Calendar of Racism and Resistance (26 August – 8 September 2021)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (26 August – 8 September 2021)

News

Written by: IRR News Team


 

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

ASYLUM, MIGRATION, BORDERS & CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights

25 August: Proposed migration legislation in Greece paves the way for extra fines and fees for asylum seekers and migrants who submit late applications as well as organisations supporting them. A tourist protocol is now being applied to refugees who have been fined 5,000 Euros for arriving by sea without Corona tests. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 27 August 2021) 

2 September: A study suggests that the government’s COVID response did not effectively support UK migrants, with cultural barriers, reduced access to healthcare and welfare support and limited social and economic capital, making it more difficult for migrants to cope during the global pandemic. (Response Source press release, 2 September 2021)

3 September: In France, several judges at the National Court of Asylum claim external interference on judgements is a worrying development. (Mediapart, 3 September 2021)

28 August: An Afghan man, 26, who arrived in the UK aged 14, launches a legal challenge for being ‘left in limbo’ because of a Home Office policy blocking decisions on all asylum claims from Afghanistan. The Home Office has also asked immigration tribunal judges to stop hearing Afghan protection claims. (Guardian, 28 August 2021)

Afghanistan crisis
Image showing people holding placards (such as "Afghan Lives Matter") at an Afghanistan solidarity protest in Paris on 5 September 2021.
An Afghanistan solidarity protest in Paris on 5 September. Credit: Jeanne Menjoulet, Flickr.

26 August: A Home Office helpline for vulnerable non-British nationals in Afghanistan redirected calls to a washing machine company, due to a ‘technical glitch’, the government has admitted. (Metro, 26 August 2021)

27 August: Bulgaria announces it will send between 400-700 troops to its borders with Greece and Turkey to construct barriers and increase surveillance against an ‘influx of migrants from Afghanistan’. (Radio Free Europe, 27 August 2021)

31 August: Following a trip to the region by the German foreign minister, the  EU and the US offer countries neighbouring Afghanistan millions of Euros in aid if they temporarily harbour tens of thousands of refugees, prior to security checks clearing them for transit. (Guardian 31 August 2021)

1 September: Central Asian countries Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan close their borders to Afghans as they seek assurances from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States that they will guarantee their long-term settlement. (National Review, 1 September 2021)

1 September: Luxembourg’s foreign minister almost scuppers the declaration of the EU’s emergency summit on Afghanistan’s commitment to ‘act jointly to prevent the recurrence of uncontrolled large-scale migration’; but the veto is withdrawn after a promise to hold an extraordinary meeting of the High Level Resettlement Forum later in the year. (Morning Star, 2 September 2021)

Borders and internal controls

29 August: In southern Italy, a 17-year-old Bangladeshi is electrocuted on top of a train in the tunnel near Peglia whilst attempting to reach France, one of an estimated 20 migrants who have lost their lives that way. (InfoMigrants, 31 August 2021)

31 August: In the context of illegal push-backs at the Turkish-Greek border river of Meric (Evros), the Turkish organisation ÖHD claims that 3 refugees might have drowned after around 45-50 men from Afghanistan and Syria were forced into the border river by the Turkish military police. (ANF News, 31 August 2021)

2 September: Amnesty International criticises Poland for declaring a state of emergency at its border with Belarus which poses a serious risk for Afghan asylum seekers held without adequate food and clean water for three weeks. The ban on the use of  recording equipment in the area restricts the work of journalists, with the work of NGOs also threatened. (Amnesty International press release, 2 September 2021)

2 September: A young man drowns in Spanish waters after attempting to swim from Morocco to Ceuta. (InfoMigrants, a 6 September 2021)

7 September: Tory MPs urge Priti Patel to immediately return to France anyone, including children, who cross the Channel illegally, and to withhold a promised £54m a day after 800 migrants crossed. The French interior ministry warns the UK that this would contravene international law. (Guardian, 7 September 2021)

Reception and detention

24 August: It is revealed that the Home Office plans to continue housing asylum seekers in Napier Barracks for some years, defying a court ruling that the accommodation was ‘squalid’ and ‘unsafe’. (Morning Star, 24 August 2021)

