Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 May – 3 June 2021)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 May – 3 June 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

19 May: Newly elected SNP MP Anum Qaisar-Javed calls for Westminster to devolve immigration, arguing in her maiden speech that the UK’s points-based system is ‘deeply flawed’ and fails to address Scottish needs. (STV News, 19 May 2021)

21 May: Windrush victims are not being compensated quickly enough, the National Audit Office (NAO) reports, saying only 38 percent of claimants have received a final decision and that applications take 154 hours to process, five times longer than the Home Office’ original estimate. 21 people have died while waiting for compensation. (Bloomberg News; Guardian, 21 May 2021)

24 May: The High Court orders the Home Office to pay compensation to sex trafficking survivors whose children were forced to hear details of their ordeals because no childcare was provided for asylum interviews. (Guardian, 24 May 2021)

25 May: The Dutch parliament rejects proposals put forward by right-wing parties to follow Denmark in declaring parts of Syria safe and revoke residency for Syrian refugees, but agrees to commission a study of ‘issues preventing the integration of refugees’. (Syrian Observer, 27 May 2021) 

25 May: The Union des Sans-Papiers pour la Régularisation (USPR), a Belgian group for refugee rights, announces that 700 asylum seekers currently occupying university sites and a church in Brussels, have gone on hunger strike protesting the current immigration and asylum system. (La Libre, 25 May 2021)

26 May: The UK Court of Appeal rules that the ‘immigration exemption’ in the Data Protection Act denying migrants access to Home Office files on them is a derogation from fundamental rights and unlawful in the absence of the safeguards set out in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  (Free Movement, 26 May 2021)

26 May: An unprecedented legal action against Frontex is submitted to the EU Court of Justice alleging violation of the human rights of two asylum seekers on Lesvos, Greece, by forcibly transferring them back to sea after detaining them and then abandoning them on ‘rafts with no means of navigation, food or water’. (Euractiv, 26 May 2021)

27 May: In a letter to the Lesbian & Gay Association, the German federal government accepts responsibility for disclosing information about the sexual orientation of three asylum seekers to the authorities in Pakistan and Nigeria. (InfoMigrants, 27 May 2021)

1 June: The Together with Refugees coalition claims that refugee women and children are at risk of abandonment if the government’s New Plan for Immigration goes ahead, as half of those who would no longer have their rights recognised in the UK due to their means of arrival would be women and children. (Guardian, 1 June 2021)

Borders and internal controls

19 May: Shadow minister Rosena Allin-Khan accuses police of racial profiling after immigration checks on fast food delivery riders in London, which she says may amount to indirect discrimination because of their disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups. (Independent, 19 May 2021)

20 May: Minister for immigration compliance Chris Philp confirms that the Home Office notified Police Scotland, but not the Scottish government, in advance of last week’s Glasgow immigration raid, as it was a ‘routine, lawful operation’. (Scotsman, 20 May 2021)

20 May: The two men at the centre of last week’s Glasgow immigration raid, released after 200 people surrounded the van they were held in, will still be deported as ‘illegal immigrants’, the Home Office says, with the demonstration only delaying the ‘inevitable’. (Metro, 20 May 2021)

22 May: An Ivorian man drowns while attempting to swim the river Bidasoa, which marks the SpanishFrench border, where an Eritrean asylum seeker drowned in April. A French ex-policeman rescues an unaccompanied 16-year-old from the same river, but the boy is immediately returned to Spain. (El Diario, 22 May 2021) 

26 May: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights publishes Lethal Disregard, a report on search, rescue and reception in the central Mediterranean which condemns the EU, member states and the Libyan coastguard, which ‘rob migrants of their lives, dignity and fundamental human rights’. It details horrific unsanitary conditions for asylum seekers and claims that guards told suicidal detainees to ‘go ahead, kill yourselves’. (Reliefweb, 26 May; Times of Malta, 1 June 2021) 

24 May: In a speech to a conference organised by Bright Blue and British Futures, the home secretary announces a fully digital enforcement scheme, to come into force in 2025, with electronic visas allowing the sharing of data on migrants’ status with employers, NHS and public services in real time. (Evening Standard, 24 May; Evening Standard, 27 May 2021)

28 May: Home Office figures show the number of EU citizens refused entry to the UK soared to nearly 4,000 in the first quarter of 2021, amid complaints from EU citizens of being treated like criminals by Border Force officials. (Guardian, 21 May; Guardian, 27 May; Guardian, 28 May 2021)

