Calendar of racism and resistance (23 December 2016 – 12 January 2017)

Calendar of racism and resistance (23 December 2016 – 12 January 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

Freedom from Torture22 November: Freedom from Torture publishes a report: Proving Torture, Demanding the impossible: Home Office mistreatment of expert medical evidence. Download the report here (pdf file, 1.6mb)

21 December: Human Rights Watch condemns the Home Office for its ‘non-transparent and arbitrary’ process for transferring unaccompanied child refugees to the UK, saying that siblings have been separated and children’s mental health affected. (Guardian, 21 December 2016)Human Rights Watch

23 December: The Upper Tribunal finds that the Home Office abused its power in using ‘duress and manipulation’ to force a college to expel a student, thus depriving him of a right of appeal against the refusal to extend his leave. (Free Movement, 11 January 2017)

23 December: The French supreme administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, rules that the €4.20 daily rent allowance to asylum seekers not placed in reception centres is ‘manifestly insufficient’, and orders the prime minister to set a higher level within two months. (AIDA, 2 January 2017)

23 December: A Guardian investigation suggests that the UNHCR, the Greek government and the EU’s aid department, ECHO, completely mismanaged a multi-million euro fund earmarked for vulnerable refugees in Europe, leaving thousands sleeping in freezing conditions in Greece. (Guardian, 23 December 2016)

24 December: A 17-year-old from Congo dies in Dunkirk, France, falling from a lorry he attempted to board to cross to England. (Passeurs d’hospitalités, 28 December 2016)

28 December: Thirty-six child asylum seekers who were in Calais before their eviction and dispersal issue a legal challenge to the home secretary, accusing the government of reneging on its commitments under the ‘Dubs amendment’. (Guardian, 28 December 2016)

28 December: It is revealed that an immigration enforcement operation between 27 November and 3 December targeting people at risk of modern slavery resulted in 97 arrests and 68 businesses warned that they could face fines. (Guardian, 28 December 2016)

29 December: 61-year-old Mikel Zuloaga and 59-year-old Begoña Huarte, members of a Basque refugee welcome group, are released on bail by a Greek court, 24 hours after being arrested by the Igoumenitsa coastguard and charged with trafficking for attempting to take eight refugees to the Basque country in a camper van. 13,000 people signed an online petition for their release, and Greek migrant support and anti-racist organisations sign a statement in support of the pair. (Ekathimerini, 30 December 2016)

unhcr-logo1 January: UNHCR releases statistics revealing that 2016 was the deadliest year for refugees travelling across the Mediterranean to Europe, with 5,022 deaths, although the number of people crossing went down from over a million to around 360,000. (Open Migration, 1 January 2017)

2 January: Riots break out in the Cona asylum centre, Venice, after Sandrine Bakayoko, a young woman from the Ivory Coast, is found dead in the bathroom. Residents complain that an ambulance took 8 hours to arrive, and about appalling conditions, and hold 25 employees of Cooperativa Ecofficina, which holds the government contract to run the grossly overcrowded centre, until police arrive. (Are you Syrious? 4 January 2017)

2 January: Bulgarian border police find the body of a Somali woman near Ravadinovo, south-east Bulgaria, near the Turkish border. She died of exposure. Her companions, a group of 31 migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, who were detained the day before the discovery, say they had to leave her as she was too weak to continue walking. (Bordermonitoring Bulgaria, 3 January 2017)

4 January: Three hundred people protest outside a Nice court as olive farmer Cédric Herrou goes on trial for ‘aiding illegal immigration’ after opening a disused holiday village to migrants. Herrou, an activist in the solidarity group Roya Citizenship, whose members help migrants cross the border into France from Italy, was previously arrested in August for trying to smuggle eight Eritreans into France, but charges were dropped when prosecutors accepted his humanitarian motives. (Guardian, 4 January 2017)

