Calendar of Racism and Resistance (23 October – 2 November 2020)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (23 October – 2 November 2020)

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 AND MIGRATION

Asylum and migrant rights

24 October: The government reduces the minimum salary for migrants to settle in the UK from £35,800 to £20,480 under new rules coming into force in December. The new lowered threshold is seen as a tacit acknowledgement of the essential contribution that lower paid migrant workers make to the UK. (Guardian, 24 October 2020)  

25 October: The Permanent People’s Tribunal on asylum and migrant rights Berlin issues a statement criticising the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum for virtually ignoring the human rights of migrants and refugees and focusing instead on militarisation of the borders, increased deportations and policies designed to keep refugees in regions of origin. Read the statement here. (PPT, 26 October 2020)

30 October: The one-year-old son of Mercy Baguma, whose death in a Glasgow flat in August sparked an outcry, is granted asylum along with his father. (Guardian, 30 October 2020) 

2 November: The European Court of Human Rights launches infringement proceedings against Hungary for its ‘incorrect application of EU asylum legislation’, the practice whereby asylum seekers are not allowed to make claims in Hungary but directed to Hungarian embassies in Serbia and the Ukraine. (InfoMigrants, 2 November 2020) 

Borders and internal controls

20 October: Greece begins extending its border wall with Turkey, adding 16 miles of five-metre high fencing to the existing 6 miles and upgrading its camera surveillance network to cover the whole 120-mile Greek-Turkish border. It is also trialling mobile sirens to deter migrants as they attempt to cross the border. (Guardian, 20 October 2020) 

25 October: An electrician, wrongly classified as an ‘illegal immigrant’ despite living in London for over 45 years, remained destitute as he waited a year for the Windrush taskforce to decide on his application to stay in the UK, a wait described as ‘shocking’ by the parliamentary ombudsman in a detailed report published this week. Applications to the taskforce should be decided within two weeks. (Guardian, 25 October 2020)  

25 October: Seven stowaways suspected of attempting a hijack are detained following a raid by the Special Boat Service on a tanker off the Isle of Wight. (Guardian, 25 October 2020) 

27 October: Five members of a Kurdish Iranian family die in the Channel whilst attempting to reach the UK on a small boat; the father and a 15-month-old child drown and two children, aged 8 and 5, along with their mother, die of heart failure after being pulled from the sea. Two more adults die. 14 others are rescued. The UNHCR’s UK representative calls for an immediate resumption of the refugee resettlement scheme. (Al Jazeera, 27 October; Guardian, 30 October 2020)  

28 October: Frontex launches an internal inquiry after a joint investigation by a number of media outlets suggests it is complicit in maritime ‘pushback’ operations in the Mediterranean. The investigation documented six incidents and broadcast a video appearing to show a Frontex EU Border Force vessel illegally pushing back a migrant boat in the Aegean Sea. (Bellingcat, 23 October; Guardian, 24 October; InfoMigrants, 28 October 2020) 

28 October: MEPs and campaigners criticise Frontex for investing €100m (£90) in drone surveillance technology over the Mediterranean Sea, allowing it to monitor migrants from afar and shirk responsibility towards people in distress. (Guardian, 28 October 2020) 

Reception and detention

20 October: The annual report of HM Chief Inspector of Prisons finds an increase in self-harm among immigration detainees. (Prisons Inspectorate, 20 October 2020) 

23 October: A lockdown at the Vial camp in Chios, Greece, imposed on 10 October, is extended to 14 November after 47 people test positive for COVID-19.  (Efsyn, 23 October 2020) 

23 October: HM chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, issues a damning report into short-term holding centres, finding child refugees ‘betrayed’ by being detained in adult detention centres or sent to hotels with no supervision, migrants straight from the beach or sea having to stay in wet clothing for hours at a Dover centre, and some detainees held for over two days in rooms with no beds, showers or hand-washing facilities. (Guardian, 23 October; Independent, 23 October 2020)  

