Calendar of racism and resistance (20 October – 2 November 2017)

Calendar of racism and resistance (20 October – 2 November 2017)


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 migration

20 October: A pregnant asylum seeker living in ‘dangerous housing’ provided by G4S in Doncaster pleads to be moved. (Open Democracy, 20 October 2017)

20 October: The Home Office publishes: Grenfell Tower immigration cases (guidance on handling cases involving survivors and other individuals directly affected by the fire), download it here.

20 October: The Hungarian authorities terminate the agreement with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, denying the human rights group access to prisons, police and immigration detention facilities. (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 20 October 2017)

20 October: The European Commission tells the British government it is investigating new laws and procedures which have led to record numbers of EU nationals being detained and deported. (Guardian, 29 October 2017)

21 October: Twenty-eight Kurdish and Iranian asylum seekers at the Kӕrshovedgård expulsion centre in Denmark go on hunger strike, protesting an intolerable situation with no clear solution. (The Local, 21 October 2017)

23 October: The Guardian reports that not a single child refugee from Greece or Italy has arrived in the UK under the Dubs Scheme, with 280 empty places offered by councils going unfilled. (Guardian, 23 October 2017)

23 October: Nineteen NGOs write to the Greek prime minister, warning of the deteriorating conditions asylum seekers face as winter approaches, and urging him to end the ‘containment policy’ of trapping them on the Aegean islands. In Lesbos, refugees occupy Sappho Square, demanding to be allowed to travel to the mainland. (AITIMA, 23 October 2017)

save_the_children_logo23 October: Save the Children announces the suspension of search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, amid increasing aggression from the Libyan coastguard and suspicion from the Italian authorities towards rescue NGOs. (Reuters, 23 October 2017)

25 October: Human Rights Watch warns that the Libyan coastguard, which receives support and equipment from the EU, is running a racket in the Mediterranean Sea with guards stopping smuggler vessels offshore and detaining those on board, then taking bribes to release them. (Independent, 25 October 2017)HRW

25 October: An investigation by German public broadcaster ZDF finds that security guards at Berlin’s refugee accommodation centres are pushing young refugees, including minors, into prostitution, and pimping out minors to prostitution rings. (Deutsche Welle, 25 October 2017)

26 October: An inquest jury finds that Ugandan immigrant detainee Tome Kirungi, who was found hanged in his cell in the Verne immigration removal centre in Portland in August 2015, committed suicide. He died after texting his sister, ‘I can’t carry on’. (Dorset Echo, 26 October 2017)

27 October: The Guardian reports on the appalling conditions for asylum seekers housed in ‘squalid’ and ‘unsafe’ housing provided by private contractors such as G4S and Serco. (Guardian, 27 October 2017)

rcm_logo27 October: The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) issues an updated position statement on the detention of pregnant women, saying it harms vulnerable women and their babies, who may suffer from ‘significant and complex physical health and psychological problems’. (RCM press release, 27 October 2017)

29 October: The Observer reports that the Home Office has sent detained EU nationals a letter warning that they should leave the UK to ‘avoid becoming destitute’. (Observer, 29 October 2017)

1 November: New research finds that the Home Office is detaining asylum seeking sexual violence victims in breach of its own guidelines. Download the report by Women for Refugee Women here. (Guardian, 1 November 2017)wfrw-eport

2 November: The high court dismisses a legal challenge brought by Help Refugees over the cap on the number of unaccompanied child refugees allowed to enter UK under the Dubs Scheme. (Guardian, 2 November 2017)

Policing and criminal justice

ucpi24 October: Over 100 people affected by political policing, frustrated by the Undercover Policing Inquiry’s lack of openness, demand answers and action, read their letter here.

24 October: The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies publishes: The undercover policing of political protest, download it here.

