Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 December 2022 – 3 January 2023)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 December 2022 – 3 January 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

22 December: After 900 collectives and NGOs in Spain campaign for a Popular Legislative Initiative to legalise hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, 700,000 people sign a petition which is handed in to parliament. (Euronews, 22 December 2022)

22 December: The European Court of Justice rules that Denmark violated a 1980 association agreement between the EEC and Turkey, acting unlawfully by introducing a language test for a Turkish worker in order for his wife to get a residence permit. (Euronews, 22 December 2022) 

26 December: The Home Office proposes to reduce the number of foreign students and their dependants entering the UK, to increase the minimum income requirements for students to bring dependants from their current level of £680 a month (outside London; £845 in London); and to increase minimum income requirements for certain work visas and for family reunion visas. (Times, 26 December 2022)

29 December: The Dutch Council of State rejects a cabinet request to suspend a number of court decisions in which judges ruled that the government’s ban on refugee family reunion (justified on the grounds of easing pressure on social housing) contravenes human rights laws. (Dutch News, 29 December 2022)

1 January: Hopes of a resolution of the EU’s deadlock on sharing responsibility for refugees recede as Sweden, whose centre-right government is for the first time supported by the far-right Sweden Democrats in exchange for shaping policy, assumes the presidency of the bloc. (Guardian, 30 December 2022)

Borders and internal controls

21 December: A judge at Canterbury Crown Court rules that under the Nationality and Borders Act, asylum seekers piloting boats to the UK can be convicted of arriving without entry clearance. Lawyers for the four Sudanese defendants are appealing the ruling. (Independent, 21 December 2022)

23 December: The inquest into the four deaths in the Channel on 14 December opens and is adjourned pending a criminal investigation. The coroner hears that the four unidentified men who died are thought to be Afghan and Senegalese. (Guardian, 23 December 2022)

23 December: In Spain, a prosecutor dismisses a criminal case brought against border agents for their handling of events in June which led to the deaths of at least 23 people attempting to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco. (Al Jazeera, 23 December 2022)

24 December: Leaked documents and emails reveal that military personnel covering for striking Border Force officials have no power to detain suspected offenders including people traffickers at the border. (Guardian, 24 December 2022)

29 December: In Italy, transport minister Matteo Salvini approves a new code of conduct for migrant rescue NGOs mandating the technical suitability of ships, transit and rescue in Italian territorial waters only for fast rescues, with fines of up to €50,000 and impounding or seizure of boats for those that break the rules. (ANSA, 29 December 2022)

Reception and detention

21 December: Home secretary Suella Braverman tells a Lords committee that civil servants’ low productivity is to blame for the asylum backlog which will cost £3.5 billion in asylum accommodation costs in 2022-23. (Guardian, 21 December 2022)

23 December: Suella Braverman is ordered to increase the level of asylum support by 10 percent immediately, after failing to implement an earlier court order. (Morning Star, 23 December 2022)

Crimes of solidarity

23 December: The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders condemns the judicial harassment in Greece of Greek Helsinki Monitor activist Panayote Dimitras and Aegean Boat Report founder Tommy Olsen, who are both under investigation for aiding illegal entry. (FIDH, press release, 23 December 2022)


21 December: It is revealed that children of British same-sex couples born abroad are being left stateless as the Home Office refuses to grant citizenship to them. (Guardian, 21 December 2022)


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.

20 December: The Met police announce an investigation into alleged racial abuse by Conservative MP Bob Stewart, who told a human rights activist to ‘go back to Bahrain’. (Guardian, 20 December 2022)

21 December: As the Czech government appoints its first ever Commissioner for Romani Minority Affairs, Romani organisations criticise the failure to consult on the statute for the new appointment as well as the appointment process. (Romea, 21 December 2022)

21 December: An analysis of a new report by the German Conference of interior ministers on ‘prevention and intervention against Israel-related antisemitism’ warns that if its recommendations are accepted it will lead to further crackdowns on pro-Palestine solidarity and criminalisation of speech and activism around BDS. (+972mag, 21 December 2022)

22 December: It is revealed that former home secretary Priti Patel’s Christmas card sent to staff and journalists features the Rwanda deportation deal at the top of a Christmas tree, as her ‘crowning achievement’ of the year. (Morning Star, 22 December 2022)

29 December: In Germany, prominent Die Linke politician Sahra Wagenknecht is criticised for appearing on the front page of the far-right magazine Compact, alongside the cover line ‘The best chancellor – a candidate for the left and the right’. (Guardian, 29 December 2022)

2 January: Former German health minister Jens Spahn calls for a rethink of immigration policy, as New Year celebrations in big cities see 38 attacks on firefighters, police and emergency services. The head of the German Police Union (DPoIG) Rainer Wendt claims that the ‘prevailing impression among the emergency services staff’ was that young men from ‘immigrant backgrounds’ were disproportionately involved. (Deutsche Welle, 2 January 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.

