Calendar of Racism and Resistance (25 April – 9 May 2023)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (25 April – 9 May 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

26 April: As the government rules out introducing a safe and legal route for people fleeing the conflict in Sudan, the home secretary falsely informs Sky News that they can seek asylum in the UK via the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who promptly responds to clarify that no such mechanism exists. (Independent, 26 April 2023) 

26 April: The House of Commons passes the Illegal Migration Bill by 289 to 230 votes, with amendments allowing ministers to override interim measures from domestic courts and the European court of human rights, and the bill goes to the House of Lords. (Guardian, 26 April 2023)

26 April: Following a case brought by two African asylum seekers, the Netherlands’ top administrative court bars the return of migrants to Italy, because they face possible human rights violations there. (AP News, 26 April 2023)

29 April: Asylum experts question a government plan to use AI to clear the asylum backlog, as the Home Office launches a 3-day hackathon with 15 teams in a competition to identify innovative ways to speed-up asylum decision-making. (Guardian, 29 April 2023)

4 May: British citizens in Sudan are forced to choose between escaping the escalating violence or remaining with family members there, as the Foreign Office refuses to evacuate family members with Sudanese citizenship. (Guardian, 4 May 2023)

4 May: The European Court of Human Rights finds Hungary guilty of violating the human rights of two Afghan refugees, who were detained for months, and a 14-year-old Pakistani boy who reportedly received a ‘wound to his head’ after being violently pushed back to Serbia by Hungarian field guards. (Info Migrants, 18 May 2023) 

5 May: A Home Office report raises questions about the home secretary’s assertion that modern slavery laws are being ‘abused’ by asylum seekers arriving in small boats. (Independent, 5 May 2023)

7 May: Refugee rights groups and experts accuse the government of being ‘unashamedly racist’ and operating a segregated immigration policy by refusing safe passage to Sudanese refugees from conflict while granting nearly 300,000 visas to Ukrainians. (Observer, 7 May 2023)

Borders and internal controls

28 April: At least 43 people on the Polish side of the border with Belarus have died since September 2021, and migrants are forced to return to Belarus through gates for animals in the built dam, through swampy areas and border rivers, Podlaskie Voluntary Humanitarian Emergency Service reports. (ECRE Newsletter, 28 April 2023)

29 April: Internal UK coastguard records and marine data, seen by the Observer and Liberty Investigates, contain evidence to indicate that 19 small boats in distress, carrying 440 migrants in the Channel in November 2021, were ‘effectively ignored,’ as questions over understaffing and a lack of resources are raised. (Guardian, 29 April 2023)

29 April: Following a freedom of information request from Alarm Phone, an internal Maritime and Coastguard Agency log dated 2 January 2023 shows that a boat carrying 38 people was deliberately left in distress by UK authorities to drift back towards France. (Guardian, 30 April 2023) 

Reception and detention

26 April: A Home Office letter seen by the Independent, sent to 8,000 Afghan refugees living in government hotels who arrived under resettlement schemes in 2021, states that the current accommodation support ends on 2 May, with no offer of onward housing. (Independent, 26 April 2023)

26 April: A high court judge orders the Home Office to move a vulnerable Afghan asylum seeker, whose physical and mental health has seriously deteriorated, from his Knowsley hotel where he was recently attacked and is the site of ongoing anti-migrant protest. (Guardian, 26 April 2023) 

28 April: Following disturbances at the Serco-run Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre, 13 men escape the centre, with 5 later found as police continue to look for the others. (Independent, 3 May 2023) 

1 May: The Home Office announces plans to use ten redundant cruise ships, ferries and barges to house asylum seekers, as a leading maritime company is reportedly conducting a feasibility study into using redundant oil rigs, raising concerns over safety. (Guardian, 1 May 2023) 

3 May: Questions raised by Dorset council and the police and crime commissioner about the safety and healthcare provision for male asylum seekers the Home Office plans to accommodate on a giant barge in Portland port remain unanswered, as the barge arrives in the UK for refurbishment to expand capacity from 222 to 506 people. (Guardian, 3 May 2023; Independent, 9 May 2023)