25 August: The inquest into the death of a 5-year-old Afghan refugee who fell to his death from a Sheffield hotel reveals that it was already the subject of a fire enforcement action when the Home Office placed Afghan families there and the required improvements had not been completed. (Guardian, 25 August 2021)

26 August: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has expanded his Right-to-Buy-back fund to help councils buy homes, and has called on councils to use some of these funds to buy homes for Afghan refugees. (My London, 26 August 2021)

3 September: Analysis finds that Labour-run councils house 8 times as many asylum seekers as Tory ones. Council leaders in some of the poorest parts of the county have taken a higher proportion of asylum seekers than wealthier, Conservative-controlled councils, straining public services. (Guardian, 3 September 2021)

4 September: In Poland, two Afghan boys, aged 5 and 6 recently evacuated from Kabul, die after eating poisonous mushrooms in the forest around the refugee centre near Warsaw. (Guardian, 4 September 2021)

Crimes of solidarity

30 August: In Poland, 13 migrant rights activists are detained after the interior minister describes as ‘absolutely unacceptable’ attempts to destroy part of a barbed-wire barrier at the border with Belarus, adding that those responsible ‘will bear all the legal consequences of their actions’. (Euronews, 30 August 2021)

ELECTORAL POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT POLICY

27 August: Italian far-right League politician Claudio Durigon resigns as undersecretary for the economy after his suggestion to rename a public garden after the brother of Mussolini forced a crisis in the coalition government. (Euronews, 27 August 2021)

27 August: The Portuguese government publishes draft proposals to amend Article 240 of the Penal Code so as to allow for those who hold public office and civil servants – including teachers, and other professionals – convicted in ‘serious cases’ of hate crime, to lose their jobs. (Publico, 27 August 2021)

1 September: Following complaints by Conservative MPs, the Charity Commission clears the Runnymede Trust of breaching charity guidance in its approach to the government’s report on racial disparities. It is also cleared of breaching legal duties by participating in judicial review proceedings. (Guardian,1 September 2021) 

1 September: Greece’s new right-wing health minister, Athanassios Plevris, apologises for past remarks that the country’s Jewish community had taken strong issue with, and avowed his ‘absolute respect’ for Holocaust victims and his opposition to antisemitism. His statement on social media came hours after the Central Board of Jewish Communities expressed concern over his Cabinet appointment. (AP News, 1 September 2021)

5 September: Charities and unions slam the election bill as a ‘power grab to rig polls in favour of Tories’ which discriminates against poorer members of society by requiring voters to show photographic ID and gives the cabinet control over the Electoral Commission – with implications for charities. (Observer, 5 September 2021; Morning Star, 7 September 2021)

7 September: In Spain, the Vox party and the Conservative (PP) mayor of Madrid reject claims that Vox’s anti-LGBTQI rhetoric is linked to a homophobic attack by eight hooded men against a young gay man, who had the word ‘faggot’ carved into his buttocks. The State Federation of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals accuses the mayor of legitimising Vox hate speech. (Guardian, 7 September 2021) 

ANTI-FASCISM, FAR RIGHT & EXTREME RIGHT POLITICS

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

26 August: Britain First members go to a hotel housing young asylum seekers in Hove and film them through the window, despite being told not to. (The Argus, 26 August 2021)

30 August: Neo-Nazis and fascist junta-nostalgists take part in a 7,500 strong anti-vaccine rally outside the Greek parliament which includes fundamentalists brandishing religious symbols and chanting ‘Orthodoxy or death’ who claim that the vaccine will make the ‘Greek DNA’ ‘disappear’. (Keep Talking Greece, 30 August 2021).