25 October: Following a supreme court ruling in November 2019, that asylum seekers posing no threat of absconding had been unlawfully detained pending their removal under the Dublin Regulation, over 20 asylum seekers, including torture survivors, launch compensation claims against the Home Office. (Guardian, 25 October 2020)  

29 October: In Malta a magistrate orders the release of an Ivorean man illegally held at the Safi detention centre for 144 days after being rescued at sea in June  and raises concerns about a ‘substantial number’ of similar cases. (Times of Malta, 29 October  2020) 

29 October:  As riot police clear the last remaining residents of the independentlyrun PIKPA camp, the Legal Centre Lesvos issues a joint NGO statement pointing out that the  brutal evacuation took place without notification on the very day that the European Court of Human Rights was hearing an application for suspension of the removal of two vulnerable residents from PIKPA. (Lesvos Solidarity, press release, 29 October 2020) 

30 October: Camp Residents of Penally is formed by asylum seekers recently accommodated at the disused army base in Tenby, North Wales. Its constitution states that the union is to ‘meet their own needs’,  including ‘wellbeing and educational’ and connect with the wider community . (Voice.wales, 30 October 2020) 

30 October: Charities condemn a rise of 3p per week in asylum support to £39.63 as a ‘cold-hearted insult’ and renew calls to increase rates in line with the £20 weekly increase to universal credit. (Guardian, 30 October 2020)  

1 November: After an order by the High Court to conduct a review, the Home Office admits that thousands of asylum seekers who were placed in emergency temporary accommodation during the pandemic should have been entitled to financial support. Immigration minister Chris Philp says individuals in asylum accommodation will now receive £8 a week- a U-turn that charities say comes too late. (Independent, 1 November 2020)  

2 November: A high court rules that unaccompanied child migrants cannot be placed in adult hotel accommodation after three young asylum seekers arrived in the UK in July and August this year and were housed in a hotel by Hillingdon Council. They have now won the right to be placed in the care of social services after Mrs Justice Lang ruled that Hillingdon Council had failed to discharge its duties under the Children Act 1989’. (Guardian, 2 November 2020)  

2 November: Fifteen tents are destroyed as a small brush fire takes hold in a refugee camp in Samos Greece, which is designed to hold 650 people but now accommodates 4,200. No one is injured. (Ekathimerini, 2 November 2020) 

Deportations

21 October: Immigration rules to come into force on 1 January will allow the Home Office to deport foreign rough sleepers, a policy which the high court ruled unlawful under current rules in 2017 and which charities describe as a ‘huge step backwards’ that could prevent vulnerable people from asking for help. (Guardian, 21 October 2020)  

21 October: The Court of Appeal rules unlawful the policy of removing migrants from the UK at too short notice to allow them access to justice, a ruling affecting over 40,000 people removed. Some have already been recognised as having been removed unlawfully and have been returned to the UK and granted leave to remain. (Guardian, 21 October 2020)  

27 October: The European Court of Human Rights rules that Belgium breached international law in 2017 when it deported a Sudanese man to Khartoum without determining the risks he might have faced upon return and with the cooperation of Sudanese security officials, a ruling which highlights the Belgian authorities’ failure to protect people fleeing human rights violations. (Amnesty International, press release, 27 October 2020)  

POLICING, CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND MILITARY

For more information on policing and civil liberties issues follow @NETPOL @BigBrotherWatch @COVIDStateWatch and @libertyhq.