24 October: A report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary finds that police are failing to deal adequately with modern slavery and human trafficking, download the report here. (Independent, 24 October 2017)

25 October: A black ex-Met police officer wins the right to sue the Met police for the PTSD she suffered after being assaulted on duty. She had been prevented from doing so earlier because of adverse findings by a misconduct panel, subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court. (Guardian, 25 October 2017)

26 October: New figures released by the Home Office reveal that black people are eight times more likely than their white counterparts to be stopped and searched, despite an overall 21 per cent decrease in numbers being checked by police, compared to the previous year. (Evening Standard, 26 October 2017)

28 October: The annual United Families and Friends Campaign march to Downing Street takes place, in remembrance of those who have died in custody.UFFC demo 2015edit

30 October: The Home Office publishes: Report of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody, download it here.

1 November: Two Humberside police officers are to face gross misconduct hearings following an investigation into the force’s surveillance of Janet Alder, the sister of Christopher Alder who died in police custody in Hull in 1998. (ITV, 1 November 2017)

bishop-hillsborough-reports1 November: The Home Office publishes Bishop James Jones’ review of the Hillsborough families’ experiences: ‘The patronising disposition of unaccountable power’: A report to ensure the pain and suffering of the Hillsborough families is not repeated, download it here

1 November: The misconduct hearing of two police officers involved in the death of Aston McLean Williams, who died after being run over by a police car in Reading in August 2014, is adjourned. (Get Reading, 1 November 2017)

1 November: Two police officers, who were involved in the death of 17-year-old Liam Albert in July 2009, and are accused of gross misconduct for failing to video the incident and deleting pictures of the crime scene in Esher, argue that misconduct proceedings should be stayed because of delays in bringing the case.  (West Sussex County Times, 1 November 2017)


24 October: The Roma Support Group publishes a briefing paper: Fulfilling Their Potential? Exclusion of Roma Pupils in the English Educational System, download the report here.fulfillingpotential-roma-children-report-cover

26 October: Lancashire county council votes to ban schools from serving halal meat from animals that are not stunned before slaughter. The council supplies 27 schools with ‘unstunned’ halal meat. Lancashire Council of Mosques accuses the council leader of leading a ‘crusade’ on the issue. (BBC News, 26 October 2017)

31 October: A protest takes place outside Fulham Boys School in protest at its policy which bans dreadlocks and led to 12-year-old Rastafarian pupil, Chikayzea Flanders, leaving the school. (BBC News, 31 October 2017)


19 October: People in Reading protest over the proposed sale of the derelict Central Club, which was once a site of community organising and home to a black history mural, accusing the council of putting profit before preservation. (BBC News, 19 October 2017)

23 October: An employment tribunal is told that a doctor at Cardiff University was targeted for redundancy because of her race; an earlier review into race at the university found that it was ‘riddled with institutional racism’. (Wales Online, 23 October 2017)

31 October: Muslim teaching assistant Suriyah Bi, who was dismissed from a Birmingham school after objecting to the showing of graphic footage of 9/11, marked unsuitable for under-18s, to 11-year-olds with special needs, wins an employment tribunal case for unfair dismissal and religious discrimination when it emerged that her having been head girl of a Trojan Horse school was used to justify the dismissal. (Guardian, 1 November 2017)


31 October: Doctors of the World claims that GPs are refusing to collect data on patients’ immigration status and are crossing out the supplementary questions section of new forms in which this information is sought. (GP Online, 31 October 2017)doctors of the world


26 October: Lola Olufemi, the women’s officer at Cambridge University, accuses the media of ‘a very targeted form of harassment’ after the Daily Telegraph features a front page picture of her alongside a story on an open letter to Cambridge University about the lack of black and ethnic minority authors on the English course. The article leads to her being targeted with racist and sexist abuse. (Guardian, 26 October 2017)

1 November: The Guardian reports that an official investigation has found no evidence to support sensationalist claims made by The Times about a ‘white Christian’ girl who was fostered with a Muslim family in Tower Hamlets. (Guardian, 1 November 2017)

Party politics

24 October: An FGM campaigner claims that a senior UKIP staff member made offensive comments to her at a party, allegedly saying: ‘I am racist but you’re beautiful, so I would do you’. (Guardian, 25 October 2017)

