Calendar of racism and resistance (26 February – 11 March 2020)


Calendar of racism and resistance (26 February – 11 March 2020)

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

ASYLUM AND MIGRATION

Asylum and migration rights

1 March: As the 3million, a group representing EU citizens in the UK, and other campaigners claim that vulnerable people are still ‘struggling to apply’ to the EU settlement scheme, and that the Home Office has failed to respond to their concerns, the EU ambassador to the UK announces an initiative to reach those on the fringes, including prisoners and Roma, to help them to apply. (BBC, 27 February, Guardian, 1 March 2020)

6 March: After the German government rejects a motion to accept minors from Greek refugee camps, seven city mayors (Cologne, Düsseldorf, Potsdam, Hanover, Freiburg, Rottenburg and Frankfurt (Oder), and the interior minister of Lower Saxony, sign an open letter pleading for the right to welcome child refugees. Around 140 German cities have already declared themselves ‘safe havens’ for refugees.  (Deutsche Welle, 6 March 2020)

8 March: A group of Commonwealth-born British Army veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan launch a legal challenge against the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence over what they, and senior Conservative MPs supporting them, claim is a systemic failure to assist them with complex, unaffordable immigration rules on discharge, leaving them classed as illegal immigrants facing unemployment, homelessness and deportation. (Guardian, 8, 9 March 2020)

8 March: On International Women’s Day, hundreds of people march through Soho, central London with chants of ‘No borders, no nations, stop deportations,’ to demand the decriminalisation of sex work and an end to immigration raids on sex workers. (Independent, iNews, 8 March, Vice, 9 March 2020)

8 March: The GMB union warns that new immigration rules due to commence in January 2021, which will end the recruitment of so-called ‘low-skilled workers’ from overseas if they are earning less than £25,600, could result in the loss of almost half a million care home workers, worsening the crisis in the adult social care sector which already has 110,000 unfilled vacancies. (Independent, 8 March 2020)

8 March: At least 20,000 people, 43 percent of applicants, have been refused access to their Home Office files under an exemption to data protection law, preventing them from potentially proving rights to stay in the UK, a freedom of information request reveals. (Independent, 8 March 2020)

9 March: The EU agrees to rehouse between 1,000 and 1,500 child refugees from camps in Greece. (Guardian, 9 March 2020)

Borders and internal controls

See also sections on reception and detention, violence and harassment and anti-fascism for further entries related to Greece and EU border policies

24 February: The Maltese NGO Civil Society Network calls for a public inquiry as it is revealed that in 2018 the prime minister’s office brokered a secret and possibly illegal pact whereby Libya was persuaded to stop boats reaching Maltese waters. (Malta Today, 24 February 2020)

28 February: Sea Watch and SOS Méditerranée/MSF demand to know why the Italian Ministry of Health has ordered two rescue vessels, including the Ocean Viking, to remain in quarantine in ports in Sicily when no other vessels have been instructed to do so since the coronavirus outbreak hit the country.  (Morning Star, 28 February 2020)

28 February: As thousands of Syrians flee airstrikes and fighting in Idlib province, and Turkey announces it will no longer block their passage to Europe under the 2016 EU-Turkey agreement, saying the EU has failed to support it or keep its side of the deal, the Bulgarian government sends 1,000 troops to its frontier and Greek police use stun guns and tear gas to beat back migrants gathering at a border crossing in the Turkish state of Edirne. (Guardian, 28 February, 1, 8 March, Deutsche Welle, 29 February 2020)

1 March: Despite there being no cited cases of Covid-19 in Hungary, prime minister Viktor indefinitely suspends access to border transit areas for asylum seekers, with his spokesman saying ‘we observe a certain link between coronavirus and illegal migrants’. (Euronews, 3 March 2020)

2 March: The Irish Times reports that Ireland is carrying out immigration checks at the steps of aircraft as passengers disembark, and targeting Georgian and Albanian passengers with insufficient travel documents by transferring them to return flights immediately, in violation of International, European, and Irish law. (Irish Times, 2 March 2020)