22 October: The Metropolitan Police apologises for errors made in an investigation into a vicious racist attack on Niyad Farah, 38, and her two friends on 22 December 2019. The Met police had questioned whether she had been buying something from the attackers; had taken no statement from her or her two friends; had failed to secure CCTV footage, now lost. (Guardian, 22 October 2020) 

23 October: Freedom of information requests by Justice Gap and an analysis of recent ministry justice statistics show that, despite receiving 157 applications, just £10,000 has been paid out over the last two years in compensation for wrongful convictions. (Justice Gap, 23 October 2020)  

23 October: New figures reveal that a quarter of people shot by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the last five years were Black. (Action on Armed Violence, 23 October 2020) 

26 October: More than 800 ex-judges and legal figures sign a letter calling on the home secretary and prime minister to end their attacks on lawyers and to apologise. (Guardian, 26 October 2020) 

27 October: Home Office figures for 2019-2020 reveal that Black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people in England and Wales. Figures also show that 76 per cent of stops led to no further action, and that stops under section 60 (where no reasonable suspicion is required) rose by 35per cent. (Guardian, 27 October 2020) 

28 October: A report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct determines that the Metropolitan Police have committed multiple errors in its use of stop and search which have undermined its legitimacy. The report cites the Met Police’s ‘lack of understanding about disproportionality’, ‘consistent use of force over seeking cooperation, [and] the failure to use body-worn video from the outset’. (Guardian, 28 October 2020) 

28 October: A public inquiry into undercover policing is poised to reveal details of how police repeatedly spied on Black justice groups, including bereaved families whose relatives were killed by police or died in custody. Among those spied on were the justice campaigns over the death of Stephen Lawrence and the fatal police shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. (Guardian, 28 October 2020) 

29 October: Two Black brothers, Dijon Joseph (30) and Liam Joseph (29), who were stopped and searched over a fist bump, which the Metropolitan police interpreted as drug dealing, say they were targeted because of their skin colour and will sue the police. (Guardian, 29 October 2020) 

29 October: Analysis by Liberty Investigates and the Guardian of figures obtained through freedom of information requests from 32 police forces in England and Wales show a 15per cent fall in crime and 12.5 per cent increase in use of force from April to June 2020. (Guardian, 29 October 2020) 

30 October: The UK minister for Africa, James Duddridge admits that British officials had trained and equipped officers from the now-disbanded Nigerian Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) between 2016 and 2020 – after having initially denied any ties. (Independent, 30 October 2020) 

End SARS protest Photo source: Flickr. Author: @Prachatai.

1 November: According to experts behind a government-funded recruitment programme, attempts to recruit Black police officers are being made ‘10 times’ harder by police racial profiling. (Guardian, 1 November 2020) 

1 November: Dame Elish Angiolini says her 2017 report into deaths in custody with 110 recommendation, including on the use of restraint and force, has not been acted on by the government. According to INQUEST there have been 14 restraint-related deaths since the report. On 30 October the United Families and Friends Campaign held their 22nd annual memorial event for those who died in custody – presenting testimonies from families online. (Guardian 1 November  2020)

2 November: Black café owners in low income neighbourhoods of Lisbon say that they are being unfairly targeted for café closures by the police, with enforcement in white neighbourhoods taking place in  entirely different ways. The targeting by riot police of businesses in the  Bairro de Jamaica neighbourhood – where residents have been  waiting for years to be rehoused from a precarious set of self-built towers – caused further anger. (Al Jazeera, 2 November 2020) 

3 November: The Crown Prosecution Service is to be asked to consider bringing new charges in the Stephen Lawrence case against four senior officers in the original murder investigation concerning the offence of misconduct in public office. (Guardian, 3 November 2020)  

NATIONAL SECURITY AND COUNTER-TERRORISM

30 October: In an attempt to calm anti-French protests, Macron tells Al Jazeera he ‘understands the feelings of Muslims about the caricatures’ which are not a state project. Muslims and Catholics come together in a number of cities, including Blois and Toulouse and also in Trappes in the department where the schoolteacher Samy Paty was beheaded. A group of young Muslims in Lodève, in the Hérault west of Montpellier, turn out to symbolically protect their local Saint-Fulcran cathedral. (Observer, 1 November 2020) 

2 November: French interior minister Gerald Darmanin says that under proposed legislation to combat separatism anyone committing the offence of separatism could be punished by up to 5 years in prison and this would include anyone seeking medical care ‘who refuses to be treated by a woman’ who could also be fined up to 75,000 euros. In the name of the bill against separatism, Darmanin reiterates his intention to dissolve the Collective Against Islamophobia in France. Read a statement from CCIF here.  (Al Jazeera, 2 November 2020) 