31 May: During the pandemic, the Greek government has been testing an automated surveillance network of physical and experimental digital barriers at its 200-kilometre border with Turkey to stop people from entering the European Union without documents, it is revealed. (Al Jazeera, 31 May 2021)

31 May: Around a hundred protesters march in Tooting, London against immigration raids on delivery riders after a Home Office operation earlier in the month in which 48 riders were stopped and 2 arrests made in 90 minutes. (Morning Star, 31 March 2021) 

Reception and detention

19 May: After the Danish government announces a new ‘exit centre’ for rejected asylum seekers, to open on the island of Langeland in 2022, the local mayor objects on the grounds of the adverse impact on tourism. (Berlingske, 19 May 2021)

19 May: Swiss immigration authorities describe as ‘unfounded’ claims by Amnesty International of abuse and human rights violations by security personnel in five national asylum centres, particularly aimed at asylum seekers from north Africa, including children. (Swissinfo, 19 May 2021)

23 May: Following the arrival of 8,000 migrants in a week, the authorities in Ceuta, Spain, acknowledge that 438 unaccompanied children and teenagers are sleeping rough or in quarantine warehouses, from which some have escaped saying conditions are so poor they are better off sleeping in the streets. (Guardian, 23 May 2021)

23 May: A hunger strike starts at the CPR Via Brunelleschi in Turin, Italy, after the body of Baldi Moussa, a 23-year-old asylum seeker from Guinea, is found hanging in a cell where he had been placed in solitary confinement and allegedly denied medical care for injuries he had sustained in an earlier racist attack. (Statewatch, 23 May 2021)  

23 May: It is revealed that 1 in 5 people placed in Napier Barracks in the past 6 weeks have been transferred out after the Home Office admits they are too vulnerable to be in barracks accommodation and should not have been placed there. (Independent, 23 May 2021)

24 May: A criminal investigation is launched after a 31-year-old woman and a two-year-old child die in a fire at a shelter for asylum seekers in Kronach, central Germany. The cause of the fire is unclear. (InfoMigrants, 24 May 2021) 

25 May: The plan to evict around 4,000 migrants from Home Office accommodation is dropped following a legal challenge to the eviction policy in which public health officials advised against making people homeless during the pandemic. (Guardian, 25 May 2021)

26 May: The Greek government announces plans to construct walls around 25 camps on the mainland, with work already commencing at the Ritsona refugee camp near Athens. A call for tenders describes magnetic gates with integrated thermographic cameras, X-ray machines and security cameras at exit and entry points, planned for 39 camps across the mainland and islands, with 75 percent of costs covered by the European Internal Security Fund. (Al Jazeera, 26 May 2021)

1 June: Vulnerable asylum seekers have been left unable to afford food for up to ten days after financial support was cut off during a Home Office contract changeover, it is revealed. The Home Office notified users that new cards would be usable from 24 May, but charities claim that thousands are yet to receive these new cards or received but could not activate them. (Independent, 27 May; Positive Action in Housing, 1 June 2021)

30 May: In France, a demonstration is organised by groups fighting against refugee homelessness, including Utopia 56 and Droit au Logement (DAL), in response to the government’s announcement that it would not be increasing the number of housing places for sans-papiers. (Le Monde, 31 May 2021)

Criminalising solidarity

26 May: The Brussels court of appeals, Belgium, confirms the December 2018 acquittal of 4 people, including journalists Anouk Van Gestel and Myriam Berghe, of human trafficking for hosting displaced people in 2019, rebuking prosecutors for appealing the original verdict, and reduces the sentences of the 7 migrants originally convicted to between 12 and 20 months in recognition that though they had been involved with human trafficking, they were also victims of it. (Brussels Times, 26 May 2021) 

27 May: In Grenoble, France, the appeal starts of the Briançon 7, convicted in December 2018 of assisting illegal entry to France for accompanying a group of displaced people along a mountain pass in April 2018. (Are You Syrious, 28 May 2021) 


26 May: Human Rights Watch calls on Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden to repatriate 160 Nordic nationals, of which 114 are children, most under the age of six, detained in camps and makeshift prisons in north-east Syria. (Al Jazeera, 26 May 2021)


21 May: The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for the Brook House Immigration Removal Centre finds that the Home Office’s rush to deport asylum seekers ahead of Brexit amounted to ‘inhumane treatment’, leading to unprecedented levels of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and attempts. Read the report here. (Independent, 21 May 2021)

23 May: Priti Patel says she plans to push ahead with the forced removal of migrants from Scotland, ignoring calls from some Scottish politicians to abandon the practice of immigration raids and accusing the SNP of attempting to ‘thwart the safety and security of the British public’. (Courier, 23 May 2021)


A line of police at a pro-Palestine march in London, 22 May 2021.
Police at a pro-Palestine march in London on 22 May 2021. Credit: Alisdare Hickson, Flickr.

