Calendar of Racism and Resistance (25 May – 8 June 2022)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (25 May – 8 June 2022)

News

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 | MIGRATION | BORDERS | CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights   

26 May: Home Office data shows that 75 per cent of asylum claims were granted in the year ending March 2022, a 30-year high, and that most claimants had arrived on small boats or by irregular routes and would now risk prosecution or deportation to Rwanda under the new Nationality and Borders Act. (Guardian, 26 May 2022)

26 May: In Waiting for the Sky to Close: The Unprecedented Crisis Facing Women and Girls Fleeing Ukraine, VOICE presents evidence of sexual and labour exploitation, failed cash assistance programmes and a failure to provide proper medical assistance for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. (HIAS.org, 26 May 2022)

28 May: Eight Afghan journalists facing death threats, beatings, attempted kidnap and shootings since the fall of Kabul sue the British government for reneging on its pledge to get them to safety in the UK. (Observer, 28 May 2022)

29 May: A leaked report commissioned by the Home Office and suppressed for the past year reveals the origins of the Windrush scandal in 30 years of racist immigration legislation designed to reduce the UK’s non-white population. (Guardian, 29 May 2022)

30 May: Academics criticise the Home Office’s High Potential Individual Scheme, which allows graduates from the world’s top tier universities to receive a UK work visa without having a job, for excluding the majority of graduates from Africa and the Caribbean. (The Voice, 30 May 2022)

1 June: The government agrees to an independent public inquiry into the drowning of 27 people in the Channel in November 2021. (Guardian, 1 June 2022)

3 June: A Guardian analysis shows that the UK has taken in fewer Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other European country except France, at 10 per 10,000 people, compared with Germany’s 87 per 10,000. (Guardian, 3 June 2022)

5 June: Interior ministers from Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain call for the EU to end ‘solidarity’ with migrants. Citing migratory movement from impoverished African countries facing hunger due to the war in Ukraine, and the Russian obstruction of its grain exports, the Italian interior minister demands ‘repatriation agreements with countries whose people were seeking a better life’. (Euronews, 5 June 2022)

Borders and internal controls

23 May: Straz Graniczna, a coalition of Polish NGOs, provides geolocation data on 4,000 migrants which shows that at least one-third were the victims of Polish pushbacks. Under Polish laws on facilitating illegal entry, storing geolocation data is a punishable offence. (Balkan Insight, May 2022)

26 May: Bulgarian police are using dogs and other violence to illegally push back Afghan and other refugees at the border with Turkey, says Human Rights Watch in a new report. (Al Jazeera, 26 May 2022)

30 May: In a case brought by the Association for Legal Intervention, an administrative court in Warsaw, Poland rules that border guards acted illegally when sending a group of Yemenis and Iraqis back over the border into Belarus. (Notes from Poland, May 2022)

30 May: Greece announces plans to triple the length of a 40km steel border wall with Turkey, seeking EU funds (which normally only finances the EU border protection agency) for additional construction. (Al Jazeera, 30 May 2022)

Reception and detention

26 May: A report commissioned by Refugee Action finds that in many areas of the UK there is little or no legal aid provision for people seeking asylum, including for those facing deportation to Rwanda. (Guardian, 26 May 2022)

26 May: A report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration finds that many asylum seekers are being placed in hostels in areas of far-right and racist activity. Far-right groups have increasingly targeted asylum hostels for racist attacks. (Byline Times, 26 May 2022)

26 May: The housing of 200 single male asylum seekers at Thwaite Hall, near Hull, East Yorkshire, is put on hold following a meeting with local council members, while the opening of another planned asylum centre in a former air base in Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, is delayed after councillors’, residents’ and campaigners’ opposition. (Yorkshire Post, 26 May 2022; Guardian, 31 May 2022) 

31 May: RomPraha says the Czech government’s decision to end humanitarian assistance for homeless Romani refugees from Ukraine at Prague’s main railway station, and move them to a ‘tent city’ in the Malešice neighbourhood, will lead to police repression. (Romea, 1 June 2022)