4 May: The number of street homeless asylum seekers in Ireland doubles from March this year to 557, including unaccompanied young people, torture survivors and people with other vulnerabilities. (Irish Times, 4 May 2023) 


25 April: The Guardian reveals that more than 100 Nepali guards and a number of Indian nationals who protected British embassy staff in Kabul and were airlifted to the UK in 2021, were forcibly and secretly returned to their home country against their will days after their arrival. (Guardian, 25 April 2023)

8 May: Ex-army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt attacks the government’s Rwanda plan, saying the country still lives under ‘the shadow of genocide’, as he tells the Independent that people fleeing conflict should not be sent there. (Independent, 8 May 2023)

Crimes of solidarity

24 April: An 86,000-signature petition by Britain First to strip the RNLI of its charitable status because it rescues asylum seekers results in an increase in donations to the charity. (Third Sector, 24 April 2023)

An RNLI lifeboat on the sea alone
An RNLI Lifeboat at sea. Credit: Jon Lavis, Flickr.


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.

25 April: The final results of a local election in Salzburg show that the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) scored 26% of the vote, up 7% from the previous election in 2018. (Foreign Policy, 25 April 2023)

26 April: Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, is expelled from the Conservative party for comparing Covid vaccines to the Holocaust. (Mirror, 26 April 2023)

26 April: After the immigration minister says housing asylum seekers in hotels could ‘destabilise’ communities and protests against them should be heeded, home secretary Suella Braverman tells the Today programme that small-boat arrivals ‘possess values which are at odds with our country’ and have ‘heightened levels of criminality’. (Guardian, 26 April 2023)

27 April: The Finnish National Coalition party enters talks with the far-Right Finns party with a view to forming a coalition government which would also include the Christian Democrats and the Swedish People’s Party of Finland. (Independent, 27 April 2023)

28 April: During a visit to the UK to discuss a ‘deeper alliance’ that would straddle defence, Ukraine, migration and trade, the Italian far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni praises Rishi Sunak’s ‘fight against traffickers and clandestine immigration’. (Guardian, 28 April 2023)

2 May: The EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is accused by Palestinians of crude revisionism and the use of racist anti- Palestinian tropes when she congratulated Israel, on its 75th birthday, for ‘literally’ making ‘a desert bloom’. (Al Jazeera, 2 May 2023)

2 May: The Greek Supreme Court rules against the far-right National Party standing in the general election, due to its candidates’ serious criminal convictions, but allows the EAN party to stand. Two other extreme-right parties, the Patriotic Union and the Patrida party, are banned. (Ekathimerini, 2 May 2023)

2 May: Far-right Sweden Democrats MP Elsa Widding resigns after it emerges she attended a conference where conspiracy theories about climate, vaccines and the Holocaust were aired. (Euractiv, 2 May 2023)

4 May: Delivering the keynote at CPAC Europe in Budapest, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán attacks liberalism as a ‘virus’, decries LGBTQ+ rights and migration, hits out at the ‘woke agenda’ and calls for Donald Trump’s return to office. (Guardian, 4 May 2023; Euronews, 4 May 2023)

5 May: The Swedish migration minister, flanked by the parliamentary leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats, announces an inquiry into changing the constitution so that people can be stripped of their citizenship, also promising a second inquiry into the financial requirements for citizenship, and new demands for ‘honourable moral conduct’. (The Local, 5 May 2023)

5 May: In the English local elections, UKIP loses all its seats and Reform UK wins just six seats, averaging just 6% of the vote in the wards where it stood. Far-right parties Britain First and British Democrats also fielded failed candidates, with BF’s leader Paul Golding finishing last in Swanscombe, near Dartford. (BBC News, 6 May 2023; The London Economic, 6 May 2023)

8 May: A Polish appeal court throws out a case brought by Przasnysz county authorities against four activists from the ‘Atlas of Hate’ project who were charged with defamation for providing information on local authority measures targeting the LGBT+ community. (Human Rights Watch, 8 May 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.