3 November: After gunmen shoot dead four people in Vienna, and one of the gunmen wearing a suicide vest is shot dead,  the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz says that this is ‘not a conflict  between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants’ and that  the enemy is ‘Islamist terrorism’ which ‘does not only want to cause death and pain’ but wants ‘to split our society’. (DeutschWelle, 3 November 2020) 

ELECTORAL AND PARTY POLITICS

24 October:  In the aftermath of teacher Samuel Paty’s murder, France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin, calls the Collective Against Islamophobia in France a ‘threat to the Republic’ and implies that supermarkets which place kosher and halal food on ‘specific aisles’ encourage separatism. Marine Le Pen, National Rally leader, calls for ‘war legislation’ and an immediate halt to immigration. (Deutsche Welle, 25 October 2020)

25 OctoberThe Observer reveals that, prior to giving a Party Conference speech targeting ‘lefty lawyers’ who work on immigration cases, home secretary Priti Patel had been given a counter-terrorism intelligence briefing about a suspected far-right attack on Duncan Lewis law firm in Harrow. (Guardian, 25 October 2020 

26 October: The deputy chair of a government taskforce on anti-Muslim hatred criticises health secretary Matt Hancock for adding to ‘hateful narratives’ in relation to a tweet Hancock sent out in July which coincided with a lockdown in northern England at the start of the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha. (Guardian, 26 October 2020) 

26 October: Countries across the Islamic world call for an international boycott of French products after President Macron publicly supports the publishing of the Muhammed cartoons. France recalls its ambassador to Ankara after Erdoğan tells Macron, ‘Go and get your mental health tested’. (Guardian, 26 October 2020) 

29 October: The Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into alleged Labour Party antisemitism finds the party broke equalities laws – including harassment and discrimination; its process for handling complaints is found inadequate. (Guardian, 29 October) 

29 OctoberCurrent Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says the report had brought a ‘day of shame’ to the party and apologises to Jewish members and MPs for their struggle under the previous leadership. (BBC, 29 October 2020) 

29 October: The leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust say in a joint release: ‘This report is a damning verdict on what Labour did to Jews under Jeremy Corbyn and his allies. It proves why British Jews were so distressed and it disgraces those who attacked us for speaking out against anti-Jewish racism. Our Jewish community never wanted this fight, but we had to defend ourselves and are proud to have done so. We thank all those who stood with us, despite the abuse they received as a result.’ (Board of Deputies 29 October 2020) 

29 OctoberCorbyn, former Labour leader, says in his response to the report: ‘One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated. My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.’ In the light of his comment about dramatic overstatement for political reasons, Jeremy Corbyn is suspended from the Labour Party pending investigation. (Guardian, 29 October 2020)

29 OctoberAccording to Jewish News30,000 people signed a petition created by Jewish Voice for Labour, against the injustice of the suspension and calling for his reinstatement (Jewish News29 October 2020) 

29 OctoberImmediately following the EHRC report, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, one of the organisations which pressed for the original EHRC inquiry, sends a 72-page letter with appendices to Starmer and David Evans, Labour Party General Secretary, demanding disciplinary proceedings be brought against at least 32 additional Labour MPs and peers, including Labour’s first Black MP, Diane Abbott,  members of Corbyn’s former shadow cabinet, as well as the current deputy leader of the Labour Party and two front-benchers for alleged anti-semitism. The complaint against Black peer Baroness Martha Osamor includes sharing a letter published by the Guardian, ‘A Palestinian view on the antisemitism row’. (Campaign Against Antisemitism, 29 October 2020) 