31 August: Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in a right-wing terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway, ten years ago, appeals against a court decision not to release him on probation. (News in English, 31 August 2021)

1 September: Former De Montford University student Ben John, who downloaded almost 70,000 white supremacist documents, is given a suspended jail sentence by a judge who describes his actions as ‘teenage folly’ and orders him to read classic literature and return to court in 4 months’ time to be tested on his reading. (Guardian, 1 September 2021)

1 September: A children’s sports coach based on the Isle of Skye is revealed to be a national organiser for the far-right group Patriotic Alternative (PA) Scotland, describing his organisation as ‘racial nationalist’. (The Ferret, 1 September 2021)

POLICING, PRISONS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

257 August: A study by the Independent Office for Police Conduct finds that the police deploy Taser stun guns too often and black people are more likely to face prolonged use, lasting over 5 seconds. The police called the findings selective and out of date. Families of people killed by Taser stun guns call for a ban on the use of the weapon and campaigners urge a stop on rollouts of Tasers to more police officers. (Guardian, 25 August 2021; Canary, 27 August 2021)

31 August: Create Not Hate sends a video about racism in stop and search to every police officer in London It had been intended as a discussion between young people of colour and Metropolitan Police officers, but the Met   had withdrawn from participating. (Campaign Live , 31 August 2021)

2 September: In the Netherlands, the Dutch Police Association objects to the presence of civilian observers at a ‘preventative frisking’ trial (to combat youth gun crime) in Amsterdam, calling it an insult to their professionalism and send out their own police observers to monitor the civilian observers whom Amnesty International regarded as a safeguard against racial profiling. (Guardian, 3 September 2021)

2 September: A French riot police officer is given a suspended sentence after being found guilty of assaulting British migrant-support activist Tom Ciotkowski during an operation in Calais in 2018 and giving false evidence. (France 24, 2 September 2021)

3 September: A senior Metropolitan Police commander says stop and search should not be targeted ‘equally’ across London, but be used proportionately, because 70 per cent of teenage homicide victims of knife and gun crimes are black. (Telegraph, 3 September 2021)

6 September: The final hearings of the Public Inquiry into the death of Jermaine Baker, fatally shot by a Met Police Officer in 2015, take place. (Twitter, 6 September 2021)

6 September: Charges are dropped against BLM Cardiff co-founder, Bianca Ali, which related to an allegation that she organised a protest in breach of Welsh Coronavirus Regulations outside Cardiff Bay police station following the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan in January. (Bindmans, 6 September 2021)

7 September: A West Midlands police officer is charged by the CPS with assault occasioning bodily harm following an incident where a Taser was used in Handsworth. The Independent Office for Police Conduct says it investigated the incident following complaints referred to them by the force. (Independent, 7 September 2021)

7 September: Two Metropolitan police officers are under investigation for alleged errors when Richard Okorogheye, 19, suffering from sickle-cell disease, was reported missing by his family, a fortnight before he was found dead in Epping Forest on 5 April 2021. (Guardian, 7 September 2021)

DISCRIMINATION, EQUALITIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS

31 August: In Larissa, Greece, a procession accompanying the Little Amal giant puppet which depicts a 9-year-old refugee is targeted by angry protestors. Meteora municipality, supported by the Orthodox church, had already banned the solidarity action on the grounds that a puppet depicting a Muslim refugee should not be permitted to perform in a space important to Greek Orthodox believers. (Ekathimerini, 31 August 2021)

EDUCATION

31 August: Lecturer Lisa Tilley explains how the climate for staff and students from minority backgrounds at Birkbeck College, London because of the public statements and activities of fellow politics lecturer Eric Kaufmann, who advocates for white racial self-interest, compelled her to resign since she could no longer fulfil her duty of care to students. (Blog, 31 August 2021)

5 September 2021: Schools in the poorest areas will be affected by the changes in the way the pupil premium is being calculated, which allows for extra funds to schools with children who are vulnerable or deprived. (Guardian, 5 September 2021)

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

7 September: Teachers interviewed by the Institute of Education say that government resources are being misdirected into counter-radicalisation programmes when the real need is for extra resources to tackle rising extremist views and conspiracy theories amongst pupils. (Guardian, 7 September 2021) 