Policing of a migrant protest in Lesvos

4 March: As the Greek government suspends the asylum procedure for a month, a decision condemned in an open letter by 85 charities, a navy ship is sent to the port of Mytilini in Lesvos to accommodate between 350-500 new arrivals, who will not be allowed to submit asylum claims but will eventually be taken to pre-deportation centres on the mainland. (Keep Talking Greece, 4 March, Guardian, 6 March 2020)

4 March: Gerald Knaus, European Stability Initiative head and architect of the 2016 EU-Turkey deal, says that the EU’s militarised response to the situation at the Turkish-Greek border is ‘Donald Trump’s biggest dream’ and that if the abolition of the right to asylum  ‘becomes the new norm, then 2020 will be the year in which the Geneva refugee convention dies’. (Guardian, 4 March 2020)

4 March: At a meeting of EU leaders with the Greek prime minister in the border town of Orestiada, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen thanks Greece for being Europe’s ‘shield’ and announces €700m in EU funds for Greece, including €350 million for border infrastructure, as Frontex puts together a rapid border intervention squad. (Guardian, 4 March 2020)

6 March: A video published by Protothema shows the Greek national guard working alongside local citizens’ vigilante groups armed with hunting rifles tracking down migrants and handing them over to the Greek army and police in Engatia, the Evros delta’s southern outpost. (Keep Talking Greece, 6 March 2020)

10 March: The New York Times alleges that the Greek government is detaining migrants incommunicado in a secret location in north-eastern Greece before expelling them to Turkey without due process. It also alleges that Mohammed Yaarub, a 22-year-old Syrian from Aleppo who tried to cross into Greece from Turkey, was shot dead on 2 March, which the Greek government says is ‘fake news’. (New York Times, 10 March 2020)

Reception and detention

24 February: Lionel Shaw, a partially blind and partially deaf Jamaican man, is left in a cell in Harmondsworth detention centre in ‘excruciating agony’ for four days with a broken ankle as Home Office contractors are too busy coordinating a deportation charter flight to take him to hospital. (Guardian, 1 March 2020)

25 February: Two days after clashes between residents and riot police who used stun grenades to disperse crowds in Lesbos and Chios, trades unions organise protests, including roadblocks, against attempts to build a migrant detention camp on the island. (Guardian, 26 February 2020)

27 February: Government statistics reveal that only 37 percent of those leaving immigration removal centres in 2019 were removed from the UK, with 61 percent being granted bail. (Immigration statistics, 27 February 2020)

27 February: Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport, ruled illegal by the court of appeal for failure to take into account the statutory target of net zero emissions by 2050, include replacing the two existing immigration detention centres at the site, Harmondsworth and Colnbrook, with a new centre of equivalent size or bigger. (Guardian, 27 February 2020; End Heathrow Immigration Detention campaign website)

A migrant protest against deadly living conditions at Moria camp in 2019

1 March: Thousands of people on the island of Lesvos gather to prevent migrants from disembarking, or being taken by bus to the Moria camp, also shouting abuse at the local UNHCR representative. (Ekathimerini, 1 March 2020)

@MSF Twitter

2 March: A 26-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker dies after a fire breaks out at the remote, overcrowded detention centre in Zintan, in the Nafusa mountains, western Libya. MSF supports the survivors, with one psychologist saying that they are ‘in shock, numb by the repeated trauma with no end in sight’. (MSF press release, 2 March 2020)

2 March: The jury at the inquest into the death in October 2012 of Prince Fosu, a 31-year-old man from Ghana suffering from psychotic illness when he died in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre from dehydration, hypothermia and malnutrition, finds that neglect and a series of ‘gross failures’ by the Home Office and other agencies contributed to his death. (Guardian, 2 March 2020)

10 March: HM Inspectorate of Prisons find high levels of self-harm, violence and the use of force at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, Lincolnshire, where several known torture survivors are detained. (Guardian, 10 March 2020)

ELECTORAL POLITICS

25 February: Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, accuses the government of failing to ‘defend Italy and Italians’ by failing to create ‘armour-plated borders’ to defend Italy from African migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. Africa has so far only had one case of confirmed Covid-19, in Egypt. (Guardian, 25 February 2020)