18 May: In France, a police officer receives a 3-month prison sentence for aggravated assault on a Syrian migrant and falsifying evidence. The officer claimed the suspect resisted arrest, a narrative dismissed in the light of video evidence (France Bleu, 18 May 2021) 

19 May: A controversial march organised by French police unions in Paris, attended by communist and socialist parties alongside Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, calls for more protection for police and harsher sentences for those assaulting them. In response, unions, media and civil society organisations and the left-wing La France Insoumise party denounce the mainstreaming of far-right ideas in an open letter in L’Humanité. (RFI, 25 May; L’Humanité, 20 May 2021)

21 May: A French court acquits a police officer of defamation for calling Adama Traoré, whose death has become the most high-profile case of police violence by French authorities, a rapist and a criminal. (Le Figaro, 21 May 2021)

23 May: Campaigners against domestic violence call for stronger mechanisms of police accountability after publication of the Femicide Census, which shows how Black and minority women are not believed or adequately protected from violence including murder. (Observer, 23 May 2021) 

23 May: New Merseyside chief constable Serena Kennedy joins her predecessor in advocating defunding of police, calling for more funding to tackle inequality to give people better life chances and prevent crime. (Guardian, 23 May 2021)

25 May: A report on racial profiling by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights highlights a general trend in which ethnic minority people are stopped and searched more regularly across Europe, with 49 percent of sub-Saharan Africans stopped in a year in Austria, and one-third of Roma stopped in Croatia and Greece. (Guardian, 25 May 2021)

24 May: The Criminal Justice Alliance submits a ‘super complaint’ to the Home Office about the harmful pattern in policing revealed by government data showing that less than 1 percent of section 60 stop and searches lead to arrest, and calls for the section’s repeal. (ITV, 24 May 2021)

28 May: A Muslim former prisoner said to be radicalised in prison and suffering from schizophrenia, is shot dead in the western town of La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, near Nantes, France, after injuring a police officer with a knife. Shortly after, in an unrelated incident in Hamburg, Germany, police shoot dead a man who threatened drivers with a knife apparently shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’. (NBC News; Deutsche Welle, 28 May 2021)

28 May: Mark Duggan’s family accuse the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) of lacking courage for its decision last week not to reopen the investigation into his death in 2011 despite a forensic report claiming that the watchdog’s version of events surrounding his killing is implausible. (Guardian, 28 May 2021)

28 May: New analysis by the Liberal Democrats shows that black people are 12 times more likely to be prosecuted for cannabis possession that white people. (Independent, 28 May 2021)

29 May: The Metropolitan Police drops charges against volunteer legal observers from Black Protest Legal Support, arrested at ‘kill the bill’ protests, accepting that they have an important role to play in the scrutiny of policing. (Guardian, 29 May 2021)

A banner at a recent Kill the Bill protest in Newcastle, reading "Kill the Bill, No Spycops, Protest and Survive"
A ‘kill the bill’ protest in Newcastle on 29 May 2021. Credit: Sephalopod, Flickr.

29 May: French civil society organisations issue an open letter supporting an initiative against racial profiling created by six NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International France (FranceInfo, 29 May)

31 May: Data obtained by Freedom of Information requests, covering 38 of 45 police forces across the UK, reveals that of 7,800 complaints of racist conduct by police (on duty and online) received between 2015 and 2020, only 181 resulted in formal action, with only 30 officers being sacked or resigning as a result. (inews, 31 May 2021)

31 May: In France, the Paris police confirm that a disciplinary hearing was held for three trainee officers who made threatening and racist comments against a female instructor. The outcome has yet to be announced. (Midi Libre, 1 June 2021)

31 May: A cross-Europe study including the UK reveals that forensic experts analysing electronic devices, used in 90 percent of criminal cases, show bias in their interpretation of digital evidence, rendering results unreliable and susceptible to prejudice. (Guardian, 31 May 2021)