25 April: In the context of the annual commemoration of Italian resistance to fascism, far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni calls for Liberation Day to be renamed the ‘Festival of Freedom’. Senate president Ignazio La Russa says ‘The Italian Constitution doesn’t contain the word “anti-fascism”’. (Jacobin, 25 April 2023)

26 April: The German intelligence agencies formally list Young Alternatives (the youth wing of Alternative for Germany), the Institute for State Policy and One Percent as extremist organisations. (Reuters, 26 April 2023)

26 April: In France, ‘feminist’ identitarian group Collectif Némésis targets an abandoned school occupied by undocumented migrants in Paris’ sixteenth district, unfurling a banner reading ‘Free us from immigration’. Days later racist stickers appear stating that ‘Here, so-called ‘humanitarian’ associations are working for Islamic immigration’. (Streetpress, 26 April 2023)

27 April: In Greece, masked and hooded men claiming to be the Golden Dawn Youth Front disrupt a municipal exhibition of artworks by a North Macedonia painter in Thessaloniki, claiming on YouTube they had successfully ‘banned’ an exhibition that cast doubt ‘on the Greekness of our homeland’. (AFP, 27 April 2023)

28 April: A 15-year-old boy from Isleworth who threw liquid into the face of three teenage girls last year, producing videos of the attack, one superimposed with a swastika, admits possession of a bomb-making manual and dissemination of a terrorist publication. (ITV News, 28 April 2023)

28 April: Far-right student Vaughn Dolphin, who accidentally blew up his kitchen while experimenting with explosives and had ranted in chatrooms that ‘minorities should be shot’, is convicted by Birmingham Crown Court of terrorism offences and of having an unlicensed firearm. (Somerset County Gazette, 28 April 2023)

5 May: The Network Contagion Research Institute warns that a far-right fake account purporting to be that of an Islamic extremist living in Spain is part of an attempt by ‘Reconquista’ networks to use social media to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment, deploying similar tactics as used by the far Right in the US and Brazil. (Independent, 5 May 2023)

8 May: The French interior minister, the city authorities and the police are criticised for allowing a march of around 600 neo-nazis to take place in Paris on the public holiday to commemorate the victory over fascism in 1945. (France 24, 8 May 2023)

9 May: At a news conference on ‘politically-motivated crimes’, the German interior minister states that the far Right committed 23,493 crimes in Germany in 2022, leading to at least 675 injuries, 62 attacks on mosques and a 9% increase in attacks against refugees. (AA, 9 May 2023)


Cases of police racism and sexism – and the way they are dealt with – are often linked, and as a reflection of this, this section includes information on police misogyny.

24 April: The family of Kelvin Igweani issue a statement outlining their failure to access mental health support for him after a jury finds that Kelvin, aged 24, was lawfully killed by Thames Valley police who shot him dead and Tasered him in June 2021. (Inquest, 24 April 2023; IOPC, 24 April 2023)

26 April: The Chief Inspector of Prisons issues an urgent notification to the justice secretary for immediate action to improve conditions at Cookham Wood youth detention centre, where a quarter of boys are held in solitary confinement for extended periods, including two for more than 100 days, as a means of managing conflict between children. (HM Inspectorate of Prisons, 26 April 2023)

30 April: Romford Business Improvement District, backed by Havering councillors and the Met, introduces an antisocial behaviour ban on people putting up their hoods in the town centre’s shopping area. (Guardian, 30 April 2023)

3 May: The Public Order Act comes into force the day after Royal Assent, criminalising a wide range of protest activities and giving police powers of random protest-related stop and search. (Left Foot Forward, 3 May 2023) 

3 May: The Met police is criticised after announcing its intention to use live facial recognition technology in policing the crowds at the coronation in the largest ever deployment in Britain. (Guardian, 3 May 2023)

Republican protesters during the coronation of Charles on May 6th
Protesters during the Coronation in London. Credit: Steve Eason, Flickr.

