Calendar of Racism and Resistance (19 November – 2 December 2020)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (19 November – 2 December 2020)


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

19 November: The UNHCR urges the UK to restart its refugee resettlement programme, warning that fewer than a quarter of the 63,726 refugees resettled globally in 2019 have been resettled this year. (Guardian, 19 November 2020) 

24 November: In the Netherlands, new justice ministry statistics show that, in the year since the discretionary power to grant residency status was moved from the minister to the immigration service, in the context of concerns about child refugees, fewer than five asylum seekers have benefitedThe previous figure was 100. (Dutch News, 24 November 2020)  

25 November: A new policy on the grant of humanitarian protection announced by Malta’s parliamentary secretariat for citizenship and communities will lead to more people remaining undocumented, marginalised and unable to access basic rights, say 25 NGOs. (Times of Malta, 25 November 2020) 

Borders and internal controls

25 November: The European Parliament votes to make development aid conditional on compliance with EU migration management policies. (Statewatch, 27 November 2020) 

25 November: The Institute of Race Relations launches Deadly Crossings and the militarisation of Britain’s borders, published with the Permanent Peoples Tribunal London group and French migrant support group GISTI, which documents 296 border-related deaths since 1999. (Middle East Monitor, 27 November 2020)

28 November: Britain and France sign an agreement to double the number of police patrolling the French coast to stop migrant boats leaving. (Guardian, 28 November 2020)  

28 November: An internal letter from Frontex boss Fabrice Leggeri to the EU Commission reveals that, contrary to the findings of its own internal investigation, the agency was involved in at least one illegal pushback of a migrant boat by the Greek coastguard to Turkish waters. (Der Spiegel, 28 November 2020) 

30 November: The Home Office is accused of a ‘truth-twisting smear’ to justify treating those steering Channel-crossing small boats as ‘people smugglers’ by selectively quoting a judge who said the opposite. (Independent, 30 November 2020)  

1 December: Rights groups including Amnesty International react with anger as Palantir, a data analytics company criticised for its involvement in human rights violations of asylum seekers and child migrants in the US, is contracted to provide software for a ‘border operations centre to ‘ease post-Brexit chaos’. (Guardian, 1 December 2020)  

Reception and detention

18 November: An asylum seeker at Napier barracks, Folkestone, attempts to take his own life, due to ‘the psychological pressure in here, and the delay in conducting asylum interviews’, according to another resident. (Independent, 20 November 2020)   

18 November:  Following critical judgments in the European Court of Human Rights, the Greek migration minister announces the abolition of the policy of holding unaccompanied children and minors in protective police custody. (Ekathimerini, 18 November 2020)  

19 November: Following the arrest of a Moroccan man in IlidzaBosnia, after the fatal stabbing of a Bosnian man, several hundred protestors demonstrate, demanding that migrants and refugees are moved from the streets and into camps. (Al Jazeera, 19 November 2020) 

20 November: In Toulouse, France, an 18-year-old mother from Croatia is separated from her 20-day-old child and detained for 4 days before being released and ordered to leave French territory. (20 Minutes, 20 November 2020)  

23 November: The Home Office is accused of covering up ‘disturbing conditions’ at Napier barracks as it emerges that volunteers assisting asylum seekers are required to sign confidentiality agreements underpinned by the Official Secrets Act. (Guardian, 23 November 2020)  

28 November: In Italy23-year-old Chaka Outtara, an asylum seeker, commits suicide after months of solitary confinement in prison following his arrest for protesting insanitary conditions exposing residents to Covid at the Caserma Serena reception centre. (Are You Syrious, 30 November 2020)  

30 November: The Spanish government dismantles the Arguineguín camp in Gran Canaria and moves people to a new camp in a former military base and to tourist hotels, days after a court ruled that the camp facilities were ‘deplorable’ but that central government was not ‘criminally responsible’ for subhuman conditions. (El Pais, 25 November; Guardian, 30 November 2020) 

Criminalisation of solidarity

20 November: Two anti-raids activists are acquitted of obstructing immigration officers conducting a raid, after a court is told how immigration officials use coercive tactics to enter homes and small ethnic-minority-owned businesses without search warrants. (Guardian, 25 November 2020) 

24 November: The Court of Appeal hears the appeal of the Stansted 15 anti-deportation activists, convicted two years ago under counter-terrorism laws for stopping a deportation flight. (BBC News, 24 November 2020)