21 December: In Portugal, the public prosecutor gives the go-ahead for neo-nazi Mario Machado to bring a defamation case against anti-racist black activist Mamadou Ba, who Machado accuses of ‘injuring his honour’ on a social media post. (Al Jazeera, 21 December 2022)

22 December: In response to a parliamentary question, the interior ministry reveals that 675 people from the far-right spectrum in Germany are wanted on open arrest warrants. (TRT World, 22 December 2022)

30 December: A court in Finland finds four neo-nazis from ‘Towards Freedom’ guilty of membership of a proscribed organisation as it is a continuation of the banned Nordic Resistance Movement. Another neo-nazi is convicted of aggravated damage to Turku Synagogue in January 2020. (YLE, 30 December 2022)


20 December: After previously denying wrongdoing, the Met pays damages in an out-of-court settlement to Tariq Stanley, subjected to a drugs stop and search outside his home in Woolwich, south-east London in April 2020 and then strip-searched and detained at the police station. (Guardian, 20 December 2022)

22 December: Following an investigation by the IOPC, a male Met police officer is issued a final warning for gross misconduct over the ‘degrading’ strip search of a black woman at Lewisham police station in May 2022.  A second police officer is cleared of using excessive force. (Independent, 21 December 2022)

27 December: Home Office figures show the number of incidents in which West Midlands Police used force rose by 67 per cent to 18,661 in the year to March, from 11,187 in 2019-2020. Staffordshire police report a one per cent rise in the same period. (Express & Star, 27 December 2022)

3 January: A 22-year-old woman from Barrow-in Furness is found guilty of perverting the course of justice for ‘malevolently’ fabricating allegations of being trafficked by an Asian grooming gang, who beat and raped her, ruining the lives of those she falsely accused and crowdfunding £22,000 in donations. (Guardian, 3 January 2023) 


29 December: As No 10 refuses to say if William Shawcross’ review of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy will be redacted, Whitehall sources claim its publication has been delayed by a row between Michael Gove and the Home Office over whether to redact the details of ‘Islamist extremist organisations and individuals’. (Guardian, 29 December 2022; Independent, 29 December 2022)

2 January: The independent reviewer on terrorism legislation recommends that new legal terrorist orders specifically for children, compelling them to accept help or face jail, should be brought in to tackle the growing numbers of children arrested for sharing propaganda or downloading material. (Guardian, 2 January 2023; BBC News, 3 January 2023))


22 December: An unnamed local authority refuses to house a mother and her four children as homeless, saying the family is not homeless as it has accommodation in Libya, a country acknowledged as unsafe and beset by conflict for over a decade. (Byline Times, 23 December 2022)

28 December: The Office for National Statistics finds that BME people are 2.5 times more likely to be in relative poverty, and 2.2 times more likely to live in deep poverty, with black households five times more likely to struggle paying energy bills. (Guardian, 28 December 2022)


20 December: Greater Manchester police say four Vietnamese men whose remains were discovered ten weeks after a fire destroyed a derelict mill in Oldham were likely to have been victims of modern slavery working in an illegal cannabis factory at the mill. (Guardian, 20 December 2022) 

26 December: Research by Nottingham Trent University finds that over 90 percent of car washes are likely to be employing workers illegally, without right-to-work checks, proper pay, records or safety measures, with instances of modern slavery and human trafficking. (Guardian, 26 December 2022)


See also anti-fascism and far Right for World Cup-related far-right violence. 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.

23 December: Reporters Without Borders urges Spain to counter intimidation against media outlets and journalists through Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), citing a recent case brought by  far-right Vox party’s Francisco Serrana against InfoLibre and journalist Ángel Munárriz for his reporting on a possible public subsidy fraud. (RSF, 23 December 2022)

28 December: A group of academics, History Reclaimed, accuses the BBC of ‘rewriting British history’ to promote a ‘woke’ agenda in documentaries about slavery and colonialism. (Telegraph, 28 December 2022) 

29 December: In France, the rector of Paris’s Grand Mosque files a complaint under anti-discrimination laws against author Michel Houellebecq, who in a recent interview, distinguished between ‘native French people’ and ‘the Muslims’ responsible for ‘robbing and assaulting them’. (RFI, 29 December 2022)

Michel Houellebecq at a conference
Michel Houellebecq. Credit: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación, Flickr.

