOAS Detainee Support (SDS).

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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