31 May: Following inspections at three regional assistance centres, the Czech human rights ombudsman finds discrimination against Romani refugees from Ukraine, in that they are denied access to Prague centres or only allowed to enter accompanied by a police officer or NGO worker. (Romea, 31 May 2022)

Deportations

29 May: An Afghan asylum seeker who came to the UK as a child in 2008 says he has tried to take his own life after receiving a notice of intent to remove him to Rwanda. (Independent, 29 May 2022) 

30 May: Rwanda’s opposition leader rebukes the British government for ‘betraying the values…of human rights, democracy…the core values of the Commonwealth’ with its plans to send refugees to a country that ‘everybody knows’ is a ‘dictatorship’. (Times (£), 30 May 2022)

31 May: A planned charter flight to return around 30 Kurdish asylum seekers to northern Iraq, the first for a decade, is cancelled, with no reasons given although there is widespread opposition in northern Iraq to forced returns from the UK. (Guardian, 31 May 2022)

2 June: One of at least 17 asylum seekers detained at Brook House detention centre, and who went on hunger strike after receiving notices of intended removal to Rwanda on 14 June, has been warned that if he does not eat, he could be deported sooner ‘in the interests of your health and safety’. (Guardian, 2 June 2022)

Protesters at the entrance to Brook House detention centre in Gatwick
Protesters outside Brook House detention centre in May. Credit: SOAS Detainee Support, Twitter.

5 June: Charities accuse the Home Office of trying to include unaccompanied 16-year-olds in deportations to Rwanda – misclassifying under-18s as adults. (Guardian, 5 June 2022)

6 June: The Home Office says its voluntary returns service will fly people back to their country of origin if they refuse deportation to Rwanda, while those currently detained for removal are from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Eritrea, many of which are active conflict zones. (Guardian, 6 June 2022) 

Crimes of solidarity

31 May: In Trapani, Italy, prosecutors clear the Eritrean priest, Mussie Zeraik, founder of Habeshia (Migrants Lifesaver), of all charges related to facilitating illegal entry. The Catholic daily Avvenire calls the 52-month-long investigation ‘disgraceful’. (InfoMigrants, 31 May 2022)

5 June: Three protesters violently arrested for helping block an immigration raid in Glasgow in May 2021 launch a petition to have their charges dropped. (Guardian, 5 June 2022)

The two men detained in Glasgow leaving the immigration enforcement van.
The two men detained in the May 2021 immigration raid in Glasgow. Credit: Andrew Learmonth, Twitter.
Citizenship

30 May: The Home Office publishes a new policy enabling the fee of over £1,000 for children to register as British citizens to be waived where payment would compromise the family’s ability to cover the child’s essential living needs. (Free Movement, 30 May 2022)

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

25 May: The Hungarian prime minister declares a state of emergency, allowing him to rule by decree, citing the need to ‘protect Hungary and Hungarian families’ from the impact of the war in Ukraine. (Deutsche Welle, 25 May 2022)

25 May: In Hungary, far-right Jobbik deputy leader Dániel Z. Kárpát accuses the government of enabling employment agencies to ‘systematically import’ ‘Third World’ guest workers from ‘exotic countries’ and calls for the introduction of a scheme to induce Hungarians working abroad to return home. (Daily News Hungary, 25 May 2022)

26 May: The National Black Police Association criticises Downing Street’s alleged interference in the selection process to appoint a new head of the National Crime Agency, with allegations that Neil Basu, a former head of counter-terrorism of Asian heritage, was blocked. (Guardian, 26 May 2022)

1 June: Rose Martin, mayor for Walsall, who claims her phone was hacked, is suspended from the Conservative party over a WhatsApp post showing five black children looking at one white child under the caption, ‘First day at school for a Ukrainian refugee in south London’.  (Guardian, 1 June 2022)

7 June: A vote of no confidence in the Swedish justice minister is triggered by the far-right Sweden Democrats, who, joined by Conservatives, claim the government is not doing enough to fight violent crime, especially gang violence and gun deaths.  (Deutsche Welle, 7 June 2022)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right as well as information relating to the incel movement.

