Calendar of Racism and Resistance (22 September – 6 October 2021)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (22 September – 6 October 2021)

News

Written by: IRR News Team


A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.

ASYLUM | MIGRATION | BORDERS | CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights

23 September: H.M., a Syrian Kurdish national, sentenced to 44 years and 15 days in prison and given a 25,000 euro fine for ‘facilitating the illegal entry of 21 third-country nationals’ (despite witness testimony that he was forced to steer a boat at gun point) loses his appeal in a court in Lesbos, Greece. (Borderline Europe, 23 September 2021)

28 September: France accuses its former colonies in the Maghreb of not doing enough to curb ‘illegal immigration’, and drastically reduces the number of visas granted to nationals from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia because these countries refuse to take back those expelled from France. (Deutsche Welle, 28 September 2021)

3 October: In Brussels, Belgium hundreds of people protest alongside sans-papiers calling for regularisation of undocumented migrants as part of the ‘We are Belgium too’ campaign. (RTBF, 3 October 2021) 

4 October: The High Court rules that a Home Office decision not to give asylum seekers money to make calls to friends and family during the pandemic is unlawful. (Guardian, 4 October 2021)

5 October: In a case brought by an asylum seeker refused permission to work, the High Court rules that a particular aspect of Home Office policy — on the granting of permission to work for asylum seekers here over a year, but only with the qualification to work in an area the shortage occupation list – was unlawful, since it failed to adequately consider the best interests of the child of an asylum seeker. (Independent, 5 October 2021)

Borders and internal controls

22 September: In response to a case brought by two Dutch citizens who say they were racially profiled by the Royal Marechausee police because of skin colour, a court rules that if border police use ethnicity as one, but not the sole criteria for selecting passengers for checks, it does not amount to discrimination. (Al Jazeera, 22 September 2021)

23 September: The UNHCR UK representative says there is no evidence the Nationality and Borders Bill will deter asylum seekers from travelling to the UK without the correct documents and criticises the bill’s differentiation between those arriving through irregular routes and those who seek sanctuary in the ‘first safe country’ as having no basis in international law. (Independent, 23 September 2021)

24 September: The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs calls for an investigation after a fifth migrant dies at the Polish border with Belarus. Polish border guards infer that the man ‘probably’ died of a heart attack as they were detaining a group of migrants from Iraq. (Euronews, 24 September 2021)

27 September: The Ocalenie Foundation reports that a 16-year-old Iraqi boy with a serious health condition died after his family were pushed back from the Polish border into Belarus despite the fact that he was vomiting blood. (Onenet, 27 September 2021)

28 September: Utopia 56 an NGO in Northern France reports the death of a 16-year-old Sudanese boy who was hit by a lorry in Calais while attempting to reach the UK. (Are You Syrious, 28 September 2021; Independent, 30 September 2021)

29 September: Work begins on a 508-kilometre fence on the Lithuanian border with Belarus, while in Latvia, more than 37 kilometres of barbed wire rolls are laid out at various sections of the border. (DPA International, 29 September 2021)

1 October: The EU Commission strikes a deal to swiftly deport people, on the move through Lithuania, back to Iraq with the help of Frontex. (Are You Syrious, 2 October 2021)

2 October: French police shoot at a dinghy of migrants with rubber bullets, to stop the boat crossing the Channel to the UK. Two migrants have been taken to hospital following the shooting. (Mirror, 2 September 2021)

Reception and detention

22 September: According to Save the Children, only 5% of refugee children living in government reception centres in Greece attend school, with the percentage dropping to 0.3% in the five centres on the Aegean islands. (InfoMigrants, 22 September 2021)

24 September: The Home Office apologises to city leaders after over 100 Afghan refugees are placed in Salford with under 24 hours’ notice. Salford’s mayor says the government’s dispersal scheme must be widened, as some of the poorest areas of the country receive ‘disproportionately more refugees and asylum seekers than wealthy areas’. (Manchester Evening News, 24 September 2021) 

25 September: Brighton and Hove City Council ask the Home Office to stop using a hotel near Hove to accommodate unaccompanied child refugees, following concerns for their wellbeing and safety. (Guardian, 25 September 2021)

