Calendar of racism and resistance (25 March – 8 April 2021)

Calendar of racism and resistance (25 March – 8 April 2021)


Written by: IRR News Team

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


25 March: The French interior minister asks the European Commission to revoke the funding of community organisation Alliance Citoyenne, which gained prominence through civil disobedience actions against the burkini ban in 2019, on the ground that it promotes ‘sharia law’ and ‘pressures local authorities’. (France 3, 25 March 2021)

29 March: In Portugal, TV personality Suzana Garcia, known for her persistent denial of structural racism and a ‘tough on crime’ approach including chemical castration for sex offenders, is selected by the centre-right PSD party as election candidate for the Lisbon municipality of Amadora. (Newsbeezer 29 March 2021)

30 March: A municipal council member in Merchtem, Belgium resigns following racist remarks he made during a videoconference. Thinking his microphone had been turned off, he commented that black people should no longer be in the Flemish town. (Le Soir, 31 March 2021)

31 March: Middle East Eye reveals that an adviser to the Conservative Party’s inquiry into Islamophobia and other forms of prejudice within the party has called for the idea of Islamophobia to be ‘junked’. (Middle East Eye, 31 March 2021)

31 March: A report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) is roundly rejected as ‘deeply cynical’ by race organisations, with the IRR condemning its methodology for stigmatising the Black Caribbean community amongst other things. Read the IRR statement here. (Guardian, 31 March 2021)

1 April: Samuel Kasumu, No 10’s race adviser, who has previously criticised Conservative ‘politics steeped in division’, quits the day after the publication of the CRED report. (Guardian, 1 April 2021)

1 April: Doreen Lawrence, who campaigned for 18 years for justice after her son Stephen was murdered by racists, says the CRED report gives ‘racists the green light’ and that it ‘has pushed [the fight against] racism back 20 years or more’. (Guardian, 1 April 2021)

1 April: The leaders of Fidesz (Hungary), Law and Justice (Poland) and The League (Italy) meet in Budapest and announce the formation of a new right-wing European alliance to create a ‘European renaissance based on Christian values’. (Euronews, 1 April 2021)

2 April: Following repeated condemnation, Labour shadow minister for women and equalities, Charlotte Nichols, apologises for tweeting pictures of herself distributing an election leaflet that made pledges about ‘dealing with Traveller incursions’, in her Warrington North, Cheshire constituency. (Guardian, 2 April 2021)

2 -3 April: As academics ask for their names to be removed from the CRED report, and historian David Olusoga says its comments on slavery are ‘historically illiterate’, an open letter signed by hundreds of education researchers criticise its methodology and findings, as do black and minority ethnic business leaders, who say their recommendations were ignored for containing ‘inconvenient truths’. (Guardian, 2, 3 April 2021)

2 April: As the Danish parliament considers its ‘ghetto plan’, interior minister Kaare Dybvad Bek tells a meeting hosted by Facebook, ‘We need to get better at spreading cultures so that not all perpetrators of violence live together and reinforce the norms they have been accustomed to.’ (Al Jazeera, 2 April 2021)

4 April: In Bulgaria, four far-right parties (VMRO, NFSB, Ataka and Volya) putting up candidates in the general election fail to cross the threshold necessary for parliamentary representation. (Balkan Insight, 4 April 2021)


19 March: The parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights reports that restrictions on protest rights during the pandemic have been marked by confusion and ambiguity, leaving the public at risk of arbitrary or discriminatory decision-making by police. (JCHR, 19 March 2021)

23 March: A member of the committee Truth for Adama Traoré in France reveals that the public prosecutor has opened an investigation against him following last week’s Solidarities March in Paris where he spoke out against ‘France’s racist justice system’ and police officers’ implicit ‘license to kill’. (Le Courrier de L’Atlas, 23 March 2021)

23 March: In France, an investigation reveals the police harassment faced by Yann G. and his 15-year-old since filing a complaint about violent and racist treatment in the Kremlin-Bicêtre precinct, Ile-de-France, in August 2019, which left the 15-year-old with a broken nose. Since then, the family reports receiving over thirty fines for minor infractions such as not wearing gloves on a scooter, totalling €2,446. (Street Press, 23 March 2021)