31 October: Following a terrorist attack on a Catholic church in Nice which killed three worshippers, Marine Le Pen holds a rally where her supporters chant ‘Muslims go home’; and in Alsace Lorraine near the basilica, protesters banged on the windows of a north African restaurant. In Italy, the far-right League describe its government as ‘morally responsible’ for the murders, due to its ‘open door policy’ and the fact that the Tunisian suspect had transited through Italy on his way to France.  (Observer, 31 October; Al Jazeera, 30 October 2020) 

ANTI-FASCISM AND FAR RIGHT

23 October: Far-right extremist Cavan Medlock is charged at the Old Bailey with a racially motivated attack, threats to kills and preparing acts of terrorism. He allegedly visited offices of Duncan Lewis Solicitors in Harrow with the intention of taking an immigration solicitor hostage and displaying Nazi and US Confederacy flags at the firm’s office in order to inspire further attacks. (Guardian, 23 October 2020) 

28 OctoberRasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs, and known for his public burning of the Koran, is arrested at Tegel airportBerlin, and refused leave to enter Germany. He was travelling to attend a demonstration against Islam he had called on Facebook in the largely Muslim neighbourhood of Neukölln. (Nord News, 28 October 2020) 

29 October: French police in Avignon shoot dead a man believed to be a far-right supporter of Generation Identity after he threatened the public with a handgun. French media reports initially suggest it was an Islamist attack and that the assailant had shouted ‘Allahu akbar’. Generation Identity say the man has nothing to do with them and was clearly mentally ill. (Independent, 29 October 2020) 

WELFARE AND POVERTY

27 October: Research conducted by five UK universities finds that babies and toddlers from poorer backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with less access to books and outdoor space during lockdown compared to children from wealthier backgrounds. (Guardian, 27 October 2020) 

27 October: An Indian child poverty charityAkshaya Patra, which feeds millions in India, opens the first of three planned kitchens in the UK to deliver free meals to schools. (Guardian, 27 October 2020) 

28 October: Marcus Rashford’s petition to end child poverty tops a million signatures as thousands of cafes, restaurants and businesses step in to support struggling families without access to free school meals over the half-term holiday. (Guardian, 28 October 2020) 

28 October: Rural homelessness in England rises by 115 per cent in past two years according to the countryside charity CPRE and the Rural Services Network. (Guardian, 28 October 2020) 

HEALTH

22 October: The government is making it mandatory to record ethnicity on death certificates in England in order to help collect information so as to tackle the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on people from ethnic minorities. (Guardian, 22 October 2020)  

22 October: Dr Raghib Ali, a scientist advising the government on ethnicity and Covid-19 argues that ‘structural racism is not a reasonable explanation’ for the higher death rate for people from ethnic minorities, and that we should stop using ethnicity as a classification for people who require more help, instead focus on factors such as jobs and housing. Other GPs have argued that it is important not to dismiss ethnicity. (BBC, 22 October 2020)   

27 October: A Labour review, headed by Doreen Lawrence, into Covid and BAME communities, argues that structural racism led to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic; contradicting claims made by Dr Raghib Ali, who dismisses inequalities within ethnic minority communities as a cause. Lawrence demands that the government sets out a comprehensive plan for the winter. (Guardian, 27 October 2020)  

30 October: A Nursing in Practice survey reveals that more than a quarter of nurses have witnessed racist behaviour at work, with BAME workers reporting a worsening situation due to Covid. (Nursing in Practice, 30 October 2020) 

1 November: The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, is   considering using an algorithm developed by Oxford scientists, using age, ethnicity, wealth and gender as possible determinants, to find out who should be given priority in vaccination. (Daily Mail, 1 November 2020)  

2 November: The chief executive of the Jan Trust, argues for urgent action to help BAME charities disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Despite calls in April to ring-fence funds to support those most at risk, there is still a dearth in funding and many groups had to close their doors and others are on the brink of collapse. (Third Sector, 2 November 2020)  

EDUCATION

26 October: New research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies finds that an increasing number of academic economists in UK universities come from non-white backgrounds – but that those of African-Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds remain under-represented in the most prestigious institutions. (Guardian, 26 October 2020) 

Cambridge University Photo source: Flickr. Author: @llee_wu.