26 September: Conditions for 10,000 Afghans, including 2,000 pregnant women at a US Air base in Ramstein, Germany, are described as ‘dire’. Aircraft taxiways and parking spots are being used for temporary stay stretching to weeks with outbreaks of infectious diseases contributing to the delayed airlift to the US. (News 18, 26 September 2021)

27 September: Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham accuses the government of ‘riding roughshod’ over the council by continually housing asylum seekers in hotels with ‘minimal notice’ to local councils. (Oldham Evening Chronicle, 27 September 2021)

28 September: In Lithuania, an 11-year-old refugee who crossed from Belarus with her father two months ago dies in hospital of acute cardiopulmonary dysfunction. She had been living at a refugee reception centre in Jonava where residents had protested at poor living conditions. (InfoMigrants, 28 September 2021)

28 September: The Home Office places asylum seekers in a hotel in Blackpool, despite objections that the accommodation is unsuitable and the council stating planning consent is required. (Guardian, 28 September 2021)

29 September: Around 500 asylum seekers are placed in a hostel in Southwark, London, despite the local council deeming the facility unsafe due to the inability to maintain social distancing because asylum seekers are forced to share bedrooms with multiple bunk beds. (Independent, 29 September 2021)

Citizenship

30 September: Belgian/ Moroccan dual national Ali Aarrass’ application to the European Court of Human Rights for a ruling that the Belgian government was obliged to provide consular protection during his imprisonment and torture by Moroccan authorities is rejected as manifestly unfounded, the court finding that Belgian officials tried unsuccessfully to help him. (FreeAli press release, 30 September 2021)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporates information on the Christian Right as well as information relating to the incel movement.

24 September: Following the Budapest Demographic Summit in Hungary, the prime ministers of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia endorse a joint declaration stating that ‘immigration’ is not the solution to a failing birth rate. In order to preserve ‘Europe’s Christian culture and other religious traditions’ the EU needs to increase ‘the number of European children’. (Deutsche Welle, 24 September 2021)

26 September: The far-right Alternative for Germany’s share of the vote in the German federal elections drops from 12.6% in 2017 to 10.3%. (Euronews, 26 September 2021)

27 September: The Flemish minister of justice, Zuhal Demir attacks the American ‘woke culture’ creeping into Belgium society. Referring to her Turkish-Kurdish background, she criticises ‘woke terror’ that ensures that ‘children and students of other origins are constantly…bombarded with this information’. (Brussels Times, 27 September 2021)

27 September: At risk of losing EU funding, three more Polish regions (Malopolska, Lublin, Podkarpackie) revoke anti-LGBT ‘free zones’, following the lead of the Swietokrzyskie region. (Euronews, 27 September 2021)

28-29 September: At a televised press conference called by Poland’s interior and national defence ministers, an image allegedly depicting a ‘migrant’ having sexual intercourse with a cow is broadcast with the caption ‘He raped a cow and wanted to enter Poland’. Later, exposed as a still frame from an old pornographic film, a former intelligence officer disputes claims that the image was found on the mobile phone of an Afghan refugee at the Belarus border. (Wyborcza; Notes from Poland, 29 September 2021)

30 September: Domenico Lucano, the former mayor of Riace, in Calabria, Italy, previously targeted by the former far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini, for his integration projects for migrants, is sentenced to over 13 years’ imprisonment for abetting illegal immigration and ‘irregularities’ in managing asylum seekers. (Guardian, 30 September 2021)

Portrait photo of former Mayor of Riace Domenico Lucano
The former mayor of Riace, Domenico Lucano. Credit: Argentine Ministry of Culture, Flickr.

30 September: The Maltese government unveils a two-year anti-racist strategy which commits every government ministry to drawing up an action plan and commits political parties to a no tolerance policy when it comes to vetting candidates. The review was as a response to the murder of Lassane Cissi in 2021. (Malta Today, 30 September 2021)

5 October: In the first round of elections in Italy for around 1,200 mayors, the far-right League and Brothers of Italy suffer significant losses in the cities of Rome, Milan and Naples but their support in small towns and villages, as well as the region of Calabria, remains solid. (Reuters, 5 October 2021)

5 October: Two Windrush activists are humiliated at the Tory Party conference and not allowed, after one day, free and independent access despite having paid in full and been granted accreditation. (Guardian, 5 October 2021)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, this section now incorporates information on the Christian Right as well as information relating to the incel movement.