24 March: Avon and Somerset police retract their widely reported claims that officers suffered broken bones and a punctured lung during a demonstration against the Police Bill on Sunday 21 March. (Guardian, 25 March 2021)

24 March: Campaigners from the Good Law Project and Stop Funding Hate criticise guidance on policing protests circulated to all England and Wales forces by the National Police Chiefs Council and the College of Policing, saying it risks breaching human rights by describing pickets or boycotts of shops as ‘aggravated activism’, and should be published to further public debate. (Guardian, 24 March 2021)

24 March: In Portugal, following a police raid the previous day, described as a siege lasting eight hours, in the multicultural neighbourhood Quinta das Lagoas, on the outskirts of Lisbon, when police were said to be responding to reports of gunshots, two people are arrested on charges of illegal possession of knives. (Público, 24 March 2021) 

26 March: Nine out of ten children in the criminal justice system are likely to have been abused, according to Punishing Abuse, a report by West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, which also looks at high rates of school exclusions. (Children & Young People Now, 26 March 2021)

26 March: Ten arrests are made and a Daily Mirror journalist shares footage showing an alleged assault on him by police, as over a thousand demonstrators converge in Bristol in a third protest against the Police Bill and the conduct of police in breaking up previous demonstrations. (Guardian, 26 March, Guardian, 27 March 2021)

Kill the Bill protest. Credit: Alex Hyndman.

27 March: The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) orders the City of London police to reinvestigate itself over a stop and search in May 2020, in which officers smashed Ryan Colaço’s car window and restrained and strip-searched him, after the force cleared itself of wrongdoing. (Guardian, 27 March 2021)

27 March: Facial scanning technology is being trialled using public funding by biometric companies iProov and Mvine for ‘vaccine passports’ for use in pubs, musical and sporting events, despite evidence of its discriminatory impact. (Times, 27 March, Left Foot Forward, 6 April 2021)

28 March: As the National Police Chiefs Council finalises a race action plan in response to BLM protests, its chair, Martin Hewitt, says racial justice in policing is an ‘operational necessity’ to ensure that all communities have trust and confidence in police. (Guardian, 28 March 2021)

28 March: Former Durham chief constable Michael Barton says the Police Bill takes the UK away from policing by consent and dangerously close to paramilitary-style policing used by repressive regimes. Former Greater Manchester chief constable Sir Peter Fahy says the ‘short-term and politically-driven’ Bill draws policing into dangerous political territory. (Guardian, 28 March 2021)

29 March: In Italy, an investigation into police brutality against two migrants is opened after video footage filmed five days before is televised, showing officers pushing, kicking and hitting the men with a crowbar, on a train between Genoa and Ventimiglia. (InfoMigrants, 1 April 2021)

30 March: The French Court of Cassation overturns the defamation conviction of migrant solidarity activist Loan Torondel, imposed by the Boulogne-sur-Mer court in 2018 for an ironic tweet criticising the Calais police. The court cites protection of freedom of expression. (France 3, 2 April 2021)

30 March: In Marseille, France, a police officer receives a three-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting a 51-year-old man who was on his way home, near a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020. (Le Parisien, 30 March 2021)

30 March: The Dutch Ombudsman says that the burden of proof in complaints of ethnic profiling should no longer be placed on the individual, adding that too few complaints are made because of mistrust of the police and judicial services. (Netherlands News Live, 30 March 2021)

30 March: The House of Lords constitution committee says that the backlog of crown court cases in England and Wales has reached ‘crisis levels’, with the increased remand population likely to disproportionately impact young people and children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. (Guardian, 30 March 2021)

31 March: In Lausanne, Switzerland, 500 people demonstrate in protest at the acquittal on grounds of ‘legitimate self-defence’ of a police officer who shot dead Hervé, a 27-year-old Congolese father who was holding a bread knife, in Bex in November 2016. (RTS, 31 March 2021)

