Calendar of Racism and Resistance (24 October – 7 November 2023)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (24 October – 7 November 2023)


Written by: IRR News Team

A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance.


Asylum and migrant rights  

23 October: Asylum Aid, on behalf of a Cote d’Ivorian who has waited four years for an asylum decision, is given permission for a legal challenge to the Home Office over delays and failure to provide a reliable time-frame for asylum decisions, which it claims breach human rights. (Electronic Immigration Network, 24 October 2023) 

26 October: Eight human rights organisations in Belgium send a letter to rapporteurs and representatives of various European institutions and the UN declaring the situation for asylum rights to be at a ‘point of no return’ and ‘deteriorating rapidly’. They highlight that the Belgian state has been condemned by the courts more than 7,000 times. (Brussels Times, 26 October 2023) 

Image: 200 missing children posters outside the Home Office (Tuesday 31st January) by queer activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants. Credit: Bex Wade

26 October: MPs criticise the Home Office and call for ‘clarity and transparency’ as it stops publishing data on the number of unaccompanied and unaccounted for asylum seeking children who are still missing from asylum hotels. (inews, 26 October 2023) 

26 October: The first flight relocating 132 Afghan refugees from Pakistan arrives in the UK, as thousands of people who worked with the British government continue to await relocation. (Independent, 27 October 2023) 

27 October:  A Public Accounts Committee report raises concerns over a lack of ‘adequate safeguards’ in Home Office plans to clear the asylum backlog, which risks flawed decision-making and puts pressure on the wider asylum system, and also expresses concern over room-sharing plans. (Electronic Immigration Network, 30 October 2023; Independent, 27 October 2023)  

27 October: Lawyers representing refugees in Glasgow threaten the council and Scottish and UK governments with legal action and compensation claims if they do not provide accommodation for people granted the right to stay in the UK. (Guardian, 27 October 2023) 

29 October: Students and workers are reported to face difficulties booking biometric visa appointments online with VFS Global (outsourced by the Home Office), which should be free or up to £80 but are being priced at hundreds of pounds by exploitative brokers.(Guardian, 29 October 2023)  

30 October: The Institute for Public Policy Research sets out an alternative to the Rwanda policy involving piloting a ‘refugee visa’ application from British embassies in other countries and revamping the current UK asylum system. (Independent, 30 October 2023) 

1 November: An investigation by the Independent, Lighthouse Reports and Sky News reveals that Afghan security service members, who were closely aligned with the UK special forces and paid by the UK government, have been excluded from the Afghan relocations and assistance policy by the Ministry of Defence, and now face death, torture or life in hiding. (Independent, 1 November 2023)  

3 November: A paper by the SNP-led Scottish government says that an independent Scotland would grant asylum seekers the immediate right to work, claim benefits and freely use the NHS; would close Dungavel detention centre; and would introduce a less restrictive visa system. (Guardian, 3 November 2023) 

6 November: Following an agreement between Austria and the UK to cooperate in a ‘Rwanda style’ asylum policy which would include offshoring asylum processing, the EU says the plan is incompatible with EU membership. (EU Observer, 6 November 2023, InfoMigrants, 3 November 2023) 

Borders and internal controls 

31 October: The new Slovakian government deploys hundreds of police officers and army troops to its Hungarian border to stop arrivals. Prime minister Robert Fico warns that this is a necessary safety measure to keep people linked to ‘terrorist’ groups from entering the country. (InfoMigrants, 31 October 2023) 

2 November: In a new report by Doctors without Borders (MSF), testimony from dozens of migrants gathered over the last two years reveals regular secret, illegal and often brutal deportations from Greece to Turkey, evidence corroborated by charges from charities, activists and Turkish authorities. (Ekathimerini, 2 November 2023; Deutsche Welle, 2 November 2023) 

3 November: An Al Jazeera investigation reveals a pattern of degrading practices such as forced nakedness and genital and anal searches during pushbacks at the Greek borders, to which dozens of migrant women have testified. (Al Jazeera, 3 November 2023) 

3 November: After meeting with Greek officials on the island of Samos, the home secretary says the UK can learn from Greece’s tough migration measures, robust defence of borders and intolerance of ‘illegal arrivals.’ (Independent, 4 November 2023) 

4 November: Analysis of HM Coastguard incident logs by the Observer and Liberty Investigates reveals that 999 calls from refugees pleading for help are downgraded, breaching protocols and international law. Labour MP Olivia Blake calls for an investigation. (Guardian, 4 November 2023)  