20 September: Spanish prosecutors launch an investigation into potential hate crimes after neo-Nazis march through the neighbourhood of Chueca, where Pride is held annually, shouting ‘get fags out of our neighbourhood’ and expressing contempt for migrants, particularly unaccompanied children. (El Pais, 20 September 2021)

21 September: In Paris, France, the trial begins of 6 OAS members, an ultra-nationalist group whose objective is to ‘fight against the Islamisation of France’ and to create change in via terrorism. (Middle East Eye, 22 September 2021)

21 September: Overruling an earlier court decision, an upper administrative court in Saxony, Germany rules that ‘Hang the Greens’ Third Way posters are an incitement to hatred and must be taken down. (Deutsche Welle, 22 September 2021)

22 September: A gunman who shot dead a 20-year-old cashier at a gas station in Idar-Oberstein Germany after a row about wearing a mask, is linked to Covid conspiracy theories and the far Right. (Independent, 22 September 2021)

27 September: Demonstrators from Britain First protest outside a Wigan hotel accommodating asylum seekers, after allegations that residents had been harassing schoolgirls, despite the case being closed and police stating no offences have been committed. (Wigan Today, 27 September 2021)

29 September: Despite leader Paul Golding having criminal convictions for terrorist offences and religiously-aggravated harassment, the Electoral Commission rules that Britain First, a party that had previously been fined for breaches of electoral law and deregistered, meets the legal criteria to register as a political party. (Independent, 29 September 2021)

29 September: Britain First’s leader and former deputy leader pay substantial damages for defamation against the Halal Food Authority and two employees whom they accused of financing terrorism. (Independent, 29 September 2021)

29 September: In Greece, riot police are deployed after far-right Golden Dawn activists enter a vocational high school in Stavroupoli, Thessaloniki, attacking students protesting against educational reforms by hurling petrol bombs, flares and rocks. (Euronews, 29 September 2021)

1 October: Around 100 far-right activists, some giving the Nazi salute, riot outside a second school in Evosmos, Thessaloniki, Greece. At the Stavroupoli school (see above) police prevent members of a parent-teacher association from meeting with school authorities to address the violence. (Ekathimerini, 1 October 2021)

4 October: The Polish government criticises a decision by the UK to deny entry to far-right journalist Rafal Ziemkiewizc, who holds antisemitic, anti-Islamic and homophobic views. Rupa Huq MP, who had previously spoken out against a proposed UK speaking tour by Ziemkiewizc, receives a wave of online racist abuse. (Vice, 4 October 2021)

4 October: In Thessaloniki, Greece, the far-Right use chains and tasers to attack members of the Communist Youth and the Communist party. Golden Dawn’s Youth Front congratulates the perpetrators and the education minister says that ‘those who attacked the fascists also exercised violence’. (Euractiv, 4 October 2021)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

21 September: A demonstration takes place in Zurich, Switzerland to protest against police violence following the killing at the end of August of a Black man, known as Nzoy, involving officers in the middle of the train station. (RTS, 22 September 2021)

Protest in Zurich, Switzerland following the killing of a Black man, Nzoy, involving police officers. Credit: @ajour_mag

23 September: Footage emerges of Metropolitan Police Officers allegedly ‘brutalising’ 13-year-old Benjamin Olajive during a stop and search in Streatham, while officers searched for a black person carrying a knife. The police found an afro comb on him. (The Canary, 23 September, 2021)

26 September: Independent analysis of CCTV footage of the violent police beating of an unnamed North African young man in Noisy Le Grand, exposes inconsistencies in the French officers’ account of the incident.(Le Media, 26 September). 