24 May: A French court convicts six people of aggravated harassment and sending death threats to a 16-year-old girl known as Mila, after she responded in 2020 to online insults about her sexuality with a video in which she made offensive remarks about Islam. (Euronews, 24 May 2022)

24 May: Antifascist Europe publishes How Foreign Far-Right Volunteers Are Arriving to Fight in Ukraine, which analyses far-right involvement in both Russian and Ukrainian battalions and expresses particular concern about the long-term impact for European security of the International Legion of Ukraine. (RLF, 24 May 2022) 

26 May: A German intelligence report finds that neo-Nazis from the Russian Imperial Legion, the Russian Imperial Movement and the Rusich have fought in Ukraine, and that an entire squad of neo-Nazis had been part of the militia in the Donetsk self-proclaimed republics. (Robert Lansing Institute, 26 May 2022)

27 May: Operations manager David Musins, 36, from north London, is jailed for three years for involvement with proscribed far-right group National Action. (Express & Star, 27 May 2022)

31 May: A StreetPress investigation into the French far Right reports that Generation Identity, the ‘feminist’ Collectif Némésis  and ‘Humanitarian Emergency’ are travelling to parts of Ukraine and bordering countries to express support for Ukraine’s far-right militia and for Ukrainian refugees who are  ‘members of the same European family’ and ‘not dangerous to us’. (StreetPress, 31 May 2022)

31 May: In Sweden, charges relating to weapons but not terrorism-related charges are brought against Jim Holmallegren, an alleged neo-Nazi who used Anders Breivik as an online avatar and was found in possession of bomb-making equipment and 3D-printed weapons parts. (Vice, 31 May 2022)

31 May: A recent incident involving a man being stabbed to death in a street fight is used by the Polish far-right Confederation Party to falsely blame Ukrainian refugees. MP Robert Winnicki says ‘immigrants working as drivers in Warsaw have committed dozens of rapes’ owing to the government’s ‘mass immigration policy’ and that refugees are privileged over Poles. (Notes from Poland, 31 May 2022) 

31 May: Four neo-Nazis are arrested and a large arsenal of weapons including machine guns and 72 Kalashnikovs are seized by police during a raid in Alsace, France. (West Observer, 3 June 2022)

1 June: Suspended sentences for promoting fascism in Poland handed out to six people, including the leader of Duma i Nowoczesność (Pride and Modernity), are criticised as lenient. They had been filmed in woods in 2017 in Nazi uniforms celebrating Hitler’s birthday. (Notes from Poland, 1 June 2022) 

1 June: Mason Yates, 19, from Widnes, Cheshire, is detained for 30 months after admitting possessing and accessing 100 Deadly Skills and the White Resistance Manual. (Express & Star, 1 June 2022)

2 June: In Spain, an army captain is dismissed and an investigation launched after a pro-democracy army group posts a video showing 30 soldiers kneeling with rifles in front of the Valley of Fallen mausoleum, a shrine for the extreme Right and symbol of the Franco dictatorship, as a priest blesses them. (Crux Now, 2 June 2022)

2 June: An exhibition by Forensic Architecture commissioned by the survivors of the 2020 Hanau massacre and their families, opens in Frankfurt, Germany, where families repeat their claim that police failed to keep tabs on the perpetrator and they were the subject of police suspicion following the attack. (Deutsche Welle, 2 June 2022)

3 June: In answer to a parliamentary question, the German government confirms that the neo-Nazi NDP youth wing and Third World previously took part in training camps organised by the Russian Reich Movement and the Russian Imperial Movement, currently fighting in Ukraine. (RND, 3 June 2022)

3 June: In Potsdam, Germany, an 18-year-old neo-Nazi is arrested on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts. Although not confirmed, media connect him to the Totenwaffe Division in the US. (California 18, 3 June 2022)