26 February: Santiago Abascal (Vox) becomes the first Spanish politician to weaponise coronavirus in Congress, tweeting that Spain’s governing party is ‘so determined to tear down borders’ that even minimal common-sense measures are not taken, such as taking the temperature of travellers from China or Italy. ‘Urgent controls’ on passengers from risky areas are needed, he said. (Huffington Post Spain, 26 February 2020)

1 March: In the Slovakian general election, the far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia scores 7.97 percent of the vote, down from 8.04 percent in 2016. The ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party, previously part of the ruling coalition, fails to pass the 5 percent threshold needed to take seats in parliament, and the anti-immigrant far-right party We Are Family (SME Rodina) increases its vote from 6.6 percent to 8.24 percent. Following an unprecedented mobilisation in politics of Romani people, three Roma candidates were elected for the winning conservative Ol’aNO party. (Dream Deferred, 1 March, Romea, 4 March 2020)

2 March: A dossier compiled by the campaign group Hope Not Hate appears to show Islamophobic comments made online by Tory members, including six councillors. The Tories say they have suspended all of those who were party members, pending investigation. (BBC, 2 March 2020)

3 March: Research by PopuList suggests that over the last three decades, far-right parties in Europe have tripled their vote share, from about 5 percent in the 1990s to more than 15 percent today, with one in six Europeans now voting far Right.(Guardian, 3 March 2020)

4 March: After months of political uncertainly and a major scandal involving the Christian Democrats cooperating with the far-Right Alternative for Germany, the Left party politician Bodo Ramelow is re-elected as state premier of Thuringia. AfD’s candidate Björn Höcke, who German courts have ruled could legally be referred to as a fascist, withdrew from the race once his defeat had become a certainty.  (Deutsche Welle,  4 March 2020)

5 March: Bolton Conservative councillor Derek Bullock is suspended as the party looks into allegations of Islamophobia. Bullock was named on a list accused of sharing anti-Muslim content online, including a Daily Mail article about the number of Muslim children in England and Wales doubling over a decade, adding ‘the clock is ticking’. (Bolton News, 5 March 2020)

5 March: The Muslim Council of Britain resubmits a dossier on Islamophobia in the Conservative party, updated and now containing 300 cases, to the Equality and Human Rights commission (EHRC), which it accuses of failing to act on its original allegations. With twice the number of cases in its original complaint filed last year, the dossier includes   allegations involving MPs Sally Ann-Hart (Hastings and Rye), Anthony Browne (South Cambridgeshire), Karl McCartney (Lincoln) and special advisor Dominic Cummings. (Guardian, 5 March 2020)

9 March: After Trevor Phillips, former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is suspended from the Labour party over allegations of Islamophobia, the editor of the right-wing Spectator, Fraser Nelson, tells the BBC that Labour is passing a ‘thought-crime test on its members’, while former Tory party chair Baroness Warsi accuses Phillips of a ‘flawed’ view of race and integration. (BBC News, BBC Twitter, Guardian, 9 March 2020)

ANTI-FASCISM, BORDER VIGILANTISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

29 February: As it is announced that Naomi Seibt, 19, a self-styled ‘climate sceptic’ heavily promoted by Alternative for Germany, will address the US Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, past social media comments emerge showing her support for white nationalism and ‘white genocide’ theory. (Guardian, 29 February 2020)

5 March: A 21-year-old Metropolitan police officer is arrested in north London on suspicion of membership of a banned group linked to right-wing terrorism, with the case referred to the IOPC. (Guardian, 5 March 2020)

5 March: In a parliamentary debate on the Hanau attacks, the president of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, admits that Germany has underestimated the threat of far-right terror for too long, and that it must do more to tackle Islamophobia. (Deutsche Welle, 5 March 2020)

6 March: In Volos, central Greece, an ‘association of hunters of illegal migrants’ is announced on Facebook with the aim to ‘clean Volos of migrants’ and to travel to Evros to bolster the national guard. Pictures of weapons, rifles, knives and daggers along with the gun licences members have are also posted on the closed Facebook page, which boasts 330 members. (Keep Talking Greece, 6 March 2020)