27 OctoberThe black group, No More Exclusions, condemns attacks made against it on social mediaciting a misleading report that had suggested that its materials on exclusions supported sexual violence. Its website was shut down by a virus and the organisation suffered a stream of online attacks. (New Socialist, 27 October 2020)  

29 October: The Young and Black report by YMCA reveals that 95 per cent of young Black people have heard and witnessed racist language at school; that 70 per cent feel pressure over afro hairstyles; and that 49 per cent believe racism to be the biggest barrier to academic attainment. (Guardian, 29 October 2020) 

EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION

25 October: Two Lincolnshire Recruitment Services company directors are disqualified for 21 years after having been found guilty of exploiting agricultural workers, including failing to give holiday payments, charging employees for safety equipment, and not providing copies of contracts. (Farmers Weekly, 25 October 2020) 

27 October: The Resolution Foundation finds that young, black, Asian and minority ethnic workers are struggling the most during the pandemic. One in five ethnic minority workers and a similar number of young people, who were furloughed, have since lost their jobs. A YouGov survey shows that 22 per cent of BAME workers are said to be falling out of work. (Guardian, 27 October 2020) 

28 October: National Farmers Union’s figures show that only 11 per cent of seasonal workers in 2020 were UK residents, warning that farmers will need thousands of foreign workers for the UK harvest next year. This is despite a highprofile Pick for Britain campaign during the summer. (BBC, 28 October 2020)  

HOUSING

26 October: At the Grenfell Tower inquiry, a director at TMO, the landlord of Grenfell Tower, describes how the fatal cladding saved £800,000. (Guardian, 26 October 2020) 

Grenfell Tower Photo source: Flickr. Author: @ChiralJon.

27 October: The Court of Appeal grants permission to appeal against the planning approval for the demolition and redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle with the legal challenge focusing on the shortage of rented social housing in the proposed development. (Public Interest Law Centre, press release, 27 October 2020) 

SPORT

21 October: Raheem Sterling calls on social media companies to ‘show real leadership and take proper action’ against online abuse after a study identified more than 3,000 explicitly abusive messages were sent to Premier League players during Project Restart. (Guardian21 October 2020) 

22 October: Lewis Hamilton questions the appointment of Vitaly Petrov as a steward for the Portuguese Grand Prix. Petrov has consistently been critical of sportspeople showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. (Guardian22 October 2020)  

27 October: GB Hockey, the official body for the sport in Great Britain, backs the ‘Stick It To Racism’ campaign, stating ‘there is no place for racism in our sport or in society’. (The hockey paper, 27 October 2020) 

27 October: The FA launches the Football Leadership Diversity Code, with over 40 clubs committed to it, as a way to help remedy the lack of inclusion in the game across senior positions, broader team operations and coaching roles. (Independent, 27 October 2020) 

MEDIA AND CULTURE

22 October: UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce calls on the music industry to stop using the term BAME acronym as it deems it ‘outdated and offensive’. (Music week, 22 October 2020)  

23 October: The Spanish newspaper ABC publishes an apology after journalist Salvador Sostres wrote of Barcelona footballer Ansu Fatio that when running he was something of a gazelle, or a very young, black street vendor running away from the police. (Al Jazeera, 22 October 2020) 

23 October: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and Deezer remove racist and antisemitic content from their services, following an investigation by the BBC. Content includes an excerpt of a Hitler speech, calls for ‘Aryans’ to make a brand new start and references to white power. (BBC News, 23 October 2020) 

24 October: Penguin Random House and The Runnymede Trust launchLit in Colour,a project examining the GCSE English literature syllabus so as to increase the diversity of its reading lists and gather views from teachers, parents and young people. (Guardian, 24 October 2020) 

27 October: Comic Relief announces plans to modernise its international appeal films for Red Nose Day 2021, scrapping ‘white saviourism’ and images of poverty overseas in favour of local stories that empower and preserve the agency of their subjects. (Third sector, 27 October 2020)  

