Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 October – 4 November 2021)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (20 October – 4 November 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

18 October: An international commission to drop charges against the Elhiblu 3 is launched in Malta to support three young Africans who face 30 years in prison for the alleged hijacking of a merchant vessel in 2019 when they were teenagers seeking asylum. Support the campaign here. (Times of Malta, 18 October 2021) 

20 October: Rallies in support of refugees and opposing the Nationality and Borders Bill take place in Parliament Square and in cities and towns around the country, organised by Together with Refugees, a coalition of over 300 groups. (UNHCR, 22 October 2021; Telegraph & Argus, 22 October 2021; Yorkshire Evening Post, 22 October 2021) 

20 October: In an unprecedented move, a Syrian family, deported to Turkey in 2016 despite lodging an asylum claim in Greece in an alleged illegal pushback, lodges a claim against Frontex at the European Court of Justice. (Guardian, 20 October 2021)

22 October: In Cyprus, two asylum seekers from Cameroon are left in limbo in a tent for five months after inadvertently entering a UN controlled buffer zone that divides the country along ethnic lines, with the UN refugee agency calling on Cyprus to relieve their situation and prevent their deportation by the Turkish-Cypriot agencies. (Ekathimerini, 22 October 2021)

26 October: The minister for Afghan resettlement, Victoria Atkins, admits that the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme announced in August has not yet started, with many stuck in Afghanistan fearing for their lives, while 11,000 people evacuated in August remain in hotels awaiting permanent homes. (Independent, 26 October 2021) 

2 November: Peers demand that the home secretary withdraw her claim that most people crossing the Channel in small boats are not genuine asylum seekers, or provide evidence to back it up, pointing out that they come from countries of war or persecution and that nearly 60 per cent of claims succeed. (Guardian, 2 November 2021)

Borders and internal controls

20 October: A migrant dies and nine others are injured when a car smuggling them out of the country veers off a highway into a ditch in Thessaloniki, Greece. InfoMigrants reports that, since July, 27 migrants have died in a series of deadly car crashes. (InfoMigrants, 20 October 2021)

21 October: After receiving a report that Belarusian services had pushed two migrants into the river Bug, Polish divers retrieve the body of a 19-year-old Syrian man from the river on the border between the two countries. (Politico, 21 October 2021)

21 October: In Siegendorf, Austria, two men, believed to be Syrian Kurds, are found dead after army officers stop a van travelling from Hungary with an estimated 30 migrants on board. (InfoMigrants, 21 October 2021)

22 October: European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen rejects calls by the Austrian and Lithuanian heads of state for EU funding for border fences and walls to keep migrants out of Europe. (Guardian, 22 October 2021)

23 October: A week of action against the hostile environment in health is launched by groups including Patients Not Passports and Migrants Organise around the country, from Newcastle, Sheffield and Merseyside to Brighton, Hackney and Lewisham. (Migrants Organise, 23 October 2021)

24 October: An estimated 200 Polish mothers, carrying placards stating ‘Border of death’ and ‘chanting ‘shame’ and ‘no one is illegal’, protest in front of the Border Guard headquarters in Michalowo, eastern Poland. (Deutsche Welle, 24 October 2021)

Polish women in Michalowo protesting against border violence. Credit: Sara Cincurova, Twitter.

26 October: Two Somali men are rescued from a sinking dinghy off the Essex coast near Harwich, but a third man remains missing, presumed drowned, as a search is called off. (Kent Online, 26 October 2021)

2 November: Bulgaria sends 350 extra troops to its borders with Turkey and Greece to prevent migrant arrivals from Afghanistan and Syria which have increased since July. (Ekathimerini, 2 November 2021)

Reception and detention

22 October: The Times reveals that 700 child refugees have gone missing from local authority care so far this year, after arriving from across the Channel. It is feared many are in the hands of traffickers. (Times, 22 October 2021) 

24 October: The Home Office refuses to say how many Afghan refugee families evacuated from Kabul have been able to move out of hotels into permanent homes, as local authorities complain that failures of planning and funding make decent reception and support for them impossible. (Guardian, 24 October 2021)

24 October: Freedom of information requests from Liberty Investigates reveal that 95 people have died in asylum accommodation since April 2016, twice as many as the Home Office admitted, with 36 people dying in 2020 and 33 in the first eight months of this year. (Observer, 24 October 2021)