27 September: The Shadow Home Secretary reveals Labour’s plans to be ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’, including a ‘major recruitment drive’ to boost the number of special constables, a national rollout of ‘police hubs’ with neighbourhood crime prevention teams to crack down on antisocial behaviour and increase police visibility. In the speech to Labour party conference, Nick Thomas-Symonds suggests the government has ‘defunded the police’. (Guardian, 27 September 2021, Guardian, 28 September 2021)

28 September: It is revealed that the Mayor of London’s office has approved a decision by the Metropolitan Police to buy and use retrospectively facial recognition technology to boost surveillance capabilities, despite studies showing that facial recognition systems suffer from race-, age- and ethnicity-related biases. (Computing News, 28 September 2021)

30 September: In Belgium, the appeal begins of the police officer who shot and killed 2-year-old Mawda in 2018 for which he received a one-year suspended sentence, which he is trying to overturn. (Are You Syrious, 29 September 2021)

1 October: As Wayne Couzens receives a whole-life imprisonment sentence for the murder of Sarah Everard, whom he lured into his car using his police warrant card and handcuffs to stage a false arrest, it is revealed that he was part of a WhatsApp group involving police officers sharing misogynistic, racist and homophobic messages. Two Met officers and one former Met officer are placed under criminal investigation. (Guardian, 1 October 2021)

4 October: Research by the Greens on the London Assembly finds that young people may be encouraged into carrying knives by supposedly frightening Metropolitan Police tweets of weaponry seized. Such images can contribute to a sense that carrying weapons is widespread and might prompt young people to consider ‘upgrading tools’. (Guardian, 4 October 2021)

4 October: The inquest opens into the death of 29-year-old Shane Bryant following restraint by Leicestershire police on 15 July 2017. (Inquest, release 4 October 2021)

CULTURE | MEDIA | SPORT

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 September: Italian boxing’s governing body is criticised for allowing a live televised super-featherweight title fight between Hassan Nourdine, an Italian of Moroccan descent, and Michelle Broili, whose body was covered with Nazi tattoos, and whose supporters allegedly gave the fascist salute and sang Nazi songs to go ahead in Trieste. (Arab News; Guardian, 21 September 2021)

22 September: Ofcom, the UK media regulator finds that Britons are now more concerned about the use of racist and transphobic language on television and more tolerant of swearing, in their latest investigation into changing social attitudes. (Guardian, 22 September 2021)

29 September: Wales honours Betty Campbell, the first black woman in the country to become a head teacher, with a statute in an open-air public space. Her school, Mount Stuart primary in Butetown, Cardiff, became a model for best practice in equality and multicultural education throughout the UK. (Guardian, 29 September 2021) 

30 September: Footballer Romaine Sawyers urges fellow players to report abuse to the police as one of his own club’s supporters was jailed for eight weeks and fined over £1,000 for racially abusing him, following an investigation carried out by the UK’s first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit. (Guardian, 30 September 2021)

1 October: The first permanent artwork to honour the Windrush generation is unveiled in the London borough of Hackney, created by the artist Veronica Ryan. (Guardian, 1 October 2021)

1 October: A group against the work on colonialism and slavery conducted by the National Trust, supported by the Common Sense group of Tory MPs, is campaigning, using hash tags like #empirestrikesback, to get 6 candidates, including a Christian Fundamentalist leader, elected to the NT council at the AGM. (Guardian, 1 October 2021)

4 October: Jermaine Jenas, the former England footballer turned TV presenter, urges the government to sanction social media companies that fail to stamp out racism and abuse on their platforms. Jenas finds no improvement in policing and banning racists since the Euro 2020 finals. (Guardian, 4 October 2021) 

4 October: David Walliams’ story about a Chinese boy called Brian Wong, which was deplored by campaigners for its ‘casual racism’, is to be removed from future editions of his short story collection ‘The World’s Worst Children’, following criticism from the Asian Leadership Collective. (Guardian, 4 October 2021)

5 October: The London home of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery in the US in the mid-19th century and fled to England, gets a blue plaque to celebrate their efforts in helping to organise the London Emancipation Society and arguing for the abolition of slavery in the UK. (Guardian, 5 October 2021)