EMPLOYMENT, EXPLOITATION AND INDUSTRIAL ACTION

7 September: After a three-year-investigation, the Dutch public prosecutor says there is not enough evidence to take action against an employer who exploited 9 Filipino lorry drivers, forcing them to drive for more hours than was legally permissible and paying them below the industry rate. (Dutch News, 7 September 2021)

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

6 September: A study shows that the Care Quality Commission rates some GP surgeries ‘good’ for the care they provide vulnerable people despite the fact they quite wrongly refusing to register undocumented migrants. (Independent, 6 September 2021)

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

27 August: The Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland, is accused of showcasing racism at an exhibition focusing on ‘political correctness’ and ‘cancel culture’ which includes the work of Dan Park, twice jailed for hate crimes in Sweden. (Morning Star, 27 August 2021)

The Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warszawa, Poland, viewed from the side.
The Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland. Credit: Roman Eugeniusz, Wikimedia Commons.

28 August/5 September: American writer Lionel Shriver, quoting figures from Migration Watch, asserts in The Spectator in the context of Afghanistan and potential refugees, that it is natural not to want one’s country to be overrun by foreigners. (Spectator, 28 August 2021)

31 August: Downing Street is still trying to appoint Paul Dacre, opinionated former editor of the Daily Mail, as head of media regulator Ofcom, despite his having failed to meet the criteria to become chair in the first interview process, but ministers now cannot find people willing to interview him in a second attempt. (Guardian, 31 August 2021)

2 September: Friends Families and Travellers says it is considering further steps, after Ofcom rules that Channel 4 Dispatches ‘The Truth About Traveller Crime’ broadcast in April 2020 did not break broadcast standards. Read the Ofcom judgement here. (Twitter, 2 September 2021)

2 September: Lester Holloway, the new editor of Britain’s only black national newspaper, The Voice, warns the UK is going backwards in recognising institutional racism in the media and wider society. He called the original statement by the Society of Editors, denying the Duchess of Sussex’s negative media coverage was motivated by racism, was part of a wider ‘regression’ in recognising and tackling racial inequality. (Guardian, 2 September 2021)

2 September: The English Football Association asks FIFA to investigate racist abuse after England’s players were jeered for taking the knee, pelted with plastic cups after goals and targeted with alleged racist chants in a World Cup qualifier in Hungary. (AP News, 2 September 2021)

3 September: FIFA’s anti-racism policy is questioned after UEFA sources said football’s global governing body could have forced Hungary to play their World Cup qualifier against England behind closed doors after incidents of racism and homophobia at Euro 2020. (Guardian, 3 September 2021)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT     

31 August: A 28-year-old man is arrested following a spate of unprovoked antisemitic attacks in Northeast London. (LBC, 2 September 2021)

2 September: Three men aged 24, 21 and 19 are charged with racially aggravated offences against a member of the public in Glasgow centre whilst on their way to Ibrox stadium for a Rangers vs Celtic football game. (The Scotsman, 2 September 2021)

2 September: A 27-year-old man from Workington, Cumbria, is jailed for a month and ordered to pay £400 in compensation to his victim, after using racially aggravated threatening behaviour in October 2020. (News & Star, 2 September 2021) 

3 September: A group of teenagers are sentenced for their role in a racist, unprovoked attack against a black 17-year-old in a Middlesbrough McDonald’s in March 2020. One of the attackers is given a 12-month suspended prison sentence, after he delivered three blows to the victim’s abdomen with a knife. (Mail Online, 3 September 2021) 

4 September: In Newcastle, a group of youths racially abuse and aim fireworks at worshippers as they try to enter a mosque. (Chronicle Live, 6 September 2021) 

6 September: Northumbria Police appeal for information after a suspected racially aggravated assault in Wallsend on 2 July, during which a man was racially abused and punched by one of them. (Chronicle Live, 6 September 2021)

7 September: A study by University College London, conducted with 96 teachers from across England, finds that almost all of those interviewed have overheard pupils express ‘hateful extremist’ racist (including Islamophobic) views in the classroom. (Independent, 7 September 2021) 

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs.


Header image: An Afghanistan solidarity protest in Paris on 5 September. Credit: Jeanne Menjoulet, 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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