1 November: The Electoral Commission announces an investigation into Arron Banks for his donations and loans to the Brexit campaign. (Guardian, 1 November 2017) 

Anti-fascism and the far Right

18 October: In the Paris region and south east France, police arrest ten far-right activists on suspicion of association with terrorist wrongdoers. The AFP, citing unnamed sources, claims a plot to attack mosques as well as a government spokesman and the left-wing presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon. (France24, 18 October 2017)

21 October: Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), a far-right party which campaigns to end migration and stop the Islamisation of the Czech Republic, wins 10.8 per cent of the vote in parliamentary elections won by the anti-immigration populist party Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO). (Guardian, 24 October 2017)

22 October: Two days before the far-right Alternative for Germany takes its seats in the German parliament, at least 10,000 demonstrators ‘Against Racism and Hate in the Bundestag’ protest in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. (Deutsche Welle, 22 October 2017)

23 October: A Nuremberg court sentences Wolfgang Plan, a member of the far-right Citizens of the Reich, to life imprisonment for the murder of a police officer in Bavaria in October 2016. (The Local, 23 October 2017)

26 October: Christopher Lythgoe, along with five others, Garron Helm, Matthew Hankinson, Andrew Clarke, Michael Trubini and an unnamed 22-year-old, are charged with terrorist offences, including membership of the banned National Action. Two of the men are also charged with encouragement to murder MP Rosie Cooper. (Independent, 26 October 2017)

28 October: Approximately 100 protesters attend a ‘Rally Against Grooming’ in Burslem, organised by anti-Islam group Stoke-on-Trent Infidels, at which Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen speak. A 20-year-old man is later charged with assaulting a police officer. (Stoke Sentinel, 30 October 2017)

31 October: Hundreds of anti-fascists mobilise to protect the Catalunya Radio Studios in Barcelona from further fascist incursions after it was invaded by fascists a few hours after the proclamation of the Catalan Republic. Protests also take place against fascist violence during the Spanish unity demonstrations, with Twitter hashtag #AlertaUltra used to document attacks on Indian and Pakistani-origin citizens, shops owned by citizens of Arab origin and the premises of left-wing organisations. (Hope not Hate, 31 October 2017)

31 October: After Conservative MP Bob Blackman hosted a seminar at the House of Commons with far-right Hindu nationalist speaker Tapan Ghosh (later pictured with ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson), the Charity Commission opens an investigation into the organisers, the National Council for Hindu Temples. (BBC News, 26 October 2017 and Third Sector, 31 October 2017)

Violence and harassment: abuse

25 October: Bulgarian deputy prime minister Valeri Simeonov, head of the National Council for Co-operation on Ethnic and Integration Issues, is found guilty of anti-Roma hate crime for comments he made in December 2014 as a parliamentary back-bencher, when he described Roma people as ‘our swarthy compatriots’ and ‘ferocious humanoids’ who ‘live beyond any laws, rules and general human norms of behaviour’ and act as if they have ‘only rights, but not obligations and responsibilities.’ (Sofia Globe, 25 October 2017)

26 October: Cleveland police apologise for failing to bring a key force witness to give evidence at the trial of Paul Michael Harvey, 21, for racially aggravated threats, theft and harassment, resulting in the case being dismissed for lack of evidence. (Gazette Live, 31 October 2017)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

21 October: Police arrest two people after a white man who intervened when he heard a bouncer in Manchester being racially abused is knocked unconscious. (Manchester Evening News, 26 October 2017)

22 October: One man suffers serious injuries after being racially abused and attacked by a group of white men in Bedford; two other men receive minor injuries. (Bedford Today, 23 October 2017)

26 October: A Syrian family living in Belfast speaks about racist attacks on the family and their home which started eight months ago; police are treating the attacks as racially motivated. (BBC News, 26 October 2017)