5 January: An unidentified man whose body was found inside an HGV trailer in Kent last October, after authorities in France had searched the vehicle and removed ten Eritreans attempting to enter the UK clandestinely, died from ‘traumatic compressive asphyxia’, an inquest is told. (Guardian, 5 January 2017)

6 January: Bulgarian police reveal that the bodies of two migrants, Iraqi men aged 28 and 35, were found by villagers in Izvor, near the Turkish border. A post-mortem finds that they died of exposure and extreme cold. (Bordermonitoring Bulgaria, 7 January 2017)

6 January: Nice professor Pierre Alain Mannoni is acquitted of aiding illegal immigration after giving three Eritrean women a lift shortly after their arrival from Italy, as the court rules that he acted to help persons in distress. (Telegraph, 7 January 2017)

Corporate_Watch6 January: Corporate Watch publishes an update to its earlier report on charter flights: Deportation Charter Flights Fact Sheet January 2017. View it here or download a copy here (pdf file, 174kb).

Medecins sans frontieres8 January: Médecins sans Frontieres accuses Paris police of systematic violence towards migrants sleeping rough on the streets, including using tear gas to disperse them and stealing their blankets, putting lives at risk. The charity has had to treat several people close to hypothermia, it claims. (Independent, 8 January 2017)

8 January: The German vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, threatens to withdraw development aid from countries which do not cooperate with deportations of refused asylum seekers. (The Local, 9 January 2017)

irc-mental-health-report9 January:  The Centre for Mental Health publishes a report: Immigration Removal Centres in England: A mental health needs analysis. Download the report here.

10 January: Asylum seekers in Moria camp, Lesbos, write an open letter to the European Commission demanding an end to removals to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal, which they say has led to the death of a child denied access to medical treatment in Turkey and deportations to Syria. The letter also describes the conditions in the camp, which have caused deaths, and calls on the Commission to comply with EU law on reception conditions and access to fair procedures. Read the letter here.

10 January: As more European countries resume deportations to Afghanistan, UNHCR declares the country ‘a continual emergency’ which is not safe for returns. (IRIN, 10 January 2017)

11 January:  SNP MP Alison Thewliss calls on parliament to return the right to work for asylum seekers, after research by Warwick University finds that returning these rights could save tens of millions of pounds of public money. (The National (Scot), 11 January 2017)

11 January:  The Home Office and Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner publish: Review of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, download it here.


5 January: A lawsuit brought by the deputy mayor of Six-Four-Les-Plages in Var, France, to stop a primary school giving after-school classes in Arabic, fails. During the case it emerges that the  local authority had twice sent police to investigate the lessons. (Al Jazeera, 5 January 2017)

9 January: Middle East Eye reports allegations that a senior NUS official plotted against the NUS president, Malia Bouattia, with the help of the Israeli embassy. (Middle East Eye, 9 January 2017)


26 December: Black engineering graduates are less likely to find jobs than white students with lower-ranked degrees, according to a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) that reveals stark inequalities within the profession. (Guardian, 26 December 2016)

27 December: Children of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin in Britain, who have outperformed other ethnic groups to achieve rapid improvements at every level of education, are significantly less likely to be employed in managerial or professional jobs than their white counterparts, says the government’s Social Mobility Commission. (Guardian, 27 December 2016)

tuc_logoJanuary 2017: The TUC launches an online survey to give workers an opportunity to talk about racial discrimination and harassment they have experienced or witnessed in the workplace. The survey is open to anyone, whether union members or not. Running until 27 February 2017, it has been designed to disclose the everyday reality of racism faced by many black workers. (Responses will remain confidential and anonymous.) The short survey can be accessed here.