18 November: Novara Media reveals that the Home Office has chartered more deportation flights to EU countries this year under the Dublin regulation than in the past three years combined, marking an attempt to remove as many asylum seekers as possible before Brexit. (Novara Media, 18 November 2020)  

20 NovemberSpain’s constitutional court upholds the controversial Public Safety Law, giving the green light for a process of ‘express deportation’, whereby most migrants who try to enter Spanish territory through Morocco, at Ceuta and Melilla, are immediately removed. (El Pais, 20 November 2020) 

20 November: The French national asylum court introduces new case law that sees protections removed from Afghan asylum seekers and paves the way for more deportations. (Mediapart, 20 November 2020)  

22 November: The Spanish foreign minister visits Senegal to agree new measures, including an increased Spanish police presence to curb ‘illegal migration’ and the resumption of deportations of Senegalese arriving in the Canary Islands, halted during the pandemic. (El Pais, 22 November; Reuters, 22 November 2020)  

24 November: The European Court of Human Rights rules that in deporting Charles Unuane, a Nigerian man who has lived in the UK since 1998 and has British children, the UK breached his and his partner and children’s rights to family life. (Guardian, 24 November 2020)  

29 November: After widespread anger at the Home Office decision to resume deportation charter flights to Jamaica, including a campaign by 82 public figures, the Home Office accedes to a request by the Jamaican government not to deport those who came to the UK as under-12s. (Guardian, 29 November 2020)  


22 November: Ken Morgan, a Windrush victim who lived and worked in the UK for 30 years but was blocked from returning in 1994 after travelling to Jamaica for a funeral, is denied British citizenship due to his length of absence from the UK. (Guardian, 23 November 2020)  

23 November: The hearing begins at the supreme court of the Home Office appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling that Shamima Begum, 21, who left the UK at 15 to join Isis in Syria, must be allowed to return to the UK to appeal against the Home Office’ revocation of her British citizenship. (Guardian, 23 November 2020) 


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

17 November: An Eritrean man remains in a critical condition in hospital in Franceafter being hit in the face by a rubber bullet on 11 November when CRS officers broke up a migrants’ camp in Calais. (Streetpress, 18 November 2020)  

18 November: Probationary PC Dean Lawrence is barred from policing for making a racist comment to a Merseyside police colleague after performing his first stop in August. (Merseyside Police, 18 November 2020) 

19 November: Days after the Criminal Bar Association chair warned that cuts and Covid have left the criminal justice system ‘on its knees’, with a huge backlog of cases, suspects held beyond legal limits and justice delayed for victims, the Lord Chief Justice overrules a judge who freed a teenager held for nearly a year pending trial. (Guardian, 19 November; Guardian, 27 November 2020)  

21 November: In France, thousands of people demonstrate in several cities against Article 24 of a Security Bill which would criminalise sharing an image of a police officer’s face ‘with the aim of harming their physical or psychological integrity’. (Al Jazeera, 21 November 2020) 

Tens of Thousands of protesters gathered at demonstrations across France to protest a new bill that would ban police images and increase surveillance Photo source: Flickr. Author: Jeanne Menjoulet.

23 November: In Mons, Belgium, the trial opens of a police officer accused of the involuntary manslaughter of a 2-year-old Iraqi Kurdish girl, Mawda Shawriin May 2018, by firing at a van filled with 30 migrants during a high-speed chase. The van’s driver and another man are also on trial, for migrant smuggling. (National News, 23 November 2020) 

23 November: The French interior minister admits that images of police breaking up an ad-hoc migrant camp for those made homeless by recent clearances in central Paris, chasing people down streets and attacking journalists and others with truncheons and tear gas, are ‘shocking’. The deputy Paris mayor for housing condemns the police operation. (Guardian, 24 November 2020) 

24 November: In North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, police search several apartments as nine police officers are placed under investigation for participation in right-wing extremist chat groups. (Deutsche Welle, 24 November 2020) 

24 November: Eight Metropolitan police officers, seven from the controversial Territorial Support Group (TSG), are investigated after a black student claims she was repeatedly punched while on the floor, strip-searched and assaulted again during an arrest in May. (Guardian, 24 November 2020) 