Blue plaque dedicated to Ellen and William Craft. Credit: Spudgun67, Flickr

EDUCATION

23 September: FOI requests by a network of 51 charities reveal that black Caribbean girls were permanently excluded from school at twice the rate of white girls during 2019-20, with this tripling for mixed white and Caribbean girls and quadrupling for girls from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. (Guardian, 23 September 2021)

25 September: A Newham primary school in London is accused of discrimination and abuse of a black severely disabled child, as a teaching assistant resigns claiming multiple complaints about the boy’s treatment were ignored by the school leadership. (Independent, 25 September 2021)

30 September: Linguists and English language experts criticise London secondary school Ark All Saints Academy after it bans the use in formal contexts of colloquial language and slang including Black English words such as ‘bare’ and ‘long’. (Guardian, 30 September 2021)

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

26 September: The government is forced to make a post-Brexit U-turn decision to grant temporary visas to allow 5,000 non-UK HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers to take up employment in the UK until Christmas Eve. (Evening Standard, 26 September 2021)

28 September: The Malta Employers’ Association, the prime minister and the president condemn an employer who allegedly left a migrant worker, who had fallen multiple storeys from a construction site in Mellieha, abandoned on the side of the road because he had no work permit. Jaiteh Lamen says his boss told him to tell the police he was hit by a car. (Times of Malta, 28, 29 September 2021)

29 September: In Italy a man named Omar from sub-Saharan Africa dies in a fire in a disused concrete factory, squatted by olive grove migrant workers in Castelvetrano, Sicily. The cause of the fire is not yet known. (Are You Syrious, 1 October 2021; Fuorimercato, 30 September 2021)

5 October: A former Uber driver is suing the company for indirect race discrimination after the ride-hailing app’s facial recognition technology failed to verify his identity and subsequently deactivated his account. (Guardian, 5 October 2021)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

24 September: An investigation by the Eritrean Da’aro Youth Project reveals that the government is unaware of the higher rates of suicide and mental health issues amongst child refugees, and finds no system in place to log refugees who commit suicide. (My London News, 24 September 2021)

4 October: A new drug treatment for sickle cell disease, a serious and lifelong health condition that is particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean background, is the first to be approved in 20 years. (Independent, 4 October 2021)

HOUSING | POVERTY | WELFARE

2 October: Sanctuary Housing denies accusations of racial discrimination after it emerges that the only black tenant in a housing complex in Worcester pays more rent than white neighbours. (Independent, 2 October 2021)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

23 September: In Lancashire, a 34-year-old man is arrested after a video emerges, in which a man punches down a plastic shield, whilst shouting racial abuse at the shopkeeper, and knocks a till to the floor with his fists. (LancsLive, 23 September 2021)

24 September: A 25-year-old Chinese man requires facial surgery after a vicious unprovoked racial attack by a group of 10 teenagers in a Cambridgeshire supermarket on September 18, which left him with a broken nose. (Cambridgeshire Live, 24 September 2021) 

25 September: A family picnic in a Bristol Park, organised to celebrate the progress of Somali women, is disrupted in a suspected racist and Islamophobic attack as children are chased and terrorised whilst some parents are assaulted. (BBC News, 25 September 2021) 

26 September: In Clermont-Ferrand, central France, racist and Islamophobic tags are placed around the city, calling for the death of Arabs, and strongly condemned by the local mayor on twitter. (France Bleu, 27 September 2021)

27 September: In Landes, southwest France anti-racist organisations SOS racisme and MRAP with the family of Saïd El Barkaoui, who was murdered in 2018, hold a press conference to call for justice on the eve of the trial of Claud Gorsky that begins on the 1 October for the racially motivated murder of Saïd. (France Bleu, 27 September 2021)

28 September: Dorset Police appeal for information following a racially aggravated assault in Poole on 28 September, during which a woman, in her 40s, was struck by a reversing vehicle and then racially abused by its driver. (Dorset Police, 4 October 2021)

30 September: Three boys, aged 15, 16 and 17, are arrested in connection with a series of racially aggravated crimes in Cambridge, which took place between August and September and included incidents of racial assault, robbery, theft and assault causing grievous bodily harm. (Cambridgeshire Constabulary, 30 September 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.


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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