31 March: Alison O’Keeffe, associate editor of an official policing inspectorate report on protest published on 11 March, claims pro-police and pro-government bias in the report, with its conclusions calling for stronger police powers reached before evidence was gathered and assessed. (Guardian, 31 March 2021)

1 April: The Open Rights Group says Home Office ministers are using concerns about child safety to put pressure on Facebook to implement a system allowing for encrypted private messages to be read by police and security agencies. (Guardian, 1 April 2021)

2 April: The mother of Jermaine Baker, a 28-year-old who was fatally shot by a firearms officer in 2015, says she is ‘blindsided’ by the news that the officer is training other firearms officers despite facing misconduct charges. (Guardian, 2 April 2021)

2 April: After a ten-year battle by the family of French military officer Myriam Sakhri to overturn the official verdict of suicide on her death in a Lyons barracks in 2011, the Lyon appeal court reopens the investigation, looking at possible manslaughter, in light of testimonies that she had been suffering severe racist harassment by her colleagues and superiors. (Franceinfo, 2 April 2021)

3 April: As protests against the Police Bill are held in towns and cities across the UK, the Met police are criticised for the arrest of two legal observers from Black Protest Legal Support (BPLS) at a march in central London where over 100 arrests are made. Four BPLS observers were arrested at a protest in March. (Independent, 4 April 2021)

3 April: The lawyer for the family of Jozef Chovanec, the Slovak citizen who died following police action at the Belgian Charleroi airport, announces that the Slovakian state has signed on as a civil party in the case. (DH, 3 April 2021)

4 April: A TV programme airs the testimony of a Black French police officer in Rouen who uncovered a WhatsApp chat where colleagues exchanged hundreds of racist and homophobic text and voice messages, boasting of their readiness for a ‘race war’. (Franceinfo,, 4 April 2021)


25 March: The European Federation of Journalists is among over 60 rights organisations opposing the proposed EU terrorist content law, arguing that automatic filters may remove legal content on discriminatory treatment of minorities and will unduly curtail freedom of expression. (Deutsche Welle, 25 March 2021)

30 March: An independent review of anti-terrorism legislation finds that three-quarters of those stopped and detained at the Northern Ireland border are BME, while 98 percent of the population are white. The Committee on the Administration of Justice warns of the potential for the misuse of terrorism powers. (Guardian, 30 March 2021)


Asylum and migrant rights

24 March: The government’s New Plan for Immigration attracts condemnation from the UN High Commission for Refugees with its proposal to curtail rights for Channel-crossing refugees, who will be granted only temporary status with a view to removal to ‘safe’ third countries, although no EU country has yet agreed to take them. (Guardian, 24 March, Guardian, 24 March 2021)

25 March: Social workers and charities say lone child asylum seekers are ‘falling apart’, suffering with increasing self-harm, insomnia and stress-related disorders through lengthy Home Office delays in processing their claims. A six-month target, the maximum considered compatible with children’s welfare, was lifted in 2019. (Guardian, 25 March 2021)

28 March: Former home secretary Lord Blunkett and Theresa May’s head of immigration enforcement are among those rejecting as unrealistic the Home Office plan to remove spontaneously arriving refugees to ‘safe’ third countries. (Independent, 28 March 2021)

28 March: The European Commission is accused of drafting legislation threatening thirteen countries in Africa and the Middle East with visa restrictions for their nationals because of their alleged failure to cooperate with the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers. (Deutsche Welle, 28 March 2021)

4 April: Three Yemeni brothers threatened with removal to Spain, through which they travelled on a year-long journey to join their asylum-seeking father in the UK after being refused visas, are granted a reprieve, and their cases will now be considered together with their father’s. (Guardian, 4 April 2021) 

Borders and internal controls

23 March: The European parliament votes to postpone approval of the EU border control agency Frontex’s budget until concerns over illegal pushbacks, human rights abuses and internal failures are addressed. (Al Jazeera, 23 March 2021) 