26 November: In Paris, Franceas the president demands tough action, four police officers are suspended after being filmed beating and racially abusing black music producer Michel Zecler at his Paris studio, where they smashed a window and threw a teargas canister inside, then forced everyone out at gunpoint. (BBC News; Guardian, 26 November 2020) 

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29 November: The family of Edson Da Costa, who died after being sprayed in the face with CS gas in 2017, learns that the officer responsible – the only officer to face misconduct proceedings over a black death in custody – resigned from the force before the hearing. (Observer, 29 November 2020)  

29 November: In France, three of the four police officers suspended over the beating of Michel Zecler are indicted for wilful violence in office, while the fourth is charged with forgery. (Euronews; The Local29 November 2020)   

29 NovemberAward-winning Syrian-born photojournalist Ameer Alhalbi is struck with a police baton and suffers a broken nose in Paris while covering Francewide protests against brutality and Article 24, involving hundreds of thousands of people. (Guardian, 29 November; Al Jazeera, 29 November 2020)   

30 November: Following the huge protests across France the government agrees to redraft Article 24 of the Security Bill. (BBC News, 30 November 2020) 


26 November: In France, three more schoolboys, 13 and 14, are charged with complicity in teacher Samuel Paty’s murder by pointing the victim out to his killer, while the teenage daughter of a man who had denounced the teacher is charged with ‘slanderous denunciation’ for relating her version of Paty’s comments. (Guardian, 26 November 2020) 


19 November: In Francepresident Macron gives the French Council of the Muslim Faith fifteen days to work with the interior ministry to agree ‘a charter of republican values’, also announcing new legislation to prevent radicalisation including extending the identification number system for children to ensure they are attending school. (BBC News, 19 November 2020) 

19 November: The Conservative Party says it will take no action against MP Michael Fabricant for a now-deleted tweet, responding to a Muslim Council of Britain post, saying that allegations of Islamophobia harm ‘Anglo-Muslim relations’ and that to compare Islamophobia in the Conservatives with antisemitism in Labour waspiteful. (Guardian, 19 November 2020) 

20 November: The Conservative Party is accused of racially profiling up to 10 million voters following a report by the Information Commissioner’s Office alleging that, before the 2019 general election, the party purchased data sets that guessed a person’s country of origin, race and religion based on their name. (Open Democracy, 20 November 2020) 

25 November: In France, the Council of State confirms the dissolution of the Muslim charity BarakaCity and the closure of the Pantin Mosque in Paris for ‘ideas advocating radical Islam’ and the ‘dissemination of hateful, discriminatory and violent ideas’. Lawyers for BarakaCity are challenging the decision. (Le Monde, 25 November 2020)  

26 November: The chair of the Council of Ethnic Minorities in Denmark says foreign affairs and Integration minister Mattias Tesfaye should stop treating Muslim women as if they have no agency, after Tesfaye said they feared beatings by families expecting them to be virgins on marriageand religious leaders should uphold their ‘right’ to pre-marital sex. (Al Jazeera, 26 November 2020)    

27 November: The Collective Against Islamophobia in France says the government’s order for its dissolution is meaningless as it no longer exists as a structure in France, having transferred its activities abroad in October in order to continue its work on a European level with partner organisations. (CCIF, final statement, 27 November 2020)  

1 December: Muslim groups urge Labour leader Keir Starmer to return donations to the party by property developer David Ahrahams, whose tweets have been condemned as ‘abhorrent and deeply Islamophobic’. (Guardian, 1 December 2020)   


22 November: The Centre for Countering Digital Hate says the Ukraine-based Azov Battalion and Misanthropic Division are still funded by sales of products through Facebook and Instagram, two years after the social media company was told about the groups’ neo-Nazi and white supremacist activity. (Observer, 22 November 2020)    

23 November: In the Netherlands, following exposure of racist and antisemitic content on internal messaging boards of the youth wing of Forum voor Democratie, Thierry Baudet stands down as its leader. (Dutch News, 23 November 2020)   

26 November: Home Office data reveals that a majority of referrals by Prevent panels for further action were for far-right extremism, 43 percent, compared with 31 percent for Islamist extremism. (Guardian, 26 November 2020) 

1 December: In Germany, more than 180 police officers raid three homes after the government bans the far-right Wolfsbrigade 44 group which seeks to abolish democracy and establish a Nazi dictatorship. (Guardian, 1 December 2020) 