29 October: It is revealed that asylum seekers are being housed in a former courthouse-turned-hostel in central London which boasts of its ‘authentic’ prison cells. (Guardian, 29 October 2021)

2 November: After a 23-day hunger strike by a priest and two activists in Calais, the head of France’s Office of Immigration and Integration promises to find accommodation for those currently being evicted from camps. (RFI, November 2021)

Crimes of solidarity

25 October: In Agrigento, Italy, a judge dismisses the case against Sea-Watch 3 skipper Artuto Centore for aiding illegal immigration, ruling that Centore committed no crime when he rescued 47 migrants at sea and brought them to Lampedusa in 2019 as it was his moral duty to bring them to safety. (InfoMigrants, 25 October 2021)

The Sea-Watch 3 vessel at sea.
The Sea-Watch 3 patrolling the Central Mediterranean. Credit: Sea-Watch, Wikimedia Commons.

24 October: Anti-deportation campaigners in Scotland demonstrate outside the Glasgow offices of holiday giant TUI in protest at its involvement in deportation charter flights. (Daily Record, 24 October 2021)

26 October: The Danish Supreme Court upholds a decision to deport a Danish-born man to Turkey for a weapons offence, stating that the decision did not breach the European Convention on Human Rights. (The Local, 26 October 2021)

Citizenship and nationality

29 October: The Antwerp Assize Court strips dual national Hicham Chaib, of his Belgian nationality and sentences him to life in prison in absentia for a terrorist murder in Syria. Chaib, a former head of Sharia4Belgium, joined IS and has been missing for years and could be dead. (Brussels Times, 29 October 2021)

29 October: The government inserts a new clause into the Nationality and Borders Bill to enable a person’s citizenship to be removed without informing them, if it is not ‘reasonably practicable’ to give notice, or in the interests of national security, diplomatic relations or otherwise in the public interest. (UK Parliament, 29 October 2021)


22 October: Despite his party previously ruling out working with the French far Right, the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki holds talks with Marine Le Pen to discuss what he describes as the EU’s ‘unacceptable blackmail’. (Notes from Poland, 22 October 2021)

25 October: The public prosecutor investigates Brothers of Italy MEP Carlo Fidanza, currently suspended, after allegations of money laundering for the mayoral campaign in Milan and fraternising and making racist jokes with convicted fascist Roberto Jonghi Lavarini, emerge. (Italics magazine, October 2021)

27 October: In Italy, a parliamentary motion introduced by the extreme-right League party and the Brothers of Italy to block the ‘Zan bill’ is passed, ensuring that protection from discrimination will not be extended to the LGBTQ+ community. (Euronews, 27 October 2021)

28 October: In Poland, a 140,000-strong petition from the Life and Family Foundation results in a parliamentary bill to amend freedom of assembly laws to ban pride parades and other public gestures that support any ‘sexual orientation other than heterosexual’. All-Poland Women’s Strike organises a ‘Hate-Free Zone’ protest outside parliament. (Deutsche Welle, 28 October 2021)

28 October: In the run-up to the French presidential election, writer Eric Zemmour, who has not announced his candidacy but is predicted to do so, goes on a book tour in which he tells fans ‘France’s very existence is now threatened by the planned “great replacement” of white people by brown and black people’. (The Local, 28 October 2021)

28 October: The Good Law Project launches a judicial review of a breach of the selection process after the culture secretary refuses to withdraw a statement that the next chair of the Charity Commission will need to ‘rebalance’ charities away from a ‘woke’ agenda. (Good Law Project, 28 October 2021)

29 October: The Finnish government publish ‘Equal Finland’, a 52-point action plan to dismantle structural inequality, promote workplace diversity and encourage inclusion. (Helsinki Times, 29 October 2021)

30 October: As the French president inaugurates a museum dedicated to Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus, falsely accused of treason in 1894, Eric Zemmour, also Jewish, declares that the Dreyfus affair ‘was murky’. As part of an attempt to make French history an election issue,  he repeats his claim that wartime collaborationist leader Philippe Petain saved Jewish lives rather than assisting their deportation to death camps.(Guardian, 30 October 2021)