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

27 May: In Lyon, France, the BNCVA antisemitism watchdog seeks plaintiff status in the case of René Hadjadj, an 89-year-old Jewish man who was pushed out of his 17th-storey window by a neighbour who prosecution investigators did not initially charge with a racist crime. (Guardian, 27 May 2022)

29 May: The Home Office tells Jon Boutcher, a former head of Bedfordshire police who said the police leadership was not doing enough on racial justice and needed to be challenged, that his application to succeed Cressida Dick as Met police commissioner will not be furthered. (Guardian, 29 May 2022)

30 May: The Independent Office for Police Conduct confirms that a third case of a child strip-searched by the Met police is under investigation. (Guardian, 30 May 2022)

31 May: Reporters without Borders in Greece accuse police of harassing news photographer Iason Raissis after he posted a picture of a uniformed police officer wearing the Blue Lives Matter symbol. (Twitter, 31 May 2022)

31 May: An equality impact assessment of stop and search options reveals that Priti Patel’s officials warned her, before she announced the easing of restrictions on stop and search powers in mid-May, that the move would lead to more black and minority ethnic people being targeted. (Guardian, 31 May 2022)

31 May: Elephant & Castle Sainsbury’s in south London launches an investigation after a video emerges showing a security guard hitting 12-year-old Taharka Campbell, who says he was racially profiled because he is black. (ITV News, 31 June 2022)

1 June: Home Office statistics for England and Wales reveal that in the year to April 2021, 92 per cent of complaints against police resulted in no action and that only in 1 per cent of cases was a formal hearing instigated. (Guardian, 1 June 2022)

2 June: The Alliance of Police Accountability, a newly-formed network of African Caribbean heritage organisations, issues an open invitation to the two shortlisted Metropolitan Police Commissioner candidates to attend a community meeting. (Voice, 2 June 2022)

2 June: In its annual report, the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance finds racism in police forces one of three main trends in 2021, noting racial profiling in stop-and-search activities, the use of racist language and the excessive use of force. (Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, 2 June 2022)

3 June:  Leaked documents reveal that under the crime-fighting initiative Project Alpha, the Met police is collecting children’s personal data from social media sites, scouring social media for drill music videos and other content posted by young people aged 1521, leading to ‘profiling on a large scale’. (Guardian, 3 June 2022)

4 June: The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating the death of Oladeji Adeymi Omishore, who was pulled from the Thames after being tasered three times by police in West London, who were responding to reports of a man carrying a screwdriver and shouting. (Guardian, 5 June 2022; MyLondon, 7 June 2022)

DISCRIMINATION | EQUALITIES | HUMAN RIGHTS

26 May: The city of Grenoble appeals to France’s highest administrative court after the Isère state governor applies the government’s recent law to counter ‘Islamist separatism’ so as to reverse Grenoble’s new swimming policy which would have allowed women to wear the burkini in municipal pools. (Guardian, 26 May 2022) 

26 May: The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has previously reached an agreement with Pontins holiday parks to eradicate discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers, launches a formal investigation into the company. (Guardian, 26 May 2022)

29 May: Durham’s churches vote to offer land to Roma, Gypsies and Travellers making their way to the annual Appleby Fair in Cumbria, giving them somewhere to stop and rest their animals and ensuring they do not risk arrest under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act for unauthorised encampments, given the huge shortfall in local authorities’ transit provision. (Observer, 29 May 2022)

EDUCATION

29 May: Ofsted finds that students at Grove Academy, a free school in Slough, ‘feel unsafe’ and have been ‘racially abused’ or subjected to slurs about their gender or sexual orientation. The school promises to make improvements. (BBC News, 29 May 2022)

30 May: Diane Abbott MP announces the Conference for the Black Child on 11 June, for an urgent discussion of the criminalisation of black youth in schools. (The Voice, 30 May 2022)