28 October: Author Reni Eddo-Lodge lodges a complaint with press regulator IPSO  and demands an apology afterThe Spectatormagazine publishesan interviewwith Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch in which she suggests the  author supports segregation. The Independent which  also carried the story published a correction.  (Guardian, 28 October 2020) 

29 October: According to new social media guidelines and rules on impartiality, BBC journalists are told to avoid ‘virtue signalling’ or attending events such as Black Lives Matter and LGBT Pride marches in a personal capacity in case their presence is taken as a sign of political bias. (Guardian;Guardian, 29 October 2020) 

30 October: Following criticism from campaigners and politicians, BBC Director General Tim Davie, tells journalists they will still be allowed to attend LGBT Pride marches, providing they remain celebratory and individuals aren’t seen to be taking a stand on any ‘politicised or contested issues’. It is unclear whether this would prevent journalists from attending Black Lives Matter marches. (Guardian, 30 October 2020) 

30 October: 101 members of the Black Writers’ Guild write a letter condemning the comments made by equalities minister Kemi Badenoch in her Spectator interview that books about racism promote segregation. (Guardian, 30 October 2020) 

1 November: As part of a £10million-worth of Home Office contracts for the supply of research and opinion polling, Britain Thinks will conduct ‘polling and research work on immigration, Europe, policing and crime’ so as to inform the department’s communications strategy so that it can employ ‘behaviour change models’ and successfully  ‘influence’ people. (Byline Times, 1 November 2020) 

2 November: As part of a UK-wide week of action by Brandalism against ‘climate colonialism’, activists in ten cities take over billboards and bus-stops with spoof HSBC adverts, designed by 15 different artists, that criticise HSBC for funding US prisons and detention centres. (Brandalism, press release, 2 November 2020) 

Installed by Brandalism activists Designer: Tamara-Jade Kaz.

VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

22 October: A 37-year-old man is released on police investigation following a racially aggravated public order offence outside a pub in Doncaster. (Doncaster free press, 22 October 2020) 

22 October: In Paris, two women are charged with stabbing two Muslim women, aged 19 and 40, near the Eiffel Tower in an incident where they attempted to rip off their hijabs and used racial slurs. The older woman, who was stabbed six times suffered a perforated lung. French media are accused of ignoring the attack. (Al Jazeera, 22 October 2020)  

26 October: A 42-year-old man is left unconscious and covered in blood at a Birmingham city centre bus stop after a racist attack in which three men punched him in the back of his head and verbally abused him, including taunts about ‘his prophet’. (Birmingham Mail, 31 October 2020) 

27 October: A reality TV star appears in court accused of racially aggravated intentional harassment towards two people at Euston station, London in October 2019; and will face trial in March 2022. (Mirror, 27 October 2020) 

28 October: Police detain a man in Brixton’s Windrush Square after an incident in which a black woman says she was racially abused and spat at. Witnesses say the man also made Hitler-style salutes. (Brixton blog, 28 October 2020)  

29 October: A 62-year-old man appears in court charged with assault by beating and racially or religiously aggravated common assault in Hull. (Hull Live, 29 October 2020)  

31 October: An A&E doctor suffers racial abuse whilst doing his job at Bury St Edmonds hospital. A female suspect is in custody. (Suffolk news, 31 October 2020) 

1 November: A spate of vandalism against mosques in France follows recent terrorist attacks with four mosques in Rouen receiving threatening letters following the Nice attack. Further south in the Drôme, a Muslim prayer hall is tagged with crosses. (Observer, 1 November 2020) 

4 November: Twentyfour people are sentenced to community service and fines for discrimination and inciting violence against Clarice Gargard, a columnist for the media outlet NRC, who had placed a livestream on Facebook of a protest against blackface at a Sinterklass parade in Amstelveen in 2018. (Dutch News, 4 November 2020) 

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Kaiisha Kukendra, Neal Tank and Joseph Maggs.

 

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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