7 May: Lewisham council in south London expresses concern about the Metropolitan police’s treatment of counter-protesters during a Turning Point UK protest against a drag queen storytelling session at the Honor Oak pub in Lewisham. Police officers are also criticised for wearing ‘Thin Blue Line’ badges. (Observer, 7 May 2023)


26 April: At a Westminster Higher Education Forum event, Lord Willets, speaking alongside the Free Speech Union, says that forthcoming legislation will be used across the political spectrum, to protect ‘extreme views’, including ‘Islamic views’ and ‘Holocaust denial’ and will result in ‘quite a lot of legal cases’, potentially involving conflict with the Equality Act. (THE, 27 April 2023)

28 April: The University of Manchester apologises to Black students who protested against racist language and slurs during a French class. (BBC News, 28 April 2023; Manchester Evening News, 28 April 2023)

4 May: The suicide of a 26-year-old Kenyan nursing student in Finland on a special ‘education export programme’ draws attention to a tuition fees dispute between Finns and Kenyan provincial authorities, leaving students facing many hardships, fearing deportation and vulnerable to sexual exploitation.  (Helsinki Times, 4 May 2023; YLE, 4 May 2023)

8 May: All 38 of Sweden’s rectors and principals sign a joint letter condemning a last-minute decision by the education ministry to speed up the appointment of security experts to university boards on the grounds that universities are being ‘infiltrated by hostile foreign powers’.  (THE, 8 May 2023)


27 April: The government proposes a new draft law to exempt asylum landlords from HMO (house in multiple occupancy) licensing, raising concerns that asylum seekers will be legally housed in unfit and dangerous accommodation. (Open Democracy, 27 April 2023)

29 April: Charities warning that economic deprivation is driving vulnerable women, including migrant women and asylum seekers, into exploitative and abusive relationships to cover the cost of housing and basic needs. (Guardian, 29 April 2023)

30 April: A high court judge rules unlawful Cardiff city council’s systemic failure to investigate illegal evictions, which encouraged bad landlords and made vulnerable tenants homeless, in a case brought by the Public Law Project. (Voice Wales, 30 April 2023)  

5 May: The Federal Institute for Human Rights and the National Centre for Policy Prevention in Belgium issue a joint statement criticising 253 municipalities for violating the rights and human dignity of beggars by criminalising begging, even though it has not been a criminal offence since 1993. (Brussels Times, 5 May 2023)

6 May: Somali families threaten legal action against Tower Hamlets council for racism and corruption, claiming it has systematically removed them from the waiting list for social housing and left them in unsafe, overcrowded and insanitary conditions for years. (Observer, 6 May 2023)


4 May: An investigation reveals how the ‘gig economy’ allows exploitation in the rapidly expanding food delivery sector, where documented workers rent out accounts to undocumented migrant workers. (The Conversation, 4 May 2023)

7 May: An Observer investigation reveals appalling conditions and sub-minimum wage levels for drivers employed by Lithuanian haulage company Girteka, which employs 19,000 people across Europe delivering for Amazon, Ikea and DHL. (Observer, 7 May 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.

25 April: In Hungary, the Szikra movement says that following the detention of a member whose identify was leaked after she was arrested for participating in a counter-mobilisation against the international far-right ‘Day of Honour’ the media has subjected it to an antisemitic smear campaign. (Szikra, 25 April 2023)

26 April: In Germany, a Der Spiegel cartoon on India’s growing population depicts an overcrowded Indian train overtaking a Chinese train. The cartoon is criticised by members of the Indian government for being ‘outrageously racist’. (Independent, 26 April 2023)

30 April: The Guardian apologises to the Jewish community after a cartoon on the outgoing BBC chairman Richard Sharp depicts him as a grotesque figure, holding a box which is filled with gold and labelled Goldman Sachs. (Haaretz, 30 April 2023)

3 May: The England and Wales Cricket Board recommends fines totalling £37,000 for the six players charged in the Yorkshire County Cricket Club racism scandal. Gary Ballance receives the greatest suggested penalty of £8,000 and an eight-week suspension. (Telegraph & Argus, 3 May 2023)

3 May: Local Swansea activists stage a two-day ‘Wokefest’ to counter Katie Hopkins’ events and reclaim ‘woke’ as a positive value. (Left Foot Forward, 3 May 2023)