6 March: The Greek security services claim to have kept out of the country ten German and Austrian members of Identitäre Bewegung who travelled to Greece by car via a border crossing with Bulgaria. Pictures on Twitter emerged of them with flags and a banner stating ‘No way – You will not make Europe your home’. Lesvos media report that a separate group of German identitarians arrived on the eastern Aegean island posing as reporters and that one of them was hit on the head by an unknown assailant. (Ekathimerini, 6 March 2020)

6 March: Former Golden Dawn MEP Ioannis Lagos, convicted for inciting violence in 2017 but still sitting in the European parliament as an Independent, is shown on a far-right Facebook post patrolling alongside two police officers and members of vigilante ‘protection groups’ near Evros, with a caption saying he  will ‘turn over to the authorities the illegal immigrants-jihadists that are crossing the borders by the thousands’. (Enough is Enough, 6 March 2020)

Image taken from leader of the Swedish Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, Facebook

7 March: Far-right Swedish MP Jimmie Åkesson is reported to the police for ‘inciting hate’ after going to the Turkish town of Edirne, close to the Greek and Bulgarian borders, and handing out leaflets stating ‘Sweden is full. Don’t come to us! We can’t give you more money or provide any housing.’ (Independent, 7 March 2020)

8 March: At least 7,500 people march in Munich against far-right terror and in memory of the victims of the Halle synagogue attack and the attacks on shisha bars in Hanau. (International Business Times, 8 March 2020)

9 March: Far-right Belgian MP Dries Van Langenhove, who also leads the extremist Schild en Vrienden organisation, is pictured alongside Greek border guards on a ‘fact-finding mission’ to Greece. The French MEP and vice-president of National Rally, Jordan Bardella, also announces a visit to the Greek-Turkish border at Evros. (efsyn.gr, 9 March, Twitter, 10 March 2020)

POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

25 February: Forensic scientist regulator Dr Gillian Tully warns that innocent people are being wrongly convicted and criminals are escaping justice because of the failure of the forensic science system to meet basic standards. (Guardian, 25 February 2020)

Priti Patel © DIFID via Wiki Commons

26 February:  Home secretary Priti Patel tells the annual conference of police chiefs that the addition of 20,000 officers over three years promised by the government means that forces should rigorously ‘investigate every type of crime’. (Guardian, 26 February 2020)

5 March: The jury at the inquest into the death on 10 October 2018 of Osman Ali Hassan, a 45-year-old man with known hypertension (high blood pressure) at HMP Wandsworth, finds the prison’s failure to adequately manage long-term health conditions contributed to his death. (Inquest, 5 March 2020)

7 March: A disabled mother and son claim that the Somerset and Avon police in Bristol have failed to prevent years of abuse, including a brick through their window and four vehicles set on fire, among a series of targeted attacks similar to those preceding the 2013 murder of Bijam Ebrahimi, a disabled refugee, in the same area. The mother warns, ‘Police have failed us – we will be the next Ebrahimi’. (Guardian, 7 March 2020)

Counter-radicalisation

4 March: At the launch of a new report, UN special rapporteur Fionnuala Ni Aolain calls for the scrapping of Prevent in its present form, saying it violates the rights of religious and ethnic minorities and targets an ill-defined ‘extremism’ as well as violence and terrorism. (Independent, 4 March 2020)

9 March: It is revealed that two police forces have referred staff to Prevent, as HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue services warns in a new report that forces are overlooking possible radicalisation of staff and questions why the Ministry of Defence police (MDP) are omitted from the list of public sector bodies subject to the Prevent statutory duty. (Guardian, 9 March 2020)

EMPLOYMENT

2 March: A report by the Carnegie Trust, University College London’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies and Operation Black Vote finds that young people from BAME backgrounds are at greater risk of being in precarious employment. (BBC News, 2 March 2020)

EDUCATION AND CAMPUS POLITICS

26 February: Times Higher Education warns that unreasonable pressures placed on the few BAME academic women in higher education to support diversity efforts and BAME student drives, are impacting on their mental health and career progression as they take on pastoral responsibilities that go well beyond the requirements of the job. (Times Higher Education,  26 February 2020)