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

20 October: German police investigating the Berserker Clan, a far-right extremist group whose members were allegedly preparing for a ‘Day X’ armed revolt, search 14 premises, seizing drugs, firearms, ammunition and other weapons. (Deutsche Welle, 20 October 2021) 

22 October: The Spanish far-right Vox party launches the ‘Madrid Forum’, an association of far-right parties in the ‘Iberosphere’ (Latin America, Spain, Portugal) formed to ‘confront the threat posed by the growth of communism on both sides of the Atlantic’ inspired by US think-tanks linked to the Republican Party, the Heritage Foundation, and others. (World Socialist Web Site, 22 October 2021; Majorca Daily Bulletin, 23 October 2021) 

22 October: German police seize weapons after stopping more than 50 far-right vigilantes who, responding to a call by Third Way to stop migrants entering the country, armed themselves with pepper spray, a bayonet, a machete and batons and congregated in the town of Guben on the Polish border. (Guardian, 24 October 2021)

25 October: Far-right groups including Britain First, Patriotic Alternative and For Britain use the resettlement of Afghan refugees to revive Islamophobic narratives, with Britain First targeting hotels housing Afghan refugees in Shropshire, Essex and Stoke-on-Trent and harassing them. (Guardian, 25 October 2021)

27 October: An Edinburgh court convicts Sam Imrie, who posted anti-Muslim hate, and threatened to burn down Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes, of terrorism offences and other crimes. (BBC News, 27 October 2021)

27 October: Chez Nous, a new Walloon far-right party whose launch, supported by Vlaams Belang and the National Rally of France, was officially banned, holds a press conference in southwest Brussels, Belgium. Several of its members are former Reform Movement members, its president has been in the Popular Party. (Archyde, 27 October 2021)

28 October: In Germany, a 53-year-old man with far-right sympathies is charged with 67 counts of making threats and incitement to racial hatred, with investigators linking him to 116 threatening letters, text messages and emails sent to public figures and signed NSU 2.0. (Deutsche Welle, 28 October 2021)

29 October: A foundation is established in rue Vanderlinden in Shaerbeek, Belgium, where in May 2002, a Moroccan couple were killed by their Vlaams-Blok supporting neighbour. (RTBF, 30 0ctober). 

30 October: In a case delayed for years due to immunity given to MEPs, a French court clears Jean Marie Le Pen of incitement to racial hatred for comments made in 2014 that, the court says, clearly targeted Jewish artists. (RTE, 30 October 2021)

30 October: Bulgarian far-right presidential candidate Boyan Rasate has his legal immunity waived after he is suspected of involvement in an attack on the Rainbow Hub, a LGBT+ community centre in Sofia which was ransacked during a trans community gathering. (Euronews, 2 November 2021; Euractiv, 1 November 2021)

31 October: Hope not Hate publishes a list of 52 local authorities in England and Wales ‘vulnerable to far-right extremism’ including so-called ‘left-behind’ and ‘well-connected’ towns and seaside resorts. (Guardian, 31 October 2021)

31 October: A Polish court grants the anti-fascist group ‘The 14 Women from the Bridge’, the exclusive right to use the route of the annual Warsaw Independence March, ensuring that a planned nationalist march cannot go along its traditional route. (RTE, 31 October 2021)


23-28 October: In Perama, Greece, seven police officers from a Special Intervention Team, claiming self-defence, are charged with involuntary homicide after opening fire on a car occupied by three unarmed Roma men, shooting dead 18-year-old Nikos Sampanis and injuring a 15-year-old boy. Initial reports suggest that over 20 or 30 bullet casings were found at the scene. At two nights of protest against the killing in Athens, police use tear gas and flash grenades to disperse crowds. (Keep talking Greece, 27 October 2021; Ekathimerini, 26 October 2021; Ekatherimini, 25 October 2021; Vice, 26 October 2021)

25 October: Former police chiefs, senior officers and advisors write to the home secretary criticising the Police Bill, stating that the public sector duty placed on all statutory agencies to tackle serious violence will undermine trust in the police, ‘exacerbate’ serious violence, and disproportionately impact on young black men. (ITV News, 25 October 2021)

26 October: Black Lives Matter activist Lowri Davies, a law student at Swansea University, says she has lodged a formal complaint with South Wales police after an undercover officer tried to recruit her as an informant. (Guardian, 26 October 2021)