3 May: An open letter signed by French academics warns against the anti-democratic nature of an extreme-right-led campaign against ‘wokeism’ in gender and postcolonial studies. (Le Monde, 3 May 2023)

4 May: East Fife FC announce that they have banned two supporters accused of racially abusing an Albion Rovers player during a match on 29 April. (Daily Record, 4 May 2023)

6 May: In the Netherlands, 154 football fans are arrested for singing antisemitic chants on their way to an Ajax and AZ Alkmaar fixture in Amsterdam. (CNN, 6 May 2023)

7 May: Tottenham Hotspur FC announce that they are working with police to identify a crowd member who racially abused one of their players, Son Heung-Min, during a Premier League match against Crystal Palace the day before, while Crystal Palace FC says they will ban the perpetrator. (Express, 7 May 2023; Guardian, 7 May 2023)

9 May: The Rugby Football Union bans a former council member from Twickenham for making racist comments during a Six Nations match last year where he said to another volunteer ‘you realise they don’t let n****** in the Royal Box’. Alex Murphy is also stripped of his distinguished’ status and had his privileges removed. (Guardian, 9 May 2023)


For details of court judgements on racially motivated and other hate crimes, see also POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

26 April: A 33-year-old man is convicted of racially aggravated criminal damage for breaking about 20 windows at an historic Shrewsbury hotel on 20 April. Kidderminster magistrates sentence him to 24 weeks prison suspended for 12 months and 120 hours of unpaid work. (Shropshire Star, 26 April 2023)

30 April: Newcastle magistrates convict a 21-year-old man of two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, one of which was racially aggravated, for shouting racist and homophobic abuse at two men and hitting them with a Christmas bauble at Whitley Bay Metro Station on 5 December 2022. (Chronicle Live, 30 April 2023)

1 May: A 36-year-old man is convicted of racially aggravated assault and shoplifting for racially abusing and attempting to punch a security guard while trying to steal over £100 worth of meat from a Lidl in Walkergate. Newcastle magistrates fine him £500 and order £100 compensation and £85 costs. (Chronicle Live, 1 May 2023)

2 May: A 23-year-old man who broke into an aged care facility in Torquay and racially abused, punched and threatened staff is jailed for 16 weeks by Exeter Crown Court for racially aggravated battery and property damage. (Devon Live, 2 May 2023)

3 May: The White Hart Inn pub in Grays, Essex which is being investigated for an alleged hate crime over the display of racist golly dolls, closes for business after a boycott by three of its suppliers. (Guardian, 3 May 2023)

3 May: A male driver is being sought for racially abusing police after being fined for parking across a pavement. (Birmingham Live, 5 May 2023)

8 May: Students, most from an ethnic minority background, visiting a youth educational camp in Brandenburg, Germany, are subjected to racist insults and threats by another group, with the police, who are treating the incident as politically motivated, escorting the students out of the camp. (Deutsche Welle, 8 May 2023)

8 May: A community centre in Accrington is broken into for the second time in three days, heavily vandalised and graffitied with antisemitic and islamophobic messages. Lancashire Police arrest five teenagers in relation to the crime and release them on bail. (Jewish News, 9 May 2023)

8 May: Leeds Magistrates’ Court orders a 39-year-old man to pay a total of £239 for  racially and religiously aggravated abuse in Bradford police station on 1 August 2021. (The Telegraph & Argus, 10 May 2023)

8 May: A man is arrested outside a West London primary school and charged with racially abusing and threatening another man with two knives. (MyLondon, 18 May 2023)  

9 May: A 29-year-old woman is convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence after racially abusing a police officer in Swindon on 25 October 2022, telling the Polish officer to “learn English” on her TikTok livestream. Swindon Magistrates’ Court orders her to pay a total of £197 in fines and charges. (LBC, 9 May 2023)

9 May: The Rugby Football Union issues a time limited ban to a ‘distinguished member’ from Twickenham for making racist comments during the 2022 Six Nations England vs Wales match. (BBC, 9 May 2023)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sophie Chauhan, Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordish, Kimia Talebi and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association, Stopwatch and The Week in Work, 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.

Featured image: Stop the Bill demo outside parliament. Credit: JCWI

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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