Investigations involving far-right soldiers

19 May: In Belgium, a ‘man-hunt’ is ordered after Jürgen Connings, a soldier linked to the far Right absconds from barracks armed with four rocket launchers, a sub-machine gun, a pistol and a bulletproof vest, after making threats against the life of a high-profile virologist. The prime minister says that it is unacceptable that someone on the terror watch list could be in the army and have access to weapons. (Guardian, 19 May; Al Jazeera, 20 May 2021)

20 May: In Germany, the trial opens in Frankfurt of Franco Albrecht, a soldier accused of extreme-right sympathies and plotting to attack prominent politicians while posing as a Syrian refugee. (France 24, 20 May 2021)

23 May: In Belgium, armed police are drafted in to guard mosques in areas arounnd Eisden, Maasmechlen as it emerges that the far-right soldier Jürgen Connings had also spoken of attacking a mosque in the area. (Brussels Times, 23 May 2021)

31 May: Freedom of information responses reveal that at least 16 members of the armed forces have been referred to the Prevent counter-terrorism programme, with 11 of 14 investigations carried out in 2019 into far-right activity. (Guardian, 31 May 2021)


19 May: Secretive counter-extremism Vulnerability Support Hubs that include mental health assessments, often in the presence of the police, blur the line between ‘security and care’ and should be scrapped, concludes Medact in new research revealing that Muslims were 23 times more likely to be referred to a hub for ‘Islamism’ that a white British person for ‘far-right extremism’. (Al Jazeera, 19 May 2021)


19 May: The French interior minister is criticised after attending a demonstration by thousands of police officers demanding tougher laws against people convicted of targeting or killing police officers, attended by several far-right National Rally politicians. (Guardian, 19 May 2021)

19 May: French prosecutors open an inquiry into MEP Nicolas Bay, member of Rassemblement National, after he published a video on the construction site of a mosque and made islamophobic remarks (France24, 19 May 2021)

20 May: An investigation by the Guardian reveals that Conservative candidates in the May local elections took out 47 Facebook adverts, viewed 440,000 times, promising to remove unauthorised Travellers’ camps in Britain. A further two adverts making similar pledges were placed by independent candidates. (Guardian, 20 May 2021)

24 May: In Portugal, a civil court rules that André Ventura MP, leader of the far-right Chega party, must formally apologise to a family from the multicultural neighbourhood of Bairro do Jamaica in Lisbon who he described during the electoral campaign as ‘bandits’, or face a hefty fine. (Portugal Resident, 24 May 2021)

25 May: Conservative Muslims describe as a ‘whitewash’ the findings of the party’s inquiry into Islamophobia, which finds no evidence of institutional racism in the complaints procedure. The language used by Boris Johnson to describe Muslim women and the 2016 London mayoral campaign run by Zac Goldsmith left a ‘very strong’ perception that the party was ‘insensitive’ to Muslims, the review concludes. (Guardian, 25 May 2021)

25 May: In a video marking the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, Labour leader Keir Starmer says eradicating structural racism will be a ‘defining cause’ for the next Labour government. (Guardian, 25 May 2021)  

28 May: As prime minister Boris Johnson faces criticisms for normalising ‘far-right’ electoral politics by meeting Hungarian president Viktor Orbán in London, it emerges that the day before, the head of the Spanish far-right Vox party visited Budapest for talks with Orbán and his Fidesz party. (Hungary Today, 27 May 2021; Byline Times, 28 May 2021)

28 May: After some antisemitic incidents at recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations, members of the German parliament call for immigration and integration policies to be reassessed, with CSU politicians demanding that asylum-seekers convicted of antisemitic hate crimes be deported, and a Left party politician referring to antisemitism as an  ‘import’, ignoring the fact that the majority of antisemitic acts are carried out by the far Right. (Al Jazeera, 28 May 2021)

30 May: In the general election in Cyprus, the neo-nazi National Popular Front (Elam), whose leader Christos Christou was a member of Golden Dawn when he lived in Athens, doubles its share of the vote to 6.8 percent, making it the fourth largest electoral party. (Guardian, 30 May 2021)

31 May: In the run-off mayoral elections in Zagreb, Croatia, the Green candidate roundly defeats the far-right candidate, former pop singer Moroslaw Skoro, taking 65 percent of the vote). (Euronews, 31 May 2021)