21 November: Following the devastating conclusions of a 4-year inquiry into operations in Afghanistan by Australian special forces, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission calls on the UK to establish a similar inquiry into allegations of unlawful killings by its special forces there. (Guardian, 21 November 2020)

25 NovemberRights and Security International report claims that western European countries which refuse to repatriate their nationals are complicit in a ‘Guantanamo for children’‘violent, insanitary and inhumane’ camps in northeastern Syria where families of suspected IS fighters are held. (Middle Eastern Eye, 25 November 2020)    

25 November: The English Cricket Board announces new measures in response to revelations about racism and racial abuse within the sport, including an independent commission for equality in cricket. (Telegraph, 25 November 2020) 

25 November: The Equality and Human Rights Commission reports that the Home Office’s  hostile environment measures broke equalities law, but does not make a compliance order, only recommendations, evoking criticism. (Guardian, 25 November 2020) 

29 November: The Observer publishes a letter from 122 Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists and intellectuals stating that the IHRA definition of antisemitism is being used to delegitimise the Palestinian cause and debase and weaken the struggle against antisemitism. (Observer, 29 November 2020) 

30 November: Equality and Human Rights Commission board member Alasdair Henderson, the lead on its inquiry into Labour party antisemitism which focussed on social media, has ‘liked’ or retweeted posts that support discriminatory comment, according to the Guardian. The EHRC says it will investigate. (Guardian, 30 November 2020) 

1 December: Football Association executive Stacy Cartwright resigns after a move to give fellowship rights’ to an official forced to quit the FA’s ruling council last year after posting an Islamophobic message on social media. (Times, 1 December 2020)  


18 November: Large chains including McDonalds, KFC, Nandos and Wagamama have been denying their couriers access to toilets during the pandemic, workers and unions claim. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says denial of toilet facilities to workers is illegal. (Guardian, 18 November 2020) 

20 November: Unions call for key frontline workers to be given priority access to a Covid vaccine, as security guards, taxi and bus drivers, mechanics and retail workers, all with high risk of exposure, are omitted from the government list of workers needing priority vaccination. (Guardian20 November 2020)  

24 November: A report by job site Indeed reveals that almost half of UK black and mixed heritage workers have experienced workplace discrimination and feel the need to hide parts of their identity from their colleagues. (Metro, 24 November 2020)  

25 November: The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland publishes Working to the Bone, research documenting a culture of systemic discrimination across the Irish meat sector, with almost 60 per cent of the 150 interviewees from thirteen countries injured in dangerous workplace conditions. (MRCI press release, 25 November 2020) 

1 December: The CEO of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust urges staff to come forward after anonymous allegations that black staff are treated as ‘second-class’. (Health Service Journal (£), 2 December 2020) 


19 November: The government confirms the existence of a prime ministerial health and social care task force reportedly planning a ‘radical shake-up of the NHS’ and led by controversial policy adviser Munira Mirza, who has no background in health policy. (Open Democracy, 19 November 2020) 


24 November: A report by Universities UK, which represents 140 institutions across the UK, says UK universities perpetuate institutional racism, with almost a quarter of BME students experiencing racial harassment on campus and 1 in 20 leaving their course because of racism. (The Tab; Guardian24 November 2020) 

25 November: The national curriculum in England ‘systematically omits the contribution of black British history in favour of a dominant white, Eurocentric curriculum’ according to a report by The Black Curriculum. (Guardian, 25 November 2020) 

28 November: Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman warns Pupil Referral Units and other alternative providers for children excluded from mainstream schools to improve their attendance rates, saying persistently high absenteeism rates leaves children vulnerable to drug gangs. (Guardian, 28 November 2020) 

December: The University of Leiden in the Netherlands opens an investigation into antisemitism in the law faculty, as evidence accumulates that the far-right Forum voor Democratie has strong ties to the department. (Dutch News, 1 December 2020) 


See also Anti-fascism and Far Right

24 November: The BBC issues an apology after broadcasting a show on BBC Radio London in which a caller issued a barrage of racist and homophobic abuse. (Independent, 24 November 2020)  

24 November: Open Democracy reveals the existence of an ‘Orwellian’ Cabinet Office unit which vets freedom of information requests, obstructs the release of sensitive information and allegedly collects personal information on journalists. (Open Democracy, 24 November; Guardian, 24 November 2020) 