26 October: The jury at the inquest into the death of Shane Bryant finds unreasonable force contributed to his death in July 2017, as this black man was restrained for 17 minutes by Leicestershire police and members of the public. (INQUEST, 26 October 2021)

26 October: Three former senior police officers say that errors in the search for the murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were due to biased policing, with a former Nottinghamshire chief constable saying an IOPC report gives ‘licence to continue to fail people of colour, and women of colour, into the future’. (Guardian, 26 October 2021)

27 October: After a video emerges of a police custody officer forcibly removing a turban from a man and stamping on it, protesters gather at Perry Barr custody suite, Birmingham. The Sikh Council UK says the incident is symptomatic of ‘growing animosity’ between West Midlands police and the Sikh community. (Express and Star, 28 October 2021)

28 October: An autopsy into the death in the Czech Republic in June of Stanislav Tomáơ finds that the Roma man died of ‘meth intoxication’ with the police saying that this proves they were not responsible. (Euronews, 28 October 2021)

28 October: In Sweden, police charge 36 people with offences including violent rioting and violence against officers in connection with events at a Black Lives Matter protest in Gothenburg in 2020. (The Local, 28 October 2021)

30 October: At the United Families and Friends Campaign 22nd annual remembrance march in London, and solidarity event in Scotland, families recall those who have died in police or prison custody, with UFFC chair Marcia Rigg expressing solidarity with Sarah Everard’s family and saying ‘my only wish is that she was marching with us today’. (Guardian, 30 October 2021, Twitter, 30 October 2021; Morning Star, 30 October 2021)

UFFC rally outside 10 Downing Street, Saturday 30 October 2021

2 November: A judge at the Old Bailey tells two Metropolitan police officers, who plead guilty to misconduct in public office, admitting sharing photographs of the murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, that they will most likely face a custodial sentence. (Guardian, 2 November 2021)

2 November: In Greece, after an internal investigation finds a ‘serious lack of coordination’ in the police pursuit that led to the fatal shooting of Roma Nikos Sampanis (see above), the minister for citizen protection announces a series of ‘efficiency’ measures for Rapid Response Units, particularly the motorcycle unit DIAS, as well as an upgrade to the Greek Police (ELAS) agency in line with more modern European standards. (Keep Talking Greece, 2 November 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.

21 October: John Ystumllyn, abducted from west Africa in 1746 and taken to Gwynedd, north Wales, there to become one of Britain’s first famous Black gardeners, is honoured with a rose named after him in celebration of his life. (Guardian, 21 October 2021)

21 October: Black fiction writer Jasmina Kuhnke cancels an appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair due to the presence of Jungeuropa, a right-wing publishing house whose head organises the anti-refugee platform ‘One percent for our Country’ and once called for her deportation. (Deutsche Welle, 21 October 2021)

25 October: A blue plaque commemorating Britain’s first black train driver, Wilston Samuel Jackson, is unveiled at King’s Cross station in London. (Guardian, 25 October 2021)

26 October: An investigation into Imperial College London’s historical links to the British empire recommends the university remove a statue and rename buildings and lecture theatres that celebrate scientists whose work advocated eugenics and racism. (Guardian, 26 October 2021)

27 October: A highly anticipated government inquiry by a ‘Congo Commission’ on Belgian colonial depredations recommends reparations to victims of the Belgian state. (L’Echo, 27 October 2021) 

30 October: At the National Trust’s Annual General Meeting, three people backed by the ‘anti-woke’ ‘Restore Trust’ group are elected to the charity’s board of trustees. The group was formed after the trust published a report that listed 93 properties with links to slavery and colonialism last year. (Guardian, 30 October 2021) 

31 October: Wilfried Zaha highlights the online racist abuse he received after Crystal Palace’s victory at Manchester City where Zaha scored the first goal and Laporte was sent off for fouling him. (Guardian, 31 October 2021)

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha. Credit: James Boyes, Flickr.