1 June: In Leuven, Belgium, Ukrainian children enrolling at some schools face hostility, with Flemish children at one school greeting the refugees with pro-Russian Z signs and shouting at them to return to their own country. (Nieuwsblad.be, 1 June 2022)

1 June: International genetic researchers in Belgium call for the resignation of ‘white supremacist’ VUB-affiliated researcher Michael Woodley, whose race theories were cited in the manifesto of Payton Gendron, who shot dead ten black people in Buffalo, New York. (Brussels Times, 1 June 2022)

2 June: Following a backlash from the Right over government ‘wokism’, French president Emmanuel Macron defends his decision to appoint as education minister the black academic, Pap Ndiaye, who has urged France to confront its colonial past and said the country was in denial about police violence. (Reuters, 2 June 2022)  

5 June: Black English teacher, Jeffery Boakye, argues in an upcoming book that racism in schools should be regarded as a safeguarding issue and calls for institutionalised racism to be both acknowledged and understood. (Guardian, 5 June 2022) 

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

27 May: An expose by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Guardian reveals that migrant fruit pickers are paying thousands of pounds to recruitment companies linked to government schemes, to work on UK farms harvesting produce for M&S, Tesco and Waitrose. (Guardian, 27 May 2022)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

26 May A report from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants reveals how UK immigration law and policy exacerbated the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on migrants and those with insecure immigration status, exposing them to increased risk of Covid-19, undermining public health efforts and introducing ‘greater dysfunctionality into an already-broken immigration system’. (JCWI, 26 May 2022) 

CULTURE | MEDIA | SPORT

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.

27 May: After criticism for a lack of diversity and contestants using racial slurs, ITV’s ‘Love Island’ reality show delivers race training to contestants on the use of appropriate language and behaviour. (Guardian, 27 May 2022)

1 June: After CSKA Sofia fans racially abused their own players in the match against Botev Plovdiv on 19 May, CSKA manager Alan Pardew announces he and his assistant Alex Dyer are to leave the Bulgarian club. (Guardian, 1 June 2022) 

6 June: England manager Gareth Southgate says that the racism experienced by Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho at last year’s Euros adds a ‘layer of difficulty’ in choosing which players to take penalties in a shootout. (Guardian, 6 May 2022)

6 June: Three England fans are arrested in Munich for making Nazi salutes the night before the Nations League match against Germany. (Guardian, 7 June 2022)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

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

26 May: A 29-year-old man from Wingate, County Durham is sentenced to 22 weeks in jail for a racially aggravated assault in July 2021, and is ordered to pay a £128 victim surcharge. (The Northern Echo, 28 May 2022)

28 May: Racist graffiti, including death threats, is sprayed inside the offices of the art project Documenta 15, in Kassel, Germany. The arts centre, currently hosting an Indonesian project, recently cancelled an event on ‘anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian racism’ after what it claimed were unjustified ‘accusations and insinuations’ of antisemitism in relation to support artists’ support for Palestine and BDS. (Art Review, 6 June 2022; Al Jazeera, 7 June 2022)

30 May: Dr Aman Amir talks about the harm to the community caused by an arson and racist graffiti attack on his GP practice building in Knowsley, Merseyside, on 24 February 2022. (Pulse Today, 30 May 2022)

1 June: Birmingham Crown Court sentences a 51-year-old man to 10 months in jail for racially abusing and threatening violence against New Street Station staff in April 2022. He holds 266 prior convictions, including some for similar charges. (Birmingham Mail, 1 June 2022)

1 June: A 30-year-old woman from Corby is convicted of assault against two police officers and the racially aggravated assault of a security guard at Skegness Butlin’s in March 2021, given a 10-week suspended prison sentence, and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and fined £505. (Northamptonshire Telegraph, 7 June 2022)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sira Thiam, Sigrid Corry, Donari Yahzid, Sophie Chauhan and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration 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.


Headline image: Protest outside Rwanda House on Wednesday 8 June 2022 . Credit: Real Media


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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