6 November: At the Polish border near the town of Hajnówka, a 22-year-old Syrian man is shot in the spine by a soldier while attempting to cross from Belarus, a life-changing injury involving a risk of permanent paralysis. A second Syrian man is found dead from unknown causes in nearby woods. (InfoMigrants, 6 November 2023, InfoMigrants, 6 November 2023) 

Reception and detention 

24 October: Immigration minister Robert Jenrick announces plans to phase out the use of 50 hotels as asylum accommodation over the next 3 months. (Independent, 24 October 2023)  

24 October: A freedom of information request released by the Save Northeye campaign group reveals that the Home Office paid £15.3 million in September for the former prison site for immigration detention purposes, to a company who had purchased the site a year ago for £6.31 million. (Care Appointments, 25 October 2023) 

25 October: Care4Calais launches a challenge against the home secretary arguing that the accommodation of 200 asylum seekers at Wethersfield air base is illegal, as residents’ isolation from the local community amounts to detention and segregation by nationality, and that people with vulnerabilities are not appropriately screened. (Guardian, 25 October 2023) 

26 October: A 23 year-old Nigerian asylum seeker attempts suicide after being informed of his transfer from hotel accommodation in Essex to the Bibby Stockholm barge, described by asylum seekers as a prison, with residents forced to go through x-ray inspections to access fresh air.  While he is in hospital on life support, other hotel residents are self-harming and ten are on hunger strike. (Guardian, 29 October 2023; Guardian, 29 October 2023)   

29 October: The Local Government Association reveals that 1,000 Afghan refugees face homelessness as the Home Office imposes a 15 December deadline to evict them from hotels. 4,350 Ukrainian refugees are already defined as homeless and no further resources are to be provided. (Guardian, 29 October 2023) 

 30 October: The Refugee Council warns of heightened dangers to the government’s hotel ‘maximisation’ programme, which involves putting two strangers in a single occupancy space, exposing child refugees misclassified as adults to serious safeguarding risks. (Guardian, 30 October 2023) 

30 October: The home secretary denies access to the Bibby Stockholm to Labour MPs, one of whom meets with asylum seekers from the barge and hears that facilities have been stripped back and promised activities are not available. (Independent, 30 October 2023) 

2 November: The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health supports a legal challenge to the government’s plan to exempt private properties used as asylum accommodation from ‘houses in multi-occupancy’ (HMO) licensing regulations. (Landlord Today, 2 November 2023)  

2 November: A report by the Children and Young Persons’ Commissioner of Scotland sets out how housing children in hotels violates human rights, is dangerous, exacerbates trauma and can damage health and development, emphasising that ‘as a principle’ children should not be placed in hotels. (Electronic Immigration Network, 3 November 2023) 

6 November: Italy and non-EU state Albania sign an agreement allowing those rescued in the Mediterranean by Italian boats to be taken to Italian-built centres in Albania for reception and asylum processing. (Politico, 7 November 2023) 


26 October: The German cabinet approves draft legislation to allow authorities to speed up deportations of rejected asylum seekers, extend detention from 10 to 28 days, bring in stricter ID checks and expand police powers. (Deutsche Welle, 26 October 2023) 

29 October: Christmas leave for UK immigration enforcement staff is cancelled by the Home Office in anticipation of a successful Supreme Court appeal on the Rwanda deportation scheme, after which two flights per day would leave for Rwanda. (inews, 29 October 2023) 

31 October: The French interior minister announces that previously suspended contact with Russia will be resumed to enable the deportation of ‘dangerous’ Russians, mostly Chechens. Of the sixty undocumented Russians targeted, forty are currently in prison and all are registered in the Alert Processing Register for the Prevention of Radicalisation of a Terrorist Nature (FSPRT). (Le Monde, 31 October 2023) 

31 October: At a two-day meeting in Copenhagen, ministers from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland plan increased cooperation around deporting rejected asylum seekers and foreign nationals without residence permits, to include joint deportation flights, aiding voluntary returns and ‘strengthening reintegration projects in countries of origin’. (InfoMigrants, 3 November 2023) 

31 October: German interior minister Nancy Faeser and Moroccan officials agree a bilateral migration agreement including the return to Morocco of Moroccan citizens refused leave to stay in Germany. (InfoMigrants, 31 October 2023) 


As anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI rhetoric in electoral campaigning are increasingly interlinked, we reflect this in the coverage below which also includes information on the influence of the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally. 