26 November: After actor and right-wing activist Laurence Fox tweeted a screenshot of the BBC’s LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte’s twitter profile with the hashtag #DefundTheBBC, a campaign Fox supports, Hunte reports that he and his family have received racist and homophobic abuse. (Guardian, 26 November 2020) 

30 November: The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and others criticise Charity Commission head Tina Stowell for writing in the Mail on Sunday warning charities against getting drawn into ‘culture wars’ and taking sides on controversial issues such as ‘how best to tell the story of British history’. (Guardian, 30 November 2020) 


17 November: A 63-year-old man is found guilty in Glasgow of racially abusing SNP justice secretary Humza Yousaf on Twitter in November 2015, following the Paris terror attack. The tweets were aggravated by religious prejudice, the court finds. (STV News, 17 November 2020)  

18 November:  A 30-year-old man is given a criminal behaviour order in Stockport, banning him from using any Metrolink services or attending any football games, following his arrest for a racially aggravated offence on a Metrolink service in December 2019. (Bolton News, 18 November 2020) 

19 November: 31-year-old Chris Conroy, former head of the English Defence League in Newark, receives a suspended prison sentence in Nottingham after admitting racially aggravated threatening behaviour to a police officer – his third racially aggravated offence since 2016. (Newark Advertiser, 19 November 2020) 

20 November: Police appeal for information on a woman who racially abused and physically assaulted a woman in her 20s in a supermarket in Tottenham, London, in August 2020, causing minor injuries. (This is Local London, 20 November 2020)  

21 November: Police appeal for information on a group of youths who threw a stone at a house window, in a racially aggravated attack in Lurgan, County Armagh. (Belfast News Letter, 22 November 2020)  

24 November: Police investigate a reported incident of racial abuse by a supermarket delivery driver toward a 27-year-old black woman in Lynn, Norfolk, in September 2020, which the supermarket denies. (Lynn News, 24 November 2020) 

24 November: Northumbria Police release CCTV images of a man in an appeal for information on a racially aggravated assault oa female shop worker in North Shields, in September 2020. (Chronicle Live, 24 November 2020).  

25 November: Police in Telford launch an investigation after a video circulates on social media showing a schoolboy, who is reportedly Sikh, being attacked by two other boys. (Independent, 25 November 2020) 

25 November: A 31-year-old man pleads guilty to racially abusing a police officer in Sandown, Isle of Wight, in September. (Isle of Wight County Press, 25 November 2020)  

25 November: Police appeal for information on a man, described as in his mid-40s, who racially abused a 56-year-old shopkeeper in Johnstone, Renfrewshire on 22 November. (The Gazette, 25 November 2020)  

26 November: Humberside Police appeal for information on a man who racially abused a mum, as she was travelling with her young son on a bus in Hull. (Hull Live, 26 November 2020)  

27 November: A 35-year-old woman faces charges of racially aggravated common assault and damaging property in an Aldi supermarket in Stevenage on 25 November. (The Comet, 27 November 2020)    

28 NovemberA 30-year-old man is fined after he racially abused an individual in a pub in Yarm, North Yorkshire, in December 2019. (The Northern Echo, 28 November 2020).    

28 November: North Yorkshire police’s race hate crime coordinator claims many victims of racist or religious hate crime do not report it to police as ‘they are used to it’. The force recorded 575 hate crimes in the past financial year, but charged only 43 people, while West Yorkshire police prosecuted 566 hate crimes. (Yorkshire Post, 28 November 2020)     

29 NovemberA 52-year-old man is ordered to pay compensation to the victim after pleading guilty to racially abusing and threatening a man at Gloucester bus station in September. (Stroud News & Journal, 29 November 2020) 

30 NovemberA 33-year-old man is fined and sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment after he admits to racist abuse and threatening a police officer at a home in Bickershaw, Wigan. (Wigan Today, 30 November 2020)  

1 December: A 27-year-old man is given a community order after admitting racially abusing and threatening a family of shopkeepers at their store in Sunderland on several occasions this year. He is given a curfew and a 2-year restraining order to stay away from the family and their premises. (Sunderland Echo, 1 December 2020)   

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Graeme Atkinson, Kaiisha Kukendra, Neal Tank 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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