25 March: Police in Croatia issue a statement saying that four people killed and twenty injured in a motorway accident earlier in the week in Western Slavonia are likely to be migrants being smuggled into the EU. (Balkan Insight, 25 March 2021)

1 April: The Home Office signs a legal commitment with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to comply with equality laws when implementing hostile environment policies. (Guardian, 1 April 2021)

Reception and detention

26 March: In France, 480 homeless displaced people are given shelter following a ‘tent occupation’ organised by Utopia 56 in the Place de la Republique, Paris to raise awareness of migrant homelessness. Four months earlier, Utopia 56’s first protest was violently repressed by armed police. (InfoMigrants, 26 March 2021)

27 March: Refugee protests erupt after a 24-year-old Kurdish Turkish refugee commits suicide, apparently by hanging himself in a toilet in a pre-departure detention centre in Corinth, Greece. Two days earlier, another refugee, Naki Diabate, died at the Kos detention centre. Campaigners allege medical neglect. (Efsyn, 27 March 2021)

29 March: In France, in a significant victory for displaced people, a judge rules against the proposed evacuation of a Calais camp housing about 200 people, mostly Eritreans, since July 2020. The municipality’s argument that the camp’s demolition is urgently necessary on public health and security grounds is rejected. (InfoMigrants, 30 March 2021)

1 April: A management plan for Napier barracks reveals that asylum seekers are still to be housed 28 to a dormitory as before, despite warnings from the NHS that such conditions do not allow for adequate social distancing and led to a large outbreak of Covid in January. (Independent, 1 April 2021)

2 April: Stoke-on-Trent City Council withdraws from the government’s asylum seeker dispersal scheme, arguing that the disproportionate allocation of asylum seekers to the West Midlands places unsustainable strain on local services. (Stoke on Trent Live, 2 April 2021)

3 April: The Home Office is allowing asylum accommodation contractors to move asylum seekers to unsuitable areas where they risk far-right attacks, overriding local authority warnings, in its rush to get them out of hotels, it is revealed. (Independent, 3 April 2021)

Criminalising solidarity

31 March: After 11 arrests and five trials in five years of solidarity, Cédric Herrou, the farmer who has helped thousands of migrants at the French/Italian border is definitively acquitted by the French Court of Cassation, which rules that he was acting under the principle of fraternity, a cardinal value of the French constitution. (InfoMigrants, 2 April 2021)

2 April: In Italy, Trapani prosecutors are accused of violating journalists’ rights after a newspaper reports that, as part of investigations into Save the Children and Médecins Sans Frontières for alleged collaboration with people smugglers, they bugged phones and recorded conversations between journalists and rescuers. (Guardian, 2 April 2021)


29 March: The Home Office refusal to disclose the number of women deprived of British citizenship after travelling to Syria to join Islamic State, saying disclosure would ‘prejudice the conduct of public affairs’, is to be investigated by the Information Commissioner following a complaint by Rights and Security International. (Guardian, 29 March 2021)

29 March: The German government announces that under an amendment to the Nationality Act, all former citizens who were stripped of their citizenship during National Socialism, and their children, are now entitled to renaturalisation as German citizens. (, 29 March 2021)

31 March: Lawyers for French women and children detained in north-eastern Syria call on the International Criminal Court to investigate President Macron’s possible ‘responsibility and/or complicity’ in alleged war crimes committed against them in the detention camps, and say his refusal to repatriate them denies the possibility of a fair trial for IS-related terror offences. (Middle East Eye, 31 March 2021)


5 April 2021: In the Netherlands, a petition is launched calling on the immigration authorities to reverse the decision to deport two popular Moroccan sisters, who came to the country aged seven and four, and put themselves through school while living in 25 different homes, including ten years in a storage space, on the grounds they are ‘not Dutch enough’. (Dutch News, 5 April 2021)

4 April: Following the revelation that the Home Office has revived a policy of deporting rough sleepers, using personal information provided by charities and local councils, an internal memo is seen which admits that at-risk groups including people with disabilities and ethnic minorities will be disproportionately affected by the new rule. Read the assessment here. (Observer, 27 March, Guardian, 4 April 2021)