19 May: In France, the Paris court of appeal sentences extreme-right French-Swiss polemicist Alain Soral to 4 months in prison for ‘inciting hatred on the grounds of religion’ for anti-Semitic statements blaming Jews for the Notre-Dame fire. (Le Figaro, 19 May 2021)

20 May: In several Italian cities, including L’Aquila, police raid the homes of 25 people believed to be preparing violent acts in relation to the founding of a new fascist party. Videos celebrating white supremacist massacres are seized. (ANSA, 20 May 2021)

20 May: Far-right Cambridge graduate Oliver Bel is jailed at Manchester crown court for two years for possession of terrorist material and promoting racist hate online. (Manchester Evening News, 20 May 2021)

22 May: South Shields far-right sympathiser John Raymond Nimmo is sentenced at Newcastle crown court to 10 years and 2 months in prison after pleading guilty to offences of terrorism, incitement to racial and religious hated and possession of a prohibited weapon. (BBC News, 22 May 2021)

25 May: Neo-nazi sympathiser Nicholas Brock from Maidenhead, Berkshire, is jailed for four years after being convicted on three counts of possessing documents useful for terrorism.  (Mirror, 25 May 2021)

23 May: The Board of Deputies of British Jews and other Jewish organisations condemn the presence of far-right former EDL leader ‘Tommy Robinson’ at a Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland demonstration in support of Israel. (Independent, 23 May 2021)

26 May: A Belgian court finds four members of a Flemish nationalist group guilty of incitement of hatred and sentences them to six months in prison for taking part in an islamophobic protest. (RTBF, 26 May).

28 May: A local elected official from the far-right party Rassemblement National is one of 5 men charged with ‘insulting persons in a public authority’ and deliberate violence for storming a regional council meeting in the south of France. (France Bleu, 28 May). 

28 May: Tom Van Grieken, leader of the Flemish far-right party, Vlaams Belang, which made strides during the 2019 Belgian federal elections, makes openly white supremacist declarations in a press interview. (7 sur 7, 1 June 2021) 

29 May: Four people are arrested after 60 people march through Dover in an anti-immigration protest. (Guardian, 29 May 2021) 


19 May: The Paris Great Mosque and the International League against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA) adopt a joint convention to better address anti-Muslim racism in France, following months of criticism directed at LICRA for its lack of awareness around Islamophobia. (Le Monde, 20 May 2021)

26 May: A survey of 13,000 people by Shelter reveals that Black and Asian and disabled tenants are almost five times more likely to face housing discrimination, disproportionately inhabiting shoddy, unsafe and unsuitable homes. (Guardian, 26 May 2021)

29 May: Muslim Youth Austria launch a legal action against the University of Vienna and the Documentation Centre on Political Islam for their ‘Map of Political Islam’ showing the names and location of over 600 mosques and associations in the country and their possible links abroad. Other Muslim groups also criticise the map for stigmatising Muslims as a potential danger. (Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2021)

1 June: The appeal court in Toulouse, France dismisses the appeal of an Albi tobacconist convicted of religious discrimination in 2018 for requiring that women take off their hijab to be served. (FranceInfo, 1 June 2021)


21 May: In France, the Montreuil undocumented migrants’ collective and the Solidaires union call for the truth about the death of Barry Keita, 27, and the injuries sustained by Birima Konaté, 47, both undocumented Malian construction workers, in unrelated workplace accidents on construction sites in the Paris suburbs, where contractors ignore health and safety standards. (InfoMigrants, 21 May 2021)

24 May: The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, the Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust are ranked the top three NHS Trusts for tackling discrimination against BME staff by the Health Service Journal which analysed feedback from staff surveys carried out across hospital trusts in 2020. (Dewsbury Reporter, 24 May 2021)

25 May: In Belgium, Brussels’ public transport operator STIB announces that it will not be appealing the court decision against their no-hijab hiring policy for the time being. (Le Soir, 25 May 2021)

26 May: Uber agrees to recognise the GMB union for its private hire drivers, enabling them to join the union, but excludes the around 30,000 delivery riders for Uber Eats from the deal. (Guardian, 26 May 2021)

28 May: Three colleges in England commit to publishing data concerning the pay gaps between staff’s ethnic groups in a bid to tackle under-representation in the sector. (F E Week, 28 May 2021)