2 November: Amid threats that it could lose EU funding, Świdnik county local authority, the first in Poland to adopt a resolution declaring itself  ‘free from LGBT ideology’, withdraws the measure. Only 15 of the 105 such measures initially introduced in 2019 and 2020 remain in force. (Notes from Poland, 2 November 2023)  

4 November: MP Bob Stewart surrenders the Tory whip while he appeals a guilty verdict for racially abusing an exiled activist from Bahrain outside the Foreign Office. (Guardian, 4 November 2023) 


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

26 October: Franklin, Tennessee mayoral candidate Gabrielle Hanson invites the internationally connected neo-Nazi Tennessee Active Club to provide ‘security and support’ for him at a candidates’ forum. The group is part of an organised network of ‘sports clubs’ which connects 149 Active Clubs across 21 countries and maintains alliances with other far-right groups including France’s Action Française and the White Stag Athletic Club in Yorkshire. (GPAHE, 26 October 2023) 

30 October: A 22-year-old about to take his seat in the Bavarian regional parliament for the far-right AfD in Germany is arrested for displaying forbidden symbols and following neighbours’ complaints of hearing the ‘Sieg Heil’ Nazi salute from his premises. (Guardian, 30 October 2023) 

30 October: In Poland, a Norwegian man travelling through the country in order to join the Ukrainian foreign legion is detained for having direct links to neo-Nazi groups. (Notes From Poland, 30 October 2023) 

31 October: In Finland, Päijät-Häme District Court sentences three men to prison for up to three years and four months for terrorism-related offences. The men were found in possession of a 3D printable firearm and were supporting accelerationist strategies aimed at inciting a race war. (YLE, 31 October 2023) 

1 November: An investigation by anti-fascist group Red Flare discovers that Ryan Williams, a Gwlad candidate for Torfaen, Wales, is a self-proclaimed fascist and neo-Nazi. He promotes the podcast he hosts, The Absolute State of Britain, as ‘Britain’s most racist podcast’. (Nation Cymru, 1 November 2023) 

1 November: In Greece, 21 members of Italy’s far-right Casa Pound are apprehended at Athens International Airport on their way to attend a memorial commemorating the deaths of two members of the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn. (Ekathimerini, 1 November 2023) 

2 November: Greek police are criticised for prioritising the policing of anti-fascist events, as well as creating panic by firing tear gas into a crowded metro station after neo-Nazis, shouting ‘we are going to burn you’, threw gasoline into the station. Prior to the attack, migrants on the metro were assaulted, with one woman hospitalised after being beaten with sticks. (Keep Talking Greece, 2 November 2023) 

2 November: Hope Not Hate warns that far-right figures are attempting to exploit campaigns against transport changes in order to spread their ideologies. An invitation to a protest against Wales’ 20 mph default speed limit and 15-minute cities was shared by the right-wing group Banners on Bridges and Patriotic Alternative member Joe Marsh. (Nation Cymru, 2 November 2023)   


25 October: Two Metropolitan police officers are sacked for lying and gross misconduct after stopping and searching Black athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos in July 2020. (Guardian, 25 October 2023)

26 October: The French government reveals that around 1,800 people have received prison sentences for ‘riot-related offences’ following the police shooting of Nahel Merzouk. (Le Monde, 26 October 2023) 

26 October: The French prime minister outlines a series of post-riots juvenile justice and parental accountability measures, including stricter monitoring of juvenile offenders and the use of educational penitentiary facilities for non-compliance. The justice system and army partnership will now extend to military-run classes in such facilities and military-run community service programmes. (Le Monde, 26 October 2023) 

30 October: The National Black Police Association reports having received numerous complaints that white officers are pressuring black officers to donate to a fund (already at £130,000) for the two officers sacked for gross misconduct during a stop and search. (Guardian, 30 October 2023) 

30 October: A judge denies anonymity in criminal proceedings to the Met firearms officer currently known as NX121, charged with the murder of Chris Kaba. Restrictions will be placed on photographs and court sketches. (Inquest, 30 October 2023) 

Image: Justice for Kaba protest, 2022. Credit: Alisdare Hickson, Flickr

31 October: In France, a ‘fully veiled’ woman is seriously wounded after police shoot her, saying she made threatening remarks on a Paris regional train, ‘refused to comply’ and threatened to ‘blow herself up’. She had neither explosives nor a weapon on her person. An investigation into the woman for ‘glorification, death threats and intimidation of a public official’ is launched alongside an inquiry into whether the use of the firearm was justified. (Le Monde, 31 October 2023) 

2 November. In Greece, an investigation is launched into possible police brutality after a video posted on social media shows riot police beating a man who had already been detained. (Keep Talking Greece, 2 November 2023) 