4 November: The chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club is summoned to appear before the culture, media and sport select committee after the club announces it will take no further action following an independent report into allegations of institutional racism by former player Azeem Rafiq. Yorkshire CCC’s response also excused a Yorkshire player calling Rafiq ‘p*ki’ as ‘banter’. Several of the club’s leading sponsors announce they are severing ties following the fallout from the report. (BBC Sport, 4 November 2021) 


2 November: Mayfair casino Crown London Aspinalls is found guilty of racial discrimination at an employment tribunal for accommodating a patron’s request only to have fair skinned dealers. (Guardian, 2 November 2021)


1 November: A landmark study suggests that thousands of babies in England are being born prematurely, smaller than expected or stillborn because of gross socioeconomic and racial inequalities across the country. (Guardian, 1 November 2021)

1 November: An inquest jury decides that failings by private provider Elysium Healthcare Ltd contributed to the death in Potters Bar of 16-year-old Nadia Shah on 15 January 2019 following her detention under the Mental Health Act. (Inquest media release, 1 November 2021)


21 October: The government’s official response to the education select committee June report on the educational disadvantages faced by white working-class pupils says schools should not teach ‘contested theories and opinions 
 such as white privilege’, should avoid promoting ‘partisan political views’ and must teach racial and social justice topics in a ‘balanced and factual manner’. (Guardian, 21 October 2021)

24 October: Over two thousand academics sign an open letter calling on Goldsmiths, University of London, to ‘halt the decimation’ of its English and History departments, after the university announces job cuts in the humanities, including of those with expertise in Black and Queer History and Black literature. (Guardian, 24 October 2021) 


20 October: A report by Maynooth University reveals that migrant workers on Irish fishing vessels face racial abuse, long hours, withholding of wages and food, and the threat of dismissal and deportation, all exacerbated by the lack of sectoral work permits that leave migrants at the mercy of the employer. (Guardian, 20 October 2021)

21 October: Following protests coordinated by the IWGB union, migrant cleaners at London’s Elizabeth Hotel win back £4,733 furlough wages denied them by outsourced cleaning company Pridegreen. (Freedom News, 21 October 2021)

26 October: A public protection and safety officer at Hammersmith and Fulham council and member of Jewish Voice for Labour, sacked after being videoed arguing with a protester at a rally against antisemitism in the Labour Party, wins reinstatement and lost earnings at an employment tribunal. (Guardian, 26 October 2021)  

26 October : Prominent militants such as Assa TraorĂ©, the figurehead of the most prominent French Black Lives Matter marches organised last year, as well as Jean-Luc MĂ©lenchon, head of France’s most popular left-wing party, publish an open letter supporting two union workers believed to have been fired for investigating racist incidents within the company STEF. (Mediapart, 26 October 2021) 


22 October: In the Netherlands, the national statistics agency reveals that over 1,100 children, disproportionately from Dutch ethnic minorities, were put into care after their parents were wrongly accused of making fraudulent childcare benefit claims by the tax office. (Dutch News, 22 October 2021)


20 October: Following raids by German special forces, two former paratroopers are arrested for alleged terrorist offences arising from a plan to recruit soldiers and police officers to fight on behalf of Saudi Arabia in Yemen. (Vice, 20 October 2021)


21 October: Cumbria police appeal for information following the alleged racially aggravated assault of a 33-year-old man, who was left with a cut and a bruised nose in Barrow on 9 October 2021. (The Mail, 21 October 2021)

26 October: Dorset police release images of a woman they wish to identify following an alleged racially aggravated assault on a taxi driver by a passenger in Bournemouth in July 2021. (Bournemouth Echo, 26 October 2021)  

28 October: In Denmark, two brothers, who tortured and murdered Phillip Mbuji Johansen, a bisexual Danish-Tanzanian man in June 2020, have their sentences increased from 14 to 15 years on appeal. The court reaffirms that the crime was the result of a personal relationship gone wrong and there was no racist motive. One of the brothers had a swastika and a ‘White Power’ tattoo. (The Local, 27 October 2021; Euronews 28 October 2021)

2 November: A shopkeeper from Stoke-on-Trent who speaks out about being kicked, racially abused and robbed by a group of teenagers on 14 October, reports being targeted by the same group earlier in the year. (Stoke-on-Trent Live, 2 November 2021) 

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to the ECRE, whose weekly bulletin on asylum and migration issues is an invaluable source of information.

Headline image credit: @INQUEST_ORG

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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