Far Right

22 December: Beziers FN-backed mayor Robert Menard is charged with inciting hatred or discrimination. The case focuses on two statements, in which he implied that there were too many Muslim students in the city’s classrooms. (BBC News, 22 December 2016)

26 December: South Yorkshire police have spent 99.5 per cent of their total expenditure on protests, nearly £5m, on policing far-right protests, since the beginning of 2012, figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show. (Guardian, 26 December 2016)

26 December: Police chiefs in charge of the Prevent anti-extremism strategy report a rise in the number of people being referred to the scheme for far-right links. About one in 10 referrals nationwide are of far Right supporters. (Guardian, 26 December 2016)

28 December: Cologne police ban a neo-Nazi National Democratic Party New Year’s Eve protest to mark the anniversary of the sexual assaults that took place a year ago in the city, citing a ‘serious security threat, which cannot be averted otherwise.’ (International Business Times, 28 December 2016)

30 December: Finnish neo-Nazi Jesse Torniainen is jailed for two years for an aggravated assault on anti-fascist Jimi Kartunnen during a demonstration in September 2016. Kartunnen, who sustained a head injury when he fell to the ground, died six days later.  (Associated Press, 30 December 2016)

9 January: The Daily Record exposes 34-year-old Colin Robertson from Linlithgow as the author of the far-right Millennial Woes blog which publishes videos inciting hatred against black people and Jews. (Daily Record, 9 January 2017)

7 January: Far right group South East Alliance holds a poorly attended demonstration against the planned expansion of Maidstone mosque, which is met with a much larger counter-protest. (Kent Online, 7 January 2017)

11 January: A 21-year-old man is arrested over comments made at an event in Blackpool in March 2016 and online posts on social media relating to ‘right wing extremism’ as part of banned terror group National Action. (BBC News, 11 January 2017)


31 December: Homelessness among BAME communities has rocketed since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, the Independent reveals, pointing to figures indicating that 5,030 BAME households were categorised as homeless between July and September 2016 – up from 3,310 during the same period in 2010. (Independent, 31 December 2016)


28 December: The Czech government says that ‘fake news, predominantly about migrants’, is being spread on websites supported by the Russian government in order to influence the October elections. A Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats is set up to scrutinise disinformation. (Guardian, 28 December 2016)

7 January: German media and politicians condemn Breitbart News for spreading fake news, hate and propaganda after its online edition falsely claimed  that a  ‘mob’ chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ set fire to a church in Dortmund on New Year’s Eve. (Guardian, 7 January 2016)

5 January: LBC hires Nigel Farage to host a phone-in radio show four times weekly, saying ‘Farage will bring his inside knowledge, experience and grasp of world politics to LBC at a pivotal time in our history’. (LBC, 5 January 2017)

Policing and criminal justice

22 December: The family of Krishna Chummun, a teenager whose body was found in the Thames last year, claim that a catalogue of errors led to their son’s death being wrongly determined as a suicide, and accuse Metropolitan police service staff of racist behaviour. (Guardian, 22 December 2016)

23 December: A special constable in Leicester who was filmed last year using racist language while off duty is dismissed. He allegedly tried to have the mobile phone footage deleted when he learned it had been sent to senior officers. (Leicester Mercury, 23 December 2016)

sean_rigg23 December: A policeman suspended over the death of Sean Rigg in police custody eight years ago, and still on a £44,000 a year salary, is ordained as a deacon in the Church of England. (Brighton Argus, 23 December 2016)

2 January: Mohammed Yassar Yaqub, 28, is shot dead during a ‘pre-planned police operation’ near Huddersfield. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 3 January 2017)

2 January: After a New Year’s Eve tweet from an officer emerges claiming hundreds of ‘Nafris’ have been checked, and it is revealed that over 900 north Africans were issued with orders banning them from entering the area round the cathedral, Cologne police are accused of racism and racial profiling. (The Local, 2 January 2017)

5 January: A constable of Malaysian origin lodges papers at an employment tribunal alleging a ‘culture of racism’ within the Police Service of Northern Ireland; claiming that he was called a ’n****r’ and ‘black b*****d’ by fellow officers. (Irish News, 5 January 2017)