22 March: The French mayor of Trappes announces the local council’s approval for the filing of a complaint against two far-right polemicists Eric Zemmour and Jordan Bardella for defamation, after they accused the mayor, who is of Moroccan descent, of promoting ‘Islamic law’ in the town. (78 Actu, 23 March 2021)

25 March: Activists of far-right group Action Française violently storm a Toulouse regional council meeting in the south of France, shouting racist and Islamophobic chants, less than a week after a violent attack on an anarchist bookshop in Lyon. (Libération, 25 March 2021)

30 March: North Tyneside magistrate court finds a 16-year-old autistic boy guilty of terrorist offences, including support for the banned neo-Nazi group National Action, and stirring up racism and religious tensions. (BBC News, 30 March 2021)

31 March: Human Rights Watch issues details of bomb and death threats targeted at seven groups in Poland supporting women’s rights and the right to abortion, and call on the authorities to investigate, with the women saying that they do not feel protected by the government or the police. (Human Rights Watch, 31 March 2021)

1 April: Metropolitan police probationary officer Ben Hannam is convicted at the Old Bailey of possession of terrorist documents and belonging to the banned neo-Nazi group National Action. (Guardian, 1 April 2021)

2 April: In Spain, the left-wing Podemos party says a firebomb attack on its headquarters in Cartagena, Murcia, the third attack since May 2020, was an act of ‘fascist terrorism’. (Euronews, 2 April 2021)

5 April: The daughter of a Muslim man murdered by white supremacists in 2013 calls on the government to adopt a legal definition of Islamophobia put forward by the all-party parliamentary group on Islamophobia and endorsed across civil society and by most political parties, but not the Conservatives. (Guardian, 5 April 2021)


See also electoral politics

24 March: A Council of Europe report warns Portugal to tackle racist biases against people of African descent, inherited from the colonial and slave trading periods. (Guardian, 24 March 2021)

28 March: Following the government’s decision to slash overseas aid, a 70 percent cut in grants from the Department for Business to the Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) programme threatens research on fighting drought and climate change. (Observer, 28 March 2021)

30 March: The UK cuts funding of the Syria refugee programme by a third, despite pleas by the UN secretary-general who says that over 13 million Syrians now need humanitarian assistance to survive. This follows huge cuts to aid in Yemen, a country on the brink of famine. (Guardian, 30 March 2021)

31 March: Figures published by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office show that its human rights budget was halved in 2020. (Guardian, 31 March 2021) 


25 March: Boohoo publishes a list of its UK clothing suppliers, bans subcontracting and severs ties with hundreds of companies after a review found ‘endemic’ problems in Leicester factories in its supply chain, including sub-minimum wages and life-threatening fire risks. (Guardian, 25 March 2021)

7 April: Around 400 Deliveroo riders switch off their apps and strike to demand basic workers’ rights including sick and holiday pay, a guaranteed living wage and paid waiting times, in an action organised by the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB). Rival delivery company Just Eat says it is abandoning the ‘gig economy’ model and has reclassified 2,000 workers as employees. (Independent, 7 April 2021)

Deliveroo riders strike to demand basic workers’ rights. Credit: @alexjkmarshall


27 March: Pulse oximeters, which measure blood oxygen levels, could be giving less accurate results for darker skinned patients, contributing to health inequalities such as the higher Covid-19 mortality of BME individuals, a new review from the Cardiff University School of Medicine finds. (Independent, 27 March 2021)

31 March: The call line for Covid-19 vaccinations at a French public hospital is under scrutiny following racist remarks overheard in a message left on a Maghrebi couple’s voicemail. The hospital suspends a staff member, but the comments raise questions over the fairness of the vaccine allocation process. (Bladi, 3 April 2021)

5 April: Some 250 public health professionals condemn the CRED report’s ‘dangerous’ denial of structural racism, which they say distorts the key causes of health inequalities in the UK and contradicts decades of academic research, days after the independent NHS Race and Health Observatory rejected the report’s findings. (Independent, 2 April, Independent, 5 April 2021)