29 December: South Yorkshire Police launch a hate crime inquiry following reports from Azeem Rafiq, a whistleblower on racism in cricket, that a man defecated in the front garden of his home in Barnsley on 5 October 2022. A photograph is published in an appeal to identify the suspect. (Mirror, 29 December 2022)

31 December:  London’s first Arabic bookshop, Al-Saqi books, established in 1978 in Bayswater, shuts down due to economic troubles. (Al Jazeera, 3 January 2023)

2 January: The Polish government criticises Ukrainian officials and institutions – including its national parliament – for commemorating the 114th anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera, who led the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and is regarded as a fascist who collaborated with the Nazis during the second world war. (Notes from Poland, 2 January 2023)

2 January: A spectator is removed from a Northern Premier League match between Bamber Bridge FC and Guiseley AFC after allegedly shouting racial abuse at a player at Sir Tom Finney Stadium in Bamber Bridge. (Lancashire Post, 3 January 2023)

3 January: After Brazil and Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior accuses the top Spanish football league La Liga of ‘doing nothing’ about racist abuse at matches, the league announces it has filed charges relating to the abuse Júnior received in Madrid’s game against Real Valladolid on 30 December 2022. (Sky Sports3 January 2023)


For details of court judgements on racially motivated and other hate crimes, see also POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

19 December: Two unidentified white men use racial slurs and physically assault staff at an Indian restaurant in Horsham before leaving without paying for their meal. (Sussex World, 29 December 2022)

20 December: A Jewish man is racially abused and pelted in the face with stones by an unidentified assailant following a dispute over a parking space in north London. No injuries are reported and no further enquiries are underway. (My London, 30 December 2022)

22 December: A 25-year-old woman is convicted of racially abusing an Albanian neighbour on 15 July. South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court fines her a total of £501. (Sunderland Echo, 22 December 2022)

22 December: Teesside Crown Court sentences a 52-year-old man to ten weeks suspended for 12 months, 15 days’ rehabilitation activities, 60 hours of unpaid work and compensation for racially abusing and making threats of violence against an Asian family outside their home in Darlington on 7 June 2021, damaging the front gate and wielding a shovel in front of the three children and their parents. (The Northern Echo, 22 December 2022)

22 December: Bolton Crown Court sentences a 45-year-old man to 16 months in prison on 5 counts of publishing material likely to incite racial hatred, for posting antisemitic and racist content online over an 8-month period before his arrest in February. (The Bolton News, 22 December 2022)

23 December: A 29-year-old man is convicted of racially aggravated harassment and causing damage to his victim’s door in June 2022. Chester Magistrates Court sentences him to undertake 200 hours of unpaid labour and pay £250 in compensation. (Northwich and Winsford Guardian, 1 January 2023)

23 December: Teesside magistrates sentence a 41-year-old man from Billingham to 12 weeks’ imprisonment and payment of a victim surcharge for racially aggravated criminal damage, following an attack on a taxi driver in June in which, after confirming the driver was Muslim, he racially abused him, left the taxi, jumped on his car bonnet and smashed his windscreen. (Teesside Live, 24 December 2022)

23 December: Two men are subjected to racial abuse outside a Wetherspoons pub in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Police arrest a 71-year-old man on suspicion of common assault, public order offences and assaulting a police officer. (Hertfordshire Mercury, 23 December 2022) 

23 December: In Paris, France, three people, all Kurds, are killed, and three others wounded, one critically, when a man opens fire inside the Ahmet-Kaya centre in Paris’s 10th arrondissement, and at a hairdresser’s and a restaurant. Several hundred Kurds, protesting the killings and the failure of the authorities to protect them, clash with police, who use teargas. (Guardian, 23 December 2022)

A poster commemorating the murder of Kurds in Paris, including the three women killed on 9 January 2013 and the three people on 23rd December 2022
A poster commemorating the massacres of Kurds in Paris. Credit: Txeng Meng, Flickr.

24 December: As Kurds and anti-racists are teargassed during a second demonstration in Paris, France to protest the killing of Emine Kara, Mir Perwer and Abdullah Kizil, the authorities reveal that the 69-year-old suspect had recently been released from detention while awaiting trial for a sabre attack on a refugee camp in Paris a year ago. (Guardian, 24 December 2022;  Medico Topics,  24 December 2022)

29 December: A swastika and other fascist symbols are sprayed on a monument inside the Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece, which is dedicated to the Jewish community. (Keep Talking Greece, 29 December 2022)

31 December: In Patras, Greece, a group of men attack a  Roma man with learning disabilities singing carols on New Year’s Eve,  forcing him to sing on his knees before one man flows inflammable liquid on him and sets him on fire. One of the culprits posts the incident as a joke on his social media account. (Keep Talking Greece, 3 January 2023) 

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sophie Chauhan and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association, Stopwatch and The Week in Work, 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.

Featured image: Memorial for victims of the racist attack at the Ahmet-Kaya centre in Paris. Credit : Medya News

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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