1 March: Durham university announces an investigation after an attendant at a sports ball, believed to be from another university, unveils the German Imperial flag commonly used by neo-Nazis. (Palatinate, 1 March 2020)

2 March:  Turning Point UK, which is said to include Priti Patel and Jacob Rees Mogg among its backers, launches Education Watch, inviting students to send in video and other evidence of political correctness and left-wing bias amongst university academics. (Wonkhe.com, 2 March 2020)

4 March: Teachers’ union NASUWT writes to the Department for Education calling on it to extend the coronavirus guidance issued to schools to address racist incidents, following an increase in incidents of BAME people being subjected to ‘jokes’, banter, racist name-calling and intimidation. (Education Business UK, 4 March 2020)

6 March: Following an appeal by over 200 prominent media and sporting personalities, educationalists, trades unionists and anti-racist organisations, the anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card says that it will not accede to a request by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to remove the film director Ken Loach as a judge of its annual schools arts competition. Labour Against Antisemitism and the Board of Deputies condemn the decision. (Morning Star, 6 March 2020)

6 March: UN Women Oxford cancel an invitation to former home secretary Amber Rudd half an hour before she is due to speak at an International Women’s Day event, blaming the university’s African and Caribbean society (ACS), which denies calling for the speech to be cancelled. (Guardian, 6 March 2020)

7 March: Huddersfield University rejects calls from Amnesty International to suspend a lucrative degree programme it runs with Bahrain’s Royal Academy of Policing over allegations that widespread torture of political prisoners had been taking place at the Academy’s premises. (Yorkshire Post, 7 March 2020)

HOUSING

26 February: Following comments made by Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith on Radio 4’s World at One, where he said that immigrants were to blame for England’s housing crisis, sixteen academics have written an open letter stating that chronic underinvestment in housing was to be blamed, not immigrants. (Guardian, 26 February 2020)

26 February: Conservative attorney-general Suella Braverman says staff of companies and organisations involved in the disastrous refurbishment of Grenfell Tower would be able to give oral evidence about how the tower was clad with combustible materials, without it being used against them in any future criminal prosecution, although the undertaking will not protect corporate entities, as some of the lawyers had requested. (Guardian, 26 February 2020)

27 February: Government data showing a 9 percent fall in rough sleeping across England is described as ‘not fit for purpose’ by charities who say the real scale of the crisis is being hidden. (Guardian27 February 2020)

28 February: Residents in the London borough of Ealing criticise plans for a new 55-storey skyscraper, which London mayor Sadiq Khan has said will ‘lack affordable housing’. Ealing has a BAME population of 53 percent, many of whom are waiting on council housing registers to be rehoused. (Guardian28 February 2020)

3 March: London mayor Sadiq Khan states he would establish a private rent commission to ‘stand up for renters’ and introduce rent controls if he is re-elected in the mayoral election on 7 May 2020. The number of ‘non-white British’ private renters in the capital is almost double (38 percent) that of white British (20 percent) renters. (Guardian, 3 March 2020)

10 March: In its closing statement to the Grenfell Inquiry, Studio E, the architects behind the refurbishment, blame the government for not amending building regulations despite knowing ‘for years’ of the dangers of combustible cladding. Its project architect earlier claimed not to know that insulation panels could be combustible and admitted not having read regulations aimed at preventing cladding fires. (Guardian, 3 March 2020, Architects’ Journal, 11 March 2020)

HEALTH AND WELFARE

26 February: A coalition of campaigning groups finds that, in three London boroughs, one in 20 women were denied free NHS maternity care in 2019. (Left Foot Forward, 26 February 2020)

27 February: The founder of Sistah Space, an unfunded domestic violence charity in Hackney, warns that black women are not reporting domestic abuse due to fear of being deported, particularly following the Windrush scandal and recent reports of mass-deportations to the Caribbean, which has contributed to trapping women in abusive relationships. (Metro, 27 February 2020)

27 February: The Lancet Public Health publishes a major study that finds that Conservative flagship policy universal credit is linked to an increase in psychological stress among the jobless people who claim it. (Guardian27 February 2020)