6 April: A coroner finds that Evan Nathan Smith, 21, who died in North Middlesex hospital from a sickle cell crisis in April 2019, would not have died if medical staff had recognised his symptoms and treated him sooner. Despite finding that staff at the Edmonton hospital, serving an area with a large African-Caribbean community, lacked an understanding of sickle cell disease, the coroner makes no finding of neglect. (Guardian, 6 April 2021)


29 March: The Grenfell inquiry hears that leaseholder Shah Ahmed wrote to the council and the landlords, the tenants management organisation in 2010, warning that an inferno could engulf the building and trap the residents, the first of many warnings which were ignored. (Guardian, 29 March 2021)


24 March: Teachers and pupils speak out about systemic and often overt racism in schools, as government figures reveal underrepresentation of BME teachers, particularly at senior levels, where only 1 percent of head teachers are black and a similar percentage Asian. (Guardian, 24 March, Guardian, 24 March 2021)

25 March: It is revealed that 683 police officers are working in British schools, many in areas of high deprivation, raising concerns that they disproportionately affect BME pupils, risk criminalising young people and exacerbate inequalities. (Guardian, 25 March 2021)

25 March: French higher education minister Frédérique Vidalan repeats his threat to investigate ‘Islamo-leftism’ in academia after the National Centre for Scientific Research publishes a statement condemning those who equate scholarship with ‘Islamo-leftism’. (Al Jazeera, 25 March 2021)

26 March: In the absence of government-led change, more than 660 schools across England sign up for a diverse and anti-racist curriculum developed by teachers and council staff in the London borough of Hackney. (Guardian, 26 March 2021)

26 March: A Royal Society report reveals that black graduates are shut out of academic careers in science and technology, with white students twice as likely as black students to be awarded first-class degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths, and black students three times more likely to leave with a third. (Guardian, 26 March 2021)

27 March: The Guardian reports that several universities have signed up to a campaign for access to university education for Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showman and Boater (GRTSB) communities, The Pledge, in the light of the gross under-representation of these communities in higher education. (Guardian, 27 March 2021)

28 March: FOI requests reveal that UK schools recorded more than 60,000 racist incidents in five years, a likely underestimate, as in 2012 the government told schools they had no legal duty to report racist incidents to local authorities. Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield calls for consistency in tackling racism in schools. (Guardian, 28 March 2021)

28 March: An online petition with 44,000 signatures calls for the reinstatement of a teacher at Batley Grammar School who was suspended for showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, stating that that the teacher did so to educate students about racism and blasphemy and not because he agreed with the Islamophobic content. Muslim organisations call for an investigation of the incident. (BBC News, 30 March 2021)

31 March: Hundreds of students stage a sit-in outside Pimlico academy, London, demanding an end to discriminatory school uniform policies, the removal of the union flag outside the school, and the introduction of efforts to make students from a black and minority ethnic background feel more welcome. (Guardian, 31 March 2021)

Sit-in at Pimlico academy. Credit: @loddo_kim.

1 April: As Pimlico academy agrees to a list of student demands following the student action, teaching staff, many of whom have resigned, overwhelmingly pass a no confidence vote in the headteacher and vote to move towards strike action, expressing their pride in the students. (Guardian, 1 April 2021)

1 April: Publisher Pearson pauses the distribution of two GCSE textbooks used by UK schools after a group of academics said in a report that revised editions distort the historical record and fail to offer pupils a balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Middle East Eye, 1 April 2021)

5 April: The teaching union NASUWT calls for Black history to be taught ‘across all subjects in UK schools’. (Guardian, 5 April 2021)


24 March: Guidance from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport requires public buildings to fly the Union flag every day, while a regulation allowing EU flags to be flown without planning permission is abolished. (Guardian, 24 March 2021)

26 March: In a move seen as setting an important precedent for UK collections, the University of Aberdeen announces that it will return a looted Benin Bronze to Nigeria. (Al Jazeera, 26 March 2021)