25 May: The fire risk assessor hired to check the safety of Grenfell Tower put letters after is name to indicate qualifications that he did not have, the inquiry hears. (Guardian, 25 May 2021)


18 May: Equality campaigners and local politicians warn that ministers may be stoking divisions by falsely suggesting that Covid increases in Bolton, Blackburn and Erewash are due to ‘vaccine hesitancy’ in certain communities. (Guardian, 18 May 2021)

31 May: A cross-party group of MPs and peers tells the prime minister that to save lives at home and prevent new variants spreading, the government should match each vaccine at home with a donated dose to poorer countries. (Guardian, 31 May 2021)


24 May: British peer Baroness Cox and the Duchess de Frankopan will attend the launch of a new university in Warsaw, Poland run by the ultra-religious right Ordo Iuris group. The group has provided legal support for the annual far-right Independence Day March in Warsaw, which has involved violent attacks on pro-choice and pro-LGBTIQ activists. (Byline Times, 24 May 2021)

26 May: An independent review initiated by Batley grammar school in West Yorkshire clears a teacher of deliberately causing offence by showing a Charlie Hebdo image in the classroom. The teacher, who has received threats and is in hiding, used the image to educate and had no intention of causing offence, the review finds. (Guardian, 26 May 2021)

26 May: As over 100 incidents of punishments for pro-Palestinian actions by school students are reported, the headteacher at Allerton Grange high school in Leeds is forced to apologise after describing the Palestinian flag as a ‘call to arms’ and seen as a ‘symbol of antisemitism’, while students at Clapton girls’ academy, London protested after teachers removed pro-Palestine posters. (Guardian, 26 May 2021)


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.

20 May: British sprinter Adam Gemili says he will take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter if he wins an Olympic medal in Tokyo, warning the International Olympic Committee that ‘all hell will break loose’ if it tries to ban athletes from protesting on the podium. (Guardian, 20 May 2021)

20 May: A torrent of racist abuse on social media, much of it from far-right Vox Party supporters, is directed at Luna Reyes, a Spanish aid worker in Ceuta, after a media photograph showed her consoling an exhausted African refugee who had just been rescued. (Guardian, 20 May 2021)

21 May: Eight men are arrested and four more interviewed under caution for incitement to racial hatred following an investigation into online racist abuse of an unnamed Tottenham Hotspur player during a match against Manchester United on 11 April. (Guardian, 21 May 2021)

23 May: A football fan is arrested for racially abusing former England player Rio Ferdinand at a match between Wolves and Manchester United. After the game, Ferdinand says he would love to ‘meet up with the fellow and just educate him a bit’ because ‘punishing people without education isn’t the way forward.’ (ESPN, 23 May 2021)

24 May: A major national survey, the Black British Voices Project, is launched to explore the evolution of Black British identities and provide an up-to-date portrait of Black British communities, as part of a wider research project described as the first of its kind. (Guardian, 24 May 2021)

26 May: The Jewish Chronicle apologises to Marc Wadsworth and pays him damages for erroneously reporting on 12 March that he spoke at a Labour in Exile Network event and that he could be guilty of criminal activities and complicit in a conspiracy to intimidate, threaten or harass Jewish activists into silence. (Jewish Chronicle, 26 May 2021)

27 May: Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford reveals reporting over 70 racially abusive messages to police following the club’s defeat in the Europa League final, including one from a teacher, who left ‘a mountain of monkey emojis’. (Guardian, 27 May 2021)

28 May: In France, the free-to-air Canal+ group channel CNews, dubbed ‘French Fox News’, featuring far-right ideologue Eric Zemmour as one of its show hosts, posts record viewing figures as concerns mount that it is feeding far-right Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid. (Guardian, 28 May 2021)

28 May: The statue of slave trader Edward Colston is to go on temporary display at Bristol Museum, the mayor announces, together with placards from the BLM demonstration where it was thrown into the river and a survey for people to debate ideas for its future. (Guardian, 28 May 2021)

29 May: Following criticism of the University of Oxford for backtracking on its earlier decision to remove a statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes, ignoring the views of an independent commission, sculptor Antony Gormley suggests the statue at Oriel College should be turned to face the wall as a solution to the dilemma. (Guardian, 20 May; Guardian, 29 May 2021)

The Cecil Rhodes statue, Oriel College, Oxford.
The Cecil Rhodes statue at Oriel College, Oxford. Credit: Jonathan, Flickr.