6 January: Labour MP Kate Green calls for an inquiry into the overrepresentation of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) children in the youth justice system. Read a report by the Traveller Movement, Overlooked and Overrepresented: Gypsy, Traveller and Roma children in the youth justice system here (pdf file, 646kb). (Children & Young People Now, 6 January 2017)

11 January: A DJ reveals that he was stopped by a police officer in London who told him: ‘This isn’t racist, this is a fact, predominantly the people who do it [crime] are black’. The exchange was filmed by a dashboard camera on DMO Deejay’s car. The police have since apologised. (Buzzfeed News and BBC News, 11 and 12 January 2017)

12 January: West Midlands Police reveal that Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s speech at last year’s Conservative Party conference, in which she suggested tightening the rules allowing UK firms to recruit from overseas, was reported to it as ‘hate speech’ by an Oxford University professor. The police said no crime had been committed. (BBC News, 12 January 2017)

Violence and harassment

17 December: A taxi driver parked in Basingstoke is assaulted by the driver of another vehicle, who punches him in the face repeatedly, racially abuses him and damages his car. (Basingstoke Gazette, 21 December 2016)

27 December: Department of Education statistics reveal that the number of primary school pupils suspended for racist abuse has increased by a third in five years. (Guardian, 27 December 2016)

29 December: Dutch police suspect arson after a fire breaks out at the site where the Association of Islamic Communities planned to build a mosque in Culemborg, central Netherlands. (The Daily Sabah, 29 December 2016)

29 December: A Derby taxi driver is left sickened after video footage of a racist attack on him is published online. In the attack he was bitten, threatened and abused by a couple who said they had no money. (Derby Telegraph, 29 December 2016)

31 December: CCTV footage is released of a ‘horrific’ attack in Liverpool on 28 December, treated by the police as racially motivated, which left the victim with significant injuries to his head and upper body. (Liverpool Echo, 31 December 2016)

31 December: A Worcester taxi driver suffers a fractured skull, an eye haemorrhage and a broken nose after being attacked at a taxi rank; police arrest a 16-year-old and two 18-year-old men on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated assault. (Worcester News, 5 January 2017)

2 January: Residents of Porin reception centre, Zagreb, Croatia stage a protest against police inaction in the face of attacks on asylum seekers on New Year’s Eve by four masked men. A young man, a young woman and four more asylum seekers were injured in the attacks, but police were reluctant to investigate. (Are you Syrious? 2 January 2017)

3 January: Four Chelsea football fans are convicted of racist violence and given suspended prison sentences after a black commuter was pushed off a Paris Métro train in 2015, while fans chanted: ‘We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.’ (Guardian, 3 January 2017)

7 January: A 15-year-old Syrian refugee who was attacked on the street in Bremen by a group of young men in the early hours of 1 January dies in hospital of his injuries. Bremen police say there is no evidence of racist motivation. (Enough is Enough, 7 January 2017)

7 January: The Polish Social and Cultural Association claims that Polish people living in Britain are too scared to report hate crimes for fear of losing their right to remain as a result of Brexit. (Guardian, 7 January 2017)

9 January: John Nimmo, from South Shields, previously jailed for sending abusive message on Twitter, admits further charges including anti-Semitic death threats to Luciana Berger MP. He is remanded in custody for sentencing in February. (Northern Echo, 9 January 2017)


24 December: An internal document seen by the Guardian shows that Rother district council, covering Camber Sands beach where seven men drowned last summer, blamed the deaths on the limitations of ‘non-swimming persons of a certain culture’. Five of the people who died were Tamil, one was described as of Asian origin, and another was Brazilian. The council provides no lifeguards at the beach. (Guardian, 24 December 2016)

Party politics

27 December: Romania’s president rejects the new Social Democrat government’s proposal to appoint Sevil Shhaideh to be the country’s first female and first Muslim prime minister. (Guardian, 27 December 2016)

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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