26 March: Former Sunday Times editorial director Eleanor Mills resigns from the board of the Society of Editors after the organisation fails to retract its statement strongly denying Prince Harry’s claim that there is bigotry in parts of the British press. (Guardian, 26 March 2021)

31 March: The Guardian criticises the government’s media strategy for the publication of the CRED report, suggesting its strict ‘no approach’ embargo, that forbade the gathering of any responses to an 800-word summary sent to outlets the night before publication, was designed to manipulate media coverage. (Guardian, 31 March 2021)

31 March: As #nieklekamy or ‘We are not kneeling’ trends on Twitter in Poland ahead of their match with England, Zbigniew Boniek, president of the Polish Football Association, criticises the English players’ plans to make the anti-racist gesture before kick-off, saying ‘I am absolutely against such actions.’ (Byline Times, 31 March 2021)

3 April: Following the lead of Glasgow clubs Celtic and Rangers, Hibernian confirm they will stand and not kneel before matches to express their commitment to racial equality. (Sky Sports, 3 April 2021)

Football racism

26 March: Former Arsenal forward and France international Thierry Henry disables his social media accounts until action is taken against racist abuse and ‘the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright’. (Guardian, 26 March 2021)

27 March: Wales winger Rabbi Matondo criticises Instagram after he and teammate Ben Cabango are racially abused online following Wales’ friendly win against Mexico. Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Fred have all been targeted recently. (Sky Sports, 28 March 2021)

5 April: Aldo Kalulu, a footballer at FC Bâle, is subjected to racist abuse from spectators which are caught on air by a Swiss television station. (Le Dauphiné, 6 April 2021)

6 April: In Spain, after Valencia players walk off the pitch following alleged racist abuse towards their player Mouctar Diakhaby by Cadiz’s Juan Cala on 4 April, Diakhaby repeats that he was called ‘negro de mierda’ (‘shitty black’), while Cala denies the abuse and says he has been subject to a ‘public lynching’. (Guardian, 6 April 2021)


This is not a definitive listing but contains a selection of the more serious reported incidents.

21 March: The Federal Commission against Racism warns that the Covid pandemic has exacerbated Switzerland’s ‘latent antisemitism’ as it tracks an increase in conspiracy theories targeting Jews on social media. (Le Temps, 21 March 2021)

24 March: In France, members of the committee Security for Everyone gather in front of the Paris Court of Justice to denounce the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes since the start of the second lockdown in October 2020, as inside the courtroom, five people are convicted of inciting hate online against the Asian community. (Franceinfo, 24 March 2021)

24 March: Avon and Somerset Police release CCTV images of a white man in an appeal for information after another man, in his 40s, was racially abused, threatened and pushed at a store in Bristol five days earlier. (Avon and Somerset Police, 24 March 2021)

25 March: A 39-year-old man is given a 14-week custodial sentence after admitting to racially abusing and spitting at a Filipino family from Reading who were visiting Bridport, Dorset in September 2020. (Greatest Hits Radio, 26 March 2021)

26 March: Warwickshire Police release CCTV images of a group of youths who allegedly racially abused a woman in her 30s and a boy of around 17 and punched the woman in the face, in Coleshill, Birmingham on 16 March. (Birmingham Live, 26 March 2021)

29 March: In Sweden, a police investigation is launched after dolls and a message inciting racism are found hanging outside a synagogue in the city of Norrköping. (Sputnik News, 29 March 2021)

30 March: In Germany, Syrian refugee Tareq Alaows withdraws as a Green party parliamentary candidate in Oberhausen, North Rhine-Westphalia after receiving racist threats from right-wing extremists and being exposed to ‘massive racism’ during his short candidacy. (Deutsche Welle, 30 March 2021)

31 March: An analysis of Met Police racist and religious hate crime statistics reveals an increase of above 14 percent in 2020 from the previous year, to over 21,000, with a surge of attacks on east Asians leaving many frightened to leave their homes according to activist Jabez Lam. (Left Foot Forward, 31 March 2021)


The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Jess Pandian, Inês Silva, Neal Tank and Yewande Oyekan.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.