1 March: The chair of the House of Commons work and pensions committee, Stephen Timms, criticises the ‘incredible secrecy’ surrounding welfare-related deaths following the case of Errol Graham, who starved to death after his benefits were cut off. (Guardian, 1 March 2020)

2 March: Vulnerable and disabled people are being pressured by DWP in unrecorded telephone calls to accept ‘deals’ paying them thousands of pounds less in benefits than they may be legally entitled to, charities and lawyers find. (Guardian, 2 March 2020)

3 March: As the domestic abuse bill is introduced in the House of Commons, the Step Up Migrant Women coalition of more that 40 BAME specialist frontline services and human rights organisations says children and migrant women are at risk of being left behind by the legislation, which ‘does nothing to ensure migrant women who have experienced domestic abuse will have their safety put first’. (Guardian, 3 March, Step up Migrant Women, 3 March 2020)

4 March: Research by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health shows reverses in child health, with inequalities widening since 2017, rising violence, drug use and mental health problems among young people. (Guardian, 4 March 2020)

5 March: Official figures show that the poorest fifth of the British population have suffered a 7 percent fall in their disposable household income in the past two years. (Guardian, 5 March 2020)

6 March: Brent Law Centre in north-west London closes its doors after five decades of providing legal help to residents, a victim of ‘unrelenting’ public funding cuts. (Law Society Gazette, 9 March 2020)

MEDIA AND CULTURE

‘NEVER AGAIN’ a Polish anti-racist organisation

3 March: Rafal Pankowski, co-founder of the Never Again Association in Poland, withdraws from the Belvedere Forum annual conference co-organised by  Chatham House after Agnieszka Kolakowska, a notorious anti-Muslim propagandist, is invited to participate, along with Stefan Tompson, a British-born Polish nationalist vlogger and film-maker who promotes the discredited conspiracy theory of anti-White genocide in South Africa and is a friend of ‘Tommy Robinson’. (Byline Times, 3 March 2020)

5 March: The Classic Grand music venue in Glasgow says that it will ‘never give a platform to any kind of hatred’ as it cancels a metal festival in November organised by the Darkness Guides Us event. The National newspaper reveals that at least four of the bands had links with the neo-Nazi black metal scene. (The National, 5 March 2020)

7 March: Former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman defends accusations of stirring up racism after the showing of the TV dramatisation of her novel Noughts and Crosses, in which white and black power relations are reversed. (Observer, 7 March 2020)

9 March: Ofcom rejects more than 300 complaints that rapper Dave’s performance at the Brit Awards was racist. In his performance, Dave called prime minister Boris Johnson ‘a real racist’. There were also complaints that Stormzy’s performance was racist. (Independent, 28 February, BBC News, 9 March 2020)

SPORT

28 February: Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casillo receives an eight-game suspension and a £60,000 fine after the FA’s disciplinary panel found he had used racist language towards an opponent, a decision challenged by Leeds FC. (Guardian, 28 February 2020)

29 February: A Southern Counties East League (SCEFL) football match between Croydon and Kennington at Croydon Arena is abandoned at half-time after the referee is racially abused by a player from the visiting side. The SCEFL issues a statement saying ‘there is absolutely no place for racism in football in any way, shape or form.’ (Inside Croydon, 2 March 2020)

2 March: RB Leipzig apologises after asking 20 Japanese supporters to leave the stadium after the start of its match against Bayer Leverkusen because of coronavirus fears. (Guardian, 2 March 2020)

 VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

26 February: In a public inquiry into Islamophobia in Scotland, over 83 per cent of Muslims surveyed reported experiencing Islamophobia as an ‘everyday issue’, with verbal abuse at work or online being the most common form. Nearly four-fifths of those surveyed also feel that anti-Muslim bigotry in Scotland is getting worse. (Holyrood, 26 February, The Courier, 26 February 2020)

1 March: Europe Must Act produces a video which shows the devastation caused by an arson attack on a Chios Solidarity group warehouse, containing emergency items for refugees on the Aegean island. (Are You Syrious, 1 March 2020)