27 October: The Guardian reports a racially motivated attack on a Muslim woman in Leicester. Zaynab Hussein, 47, suffered serious injuries when she was struck by a car on 20 September. A Leicester man has been charged with attempted murder over the incident, and with attempted grievous bodily harm for an incident that same day where a car was driven at a 12-year-old girl. (Guardian, 27 October 2017)

1 November: A 31-year-old man is beaten with a metal bar in a suspected racially aggravated attack in Liverpool; police are searching for two white men on bikes. (Liverpool Echo, 1 November 2017)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

22 October: Three cars are set alight in Belfast in a series of arson attacks that police are treating as racially motivated. (BBC News, 22 October 2017) 

27 October: A family leave their home of seven years in east Belfast fearing for their safety after their car was set alight in a racially motivated arson attack. (BBC News, 27 October 2017)

30 October: A disabled pensioner in Dundee, reliant on a mobility scooter, is left housebound after the wheels of his scooter are stolen in an act which the victim believes is racially motivated. (The Courier, 30 October 2017)

Violence and harassment: charges

25 October: Chris Webster, 43, the founder of Shoeboxes for Our Heroes, is charged with causing racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress. (Derby Telegraph, 25 October 2017)

30 October: David Blagburn, 47, is charged with one count of racially aggravated harassment and a public order offence after being filmed blaming the Manchester Arena bombing on a Muslim female train passenger. (The Mail, 30 October 2017)

Violence and harassment: convictions

19 October: Sean Cameron, 30, is jailed for 18 months for racially aggravated affray and two offences of possessing offensive weapons after threatening his Polish neighbours in Hull. (Hull Daily Mail, 19 October 2017)

19 October: Ben Drennan, 22, is found guilty of racially aggravated assault and sentenced to 12 months in jail suspended for 18 months, 120 hours unpaid work, £2,800 in costs and £1,000 in compensation to his victim, who was racially abused and assaulted in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. (Examiner, 19 October 2017)

24 October: Patrick Churchley, 33, is jailed for 18 months for assault with intent to resist arrest, racially aggravated assault and two assaults on police after attacking two security guards in Bristol. (Bristol Post, 24 October 2017)

25 October: Mathew Sarsfield admits causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress and is given fines totaling £230; his co-defendant, Jamie Mullins admits racially or religiously aggravated offences and is given 40 hours of unpaid work, a 10-day rehabilitation requirement and a £285 fine, for smearing pork sausages on the door of a mosque in Sherwood in June 2017. (Nottingham Post, 25 October 2017)

26 October: Paul Hepplestall, 40, from Liverpool, is sentenced to 20 months in prison after admitting malicious communication, after filming himself in three videos abusing and threatening Muslims in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing and the London Bridge attacks. (Liverpool Echo, 26 October 2017)

26 October: Luke Nicholls, 21, is given an eight-week prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of racially aggravated assault and two public order charges, one of which was religiously aggravated, for attacking three sisters (aged 16, 22 and 23) on a train between Kings Norton and Redditch. (Halesowen News, 30 October 2017)

27 October: John Sweeney, 33, is sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for possessing a knife in a public place, two counts of racially aggravated harassment, and assaulting a police officer after racially abusing a man in Maidstone, just hours after being released from prison. (Kent Online, 30 October 2017)

28 October: Lee John Carver, 44, is jailed for twenty-seven months after pleading guilty to three charges of stirring up racial hatred by publishing anti-Islamic material on Facebook. Police also found a crossbow and a telescopic sight at his Selby home. (York Press, 28 October 2017)

30 October: Joseph Breslin, who wrote ‘Death to Allah’ on a plane’s armrest and an Islamophobic note to two Arab passengers, is ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, pay £3,604 in damages and £300 towards prosecution costs, after admitting two counts of racially or religiously aggravated harassment and one count of racially aggravated criminal damage. (News Shopper, 1 November 2017)

Violence and harassment: online racism

19 October: A Sainsbury’s worker in Derby has been arrested on suspicion of racial offences over a Snapchat video in which he insults Asian customers. (BBC News, 19 October 2017

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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