30 May: The National Trust denies that its chairman, Tim Parker, resigned in response to a campaign against ‘wokeness’. His resignation came a day after a small group of members, Restore Trust, had circulated a motion of no confidence in Parker, but he had apparently informed fellow trustees of his decision several days before. (Guardian, 30 May 2021)

1 June:  The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London announces a new exhibition, War Inna Babylon: The Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights, to open on 6 July 2021. Co-curated by Tottenham Rights, it will chronicle Black communities’ resistance against institutional racism. (Guardian, 1 June 2021)


17 May: In Palma, Spain, two German neo-nazi tourists who in June 2019 beat up a Senegalese bouncer and shouted racial abuse receive suspended sentences. The victim suffered a spinal injury and broken bones and is now unable to work. (Majorca Daily Bulletin, 17 May 2021)

18 May: Cumbria Police appeal for witnesses after eggs were thrown at a property in Workington on 8 May, in what is believed to be a racially aggravated incident. (News & Star, 18 May 2021) 

18 May: A 23-year-old Elland man is sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to a series of serious offences including the racist abuse and assault of a delivery driver in Brighouse, West Yorkshire in 2018, which resulted in the victim losing three teeth. (Yorkshire Live, 19 May 2021) 

20 May: Four teenagers approach a 12-year-old boy in Bradley Stoke, racially abuse him, trip him to the floor and punch him in the face. (Avon and Somerset Police, 28 May 2021) 

21 May: Kent Police release CCTV images of two white women in an appeal for information after a man reported on 28 April that he and his daughter were verbally abused and assaulted by two people who kicked and damaged their car in Dartford High Street, Kent in an alleged racially aggravated incident. (Kent Police, 21 May 2021)

23 May: A 23-year-old man is sentenced to three months in prison after pleading guilty to racially aggravated assault on a supermarket worker and stealing wine from the same supermarket in Penarth, Wales on 18 March. (Penarth Times, 23 May 2021) 

24 May: A 53-year-old Turkish man from Wigan says he lives in fear after a racial attack in Ashton, Greater Manchester on 8 May, when two men, described as white and aged between 25-30, shouted racial abuse at him from their car before stopping, kicking his car and beating him, leaving him with minor injuries all over his body which required hospital treatment. (Wigan Today, 24 May 2021)

24 May: A 24-year-old Worcester woman is arrested on suspicion of racial abuse after a viral video on social media shows her shoving a black member of staff outside a pub in Birmingham on 22 May, before shouting racial abuse at him and spitting in his direction. She is also accused of racially abusing another man and damaging furniture inside the pub. (BBC News, 24 May 2021) 

25 May: A 73-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of wounding for allegedly slashing a 55-year-old London man of Jamaican descent with a knife in Shoebury, Essex on 14 May, an attack which the victim and his partner claim was racially motivated in the light of a history of abusive comments by him. (Echo News, 25 May 2021) 

25 May: A court in Nantes, western France, finds a woman guilty of violence, insult and degradation against her neighbour, to whom she made racist insults and tore off her hijab. (Ouest France, 27 May 2021)

26 May: A French court finds four students from reputable universities guilty of incitement of racial hatred on Twitter against the Chinese community in France, and orders each to pay €250 to seven civil organisations and €1000 in damages. (Le Parisien, 26 May 2021). 

29 May: A demonstration is held in Oldenburg, Germany, after incendiary devices are thrown at the Lower Saxony State Reception Office, housing asylum seekers, in the Monastery of Blankenburg.  (Seebrücke International, Twitter, 30 May 2021)

31 May: A 14-year-old boy named as Dea-John Reid is subjected to racist abuse, chased and stabbed to death by a group in Birmingham. Four men in their thirties and 2 boys aged 13 and 14 are arrested, and West Midlands police refer themselves to the IOPC over the way they dealt with an earlier incident involving the victim. (Guardian, 2 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: A demonstration at Napier Barracks asylum seeker accommodation. Source: @MigrantsOrg

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

2 thoughts on “Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 May – 3 June 2021)

  1. Hi Would love this calendar to be embedded in my service – I work for Hackney council as the inclusion and diversity Lead

    1. Hi Deborah, thanks so much for your comment. The best way to keep up to date with our regular calendar is by subscribing to our newsletter at – the next edition will be out tomorrow (1 July)

      We are also in the process of converting our regular calendar into a searchable database, so definitely subscribe for details of when we launch that

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