1 March: Several aid groups in Lesvos say they are evacuating staff amidst non-stop attacks on staff and volunteers, blaming a ‘small group of right-wing extremists’ for inciting the violence, including an arson attack on a UNHCR transit site for new arrivals on Lesvos’s north shore, an attack on a UNHCR worker and an attack on the crew of the search and rescue vessel Mare Liberum by a ‘mob of fascists’ who threatened them and poured gasoline on the ship’s deck. The Foreign Press Association of Greece issues a warning that organised groups are attacking journalists, with two seriously injured. (Are You Syrious, 1 March, UNHCR press release, 2 March 2020)

2 March: Adam Cassidy, 20, is convicted of racially aggravated assault after attacking a baby in a pram and calling its parents ‘dirty Jews’ in St Albans in August last year. (Independent, Campaign Against Antisemitism, 2 March 2020)

29 February: Local residents picket the Duke of Wellington pub in Kensington for the second consecutive Saturday for its failure to protect staff after El Harding, who worked at the pub, was racially abused, attacked and robbed by six white men on 16 February. The victim’s mother says her son was not protected and the police were not called immediately after the attack, and says she will fight for justice. (My London, 4 March 2020)

4 March: Austrian Green politician and justice minister Alma Zadic, a former child refugee from Bosnia, reveals that she has had more than 25,500 incidents of hate speech and hate comments and receives 24-hour police protection, due to death threats. (Guardian, 4 March 2020)

5 March: A car belonging to NGO One Happy Family in Lesvos is attacked by a group of about 20 people who smash the windows and try to drag out the car’s two occupants. A video of the attack is posted online and passed to police. (AYS, 9 March 2020)

6 March: In the first prosecution against those who commit violence or harass human rights defenders, a court in Lesvos finds two local people guilty of making threats against Efi Latsoudi, the head of Lesvos Solidarity and a UNHCR award winner. (Raw Story, 7 March 2020)

Image taken from International School of Peace’s Facebook

7 March: The School of Peace for Syrian refugees on Lesvos, funded by Israeli and Israeli-Arab groups, is burned down, together with the One Happy Family community centre.  (Jewish Press, 7 March 2020)

7 March:  West Yorkshire police appeal for witnesses after a 27-year-old South Asian woman was verbally assaulted, grabbed by the hair and dragged across a table in a racially aggravated attack in McDonald’s in Leeds city centre, and when she left, was followed and attacked again. (Yorkshire Live, 10 March 2020)

8 March: A man suffers bruising to his head and body in an assault by a group of up to six masked men armed with baseball bats who force entry into his house in a racially motivated hate crime in east Belfast. (ITV News, 9 March 2020)

8 March: For the second time, a fire breaks out at a community centre in Mytilini, Lesvos, causing considerable damages to warehouses, but no injuries. (Guardian, 8 March 2020)

9 March:  Helensburgh Police appeal for information on a group of youths suspected of attacking a teenager with a baseball bat and racially abusing a woman near Helensburgh central station on 1 March. (Helensburgh Advertiser, 9 March 2020)

10 March: A 41-year-old man who racially abused a 12-year-old schoolgirl whilst she was waiting for the bus in Sheffield is jailed for six months. (South Yorkshire Police, 10 March 2020)

Coronavirus-related

3 March: A Chinese student in Birmingham is subjected to racial taunts, punched and kicked, dislocating his jaw. Police train staff at Birmingham’s Chinese community centre in handling hate crime reporting following the surge in coronavirus-fuelled racist attacks. (Birmingham Mail, 9 March 2020)

6 March: Hackney’s Chinese community associations say members of the community are reporting racism and xenophobia in restaurants, shops, on the tube and at schools since the coronavirus outbreak. (Hackney Gazette, 6 March 2020)

7 March: The Metropolitan Police arrest two out of four men in connection to a violent assault in Oxford Street on 24 February, in which a 23-year-old Singaporean student was punched, kicked, and sustained facial injuries as one of the attackers said ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’. (BBC News, 3 March, SBS News, 7 March 2020)

 

The calendar was compiled with the help of Laura Wormington, Aisha Rana-Deshmukh and Graeme Atkinson.

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