3 November: The BBC reports that a black security guard attempting in 2015 to restrain shoplifter Matthew White (now deceased) was told by him that he had killed before and that there had been no consequences for killing Stephen [Lawrence].The guard reported this, and the racial abuse he suffered, to police at the time. (Guardian, 3 November 2023) 


2 November: Amnesty International publishes This Is The Thought Police: The Prevent duty and its chilling effect on human rights, pointing to a disturbing lack of ‘transparency’ in the scheme and discriminatory decision-making in referrals, which depend on individuals’ ‘gut instinct’ and disproportionately impact Muslims and neurodiverse people. (AI, 2 November 2023) 

Image: Illustration of the Amnesty International report. Credit: @khadijadraws, Instagram


24 October: The Equality and Human Rights Commission closes its investigation into the handling of numerous complaints against its chair and rules that the board is to deal with matters ‘in confidence’. Complaints appear to relate to the EHRC’s ‘toxic culture’ and position on transgender rights. (Guardian, 24 October 2023) 

25 October: A European Agency for Fundamental Rights survey finds that anti-Black racism is on the rise throughout Europe. Nearly half of people of African descent face discrimination in their daily lives, ranging from verbal harassment to being denied a home or job. (Al Jazeera, 25 October 2023) 

2 November: The Sarajevo Times criticises the Italian newspaper Il Tempo for alleging without proof that 20 ‘jihadist’ cells are active in the Western Balkans, thereby spreading harmful stereotypes about the region and contributing to the Italian government’s anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and nationalist agenda. (Sarajevo Times, 2 November 2023) 

3 November: The European Social Survey finds that British views on immigration and its impact have become significantly more favourable since 2016. (Guardian, 3 November 2023)        


2 November: The University of Kent, Northumbria University and Worcester University formally divest from companies profiting from border controls, as £300 million of university endowments remain invested in the border industry. (Statewatch, 2 November 2023) 


25 October: The all-party parliamentary group for Left Behind Neighbourhoods reports that ‘levelling up’ needs to be led locally and not follow a national template. (Guardian,25 October 2023)  

4 November: In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the home secretary announces her intention to ‘crack down’ on homeless people living in tents, pointing the finger at people ‘from abroad’ and calling it a ‘lifestyle choice.’ (Left Foot Forward, 6 November 2023) 

5 November: Citing research on ‘grossly insufficient’ universal credit payments, the UN’s poverty envoy says that poverty levels in the UK are ‘simply not acceptable’, the welfare system is like a ‘leaking bucket’ and that the government is violating international law. (Guardian, 5 November 2023) 


1 November: A report finds that Black and Asian people wait longer for and have worse outcomes from referrals to mental health services than white counterparts. (Guardian, 1 November 2023) 


27 October: In the Italian provinces of Ancona, Macerata and Pesaro-Urbino, three men are arrested, accused of exploiting agricultural labourers, many of whom are seeking asylum, by paying them €5-6 for 10-12 hours of work. (InfoMigrants, 27 October 2023) 

1 November: The City of London Corporation’s director of equality, diversity and inclusion alleges at an employment tribunal that the organisation has entrenched institutional racism. (Guardian, 2 November 2023) 


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. 

26 October: A survey of the British public shows that more than half cannot name a single black British historical figure. (Guardian, 26 October 2023) 

27 October: A former Rugby Football Union council member is banned from attending matches in England for 12 months after he racially abused a Black RFU volunteer. (Guardian, 27 October 2023) 

28 October: In Spain,a week after Sevilla FC expels a fan for racial abuse against Vinicius Jr and files a police complaint against him for xenophobic and racist behaviour, the same player is targeted with racist abuse during a match against Barcelona FC. (Independent, 22 October 2023; Marca, 28 October 2023)  

29 October: In France, Lyon supporters, permitted to travel to a match in Marseille for the first time in five years after bans for racist and violent incidents, are attacked by Marseille fans outside the stadium and, once inside, direct homophobic and monkey chants and Nazi salutes at Marseille supporters, causing the cancellation of the match. (Guardian, 30 October 2023) 

2 November: Wolverhampton Crown court convicts a man of racially abusing former England player Rio Ferdinand after he was seen making racist gestures towards the pundit during a match at Wolverhampton’s Molineux stadium in May 2021. (BBC News, 2 November 2023)  

The calendar was compiled by Sophie Chauhan with the help of  Graeme Atkinson, Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordish , Anne-Ysore Onana-Ateba and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration, far Right, racial violence, employment and policing issues are an invaluable source of information. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance. 

Feature image: March – Stand Up to Racism March Portland. Credit: Stephen and Helen Jones, Flickr

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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