Calendar of Racism and Resistance (29 August – 12 September 2023)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (29 August – 12 September 2023)


Written by: IRR News Team


A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance.


Asylum and migrant rights 

4 September: The Italian and Greek prime ministers announce a migration alliance between Mediterranean countries, adopting ‘cooperation with African countries of origin and transit’ as a primary focus. (InfoMigrants, 4 September 2023)

5 September: As the immigration minister insists that fees for indefinite leave to remain applications will not be waived, bereaved partners of British citizens write to him and request the £2,500 fee be cancelled. (Mirror, 5 September 2023)

6 September: With thousands of refugees facing homelessness and destitution because of Home Office delays in issuing ID documents, 140 organisations write to the Home Office calling for all necessary documents to be issued before the 28-day move-on period begins, and for the period to be extended to 56 days. (Independent, 6 September 2023)

6 September: The European Court of Justice rejects a Syrian refugee’s case against Frontex for forcibly deporting him and his family from Greece before his asylum claim was processed on the ground that Frontex is not responsible for asylum claims, in a blow to efforts to make the EU border agency more accountable. (Guardian, 6 September 2023) 

Borders and internal controls

1 September: As 25-year-old Egyptian Reda Hamoud Abdurabou is sentenced to 38 months in prison for steering a dinghy across the Channel, a report by the United Nations working group on the smuggling of migrants warns against perpetuating ‘a pattern of gross injustice against vulnerable groups’. (Electronic Immigration Network, 4 September 2023)

2 September: In Malta, the El Hiblu 3 Freedom Commission calls on the attorney-general to dismiss a case against three young men accused of hijacking a ship that rescued them and coercing the captain to not send them back to Libya, describing it as an ‘outrageous injustice’. (Malta Today, 2 September 2023)

5 September: In Mytilene, Greece, Akif Rasuli is granted €15,920 in compensation by the Northern Aegean Appeal Court for wrongful imprisonment. Rasuli arrived in Greece in 2020 as the driver of a small boat and was charged with smuggling and causing a shipwreck before being acquitted of all charges and released from prison in December 2022. (Legal Centre Lesvos, 5 September 2023)

Reception and detention

30 August: The Belgian State Secretary for Asylum and Migration says that, as a temporary measure, single men seeking asylum will not be provided with shelter in Fedasil, as women and children take priority.  (Deutsche Welle, 30 August 2023, Brussels Times, 31 August 2023)

30 August: Education secretary Gillian Keegan writes to urge all local authorities to provide appropriate care to asylum seeking children in compliance with the National Transfer Scheme, following the High Court’s ruling that Kent County Council failed to accommodate lone children and that systematic use of hotels was unlawful. (Children & Young People Now, 30 August 2023)

31 August: A Freedom of Information request reveals a report by Dorset and Wiltshire fire service safety inspectors, who demand five urgent changes to the Bibby Stockholm barge because of risks to lives in the event of a fire. (Guardian, 31 August 2023)

31 August: A council report finds 30 unaccompanied child asylum seekers in Leeds wrongly categorised as adults, placing them at risk. They are moved out of hotels into local authority care. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 31 August 2023)

1 September: Despite a high court judgment ruling the practice illegal, it is revealed that in recent weeks the Home Office has placed more than 100 unaccompanied child asylum seekers in hotels. (Guardian, 1 September 2023)

3 September: The Home Office reveals a proposal to use Northeye prison in Bexhill, East Sussex, as a closed and secure detention centre for asylum seekers. (ITV News, 3 September 2023)

4 September: Asylum seekers, including victims of trafficking and sexual abuse, and the elderly, pregnant and ill, are sent an untranslated letter advising that they will be moved from their hotel accommodation in Lewisham. The local Labour MP demands a halt to the removals until assurances about move-on are made. (News Shopper, 4 September 2023)

5 September: The Children’s Commissioner finds that 21% of unaccompanied child migrants are missing education and 52% of those in temporary accommodation are not in school. (Children’s Commissioner, 5 September 2023)

5 September: A mass hunger strike against arbitrary detention starts at a detention centre at Przemysl, southeast Poland, with the asylum seekers describing the centre as Poland’s Guantánamo Bay. (Balkan Insight, 5 September 2023)

8 September: Freedom of Information data from Dorset council shows that the most serious strain of Legionella pneumophila Serogroup 1 was found on the Bibby Stockholm in tests conducted on 15 August. (Guardian, 8 September 2023)

8 September: West Lindsey district council in Lincolnshire orders the Home Office to immediately stop building work at RAF Scampton, claiming a breach of planning control, as 15 asylum seekers leave the RAF Wethersfield accommodation centre in Essex saying conditions were ‘unbearable’. (Guardian, 8 September 2023)

11 September: Documents reveal the government offered £5.9 million to Edinburgh council in June to house up to 1,700 asylum seekers on a cruise ship berthed at Leith docks. Edinburgh council and the Scottish government rejected the proposal. (The Ferret, 11 September 2023)


8 September: The Home Office tells a 5-year-old girl she is to be removed from the UK immediately, whilst allowing her mother, who has lived in the UK for 19 years, to stay and await a decision on her application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. (Independent, 8 September 2023)

Crimes of solidarity

30 August: 56 organisations sign a joint statement calling on European states to stop the obstructing and hindering civil search and rescue missions in the Central Mediterranean. (Statewatch, 30 August 2023)


As anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI rhetoric in electoral campaigning are increasingly interlinked, we reflect this in the coverage below which also includes information on the influence of the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally. 

29 August: The Cabinet Office warns all government departments not to use racist language following a media investigation reporting the use of offensive slurs, including the n-word, in Department for Works and Pension guidance, immigration tribunal decisions and on the Foreign Office and government websites. (Independent, 29 August 2023)

31 August: In her memoir, Theresa May, former home secretary and prime minister, says she regrets using the term ‘hostile environment’ and blames the Windrush scandal on failures of successive governments and the ‘inbuilt cynicism’ of Home Office staff. (Guardian, 31 August 2023)

1 September: Robert Bąkiewicz, former leader of the far-right antisemitic National Radical Camp, is nominated as a candidate for the governing Law & Justice party in the forthcoming Polish general election. He was recently convicted of assaulting a woman who was protesting abortion laws. (Notes from Poland, 1 September 2023)

1 September: In Poland, a video from 2014 emerges of Witold Tumanowicz, election campaign chief of the far-right Confederation party, in which he pledges that if the party comes to power, it will create a register of gay people in order to keep them away from children. (Notes from Poland, 1 September 2023)

3 September: The CSU leader of Bavaria, Germany, refuses to dismiss his coalition government deputy, Hubert Aiwanger, after a newspaper reveals that he had, as a teenager, carried to school a highly antisemitic leaflet. (Guardian, 3 September 2023) 

6 September: In Norway’s traditional mock school elections, the anti-immigrant Progress Party emerges as the second strongest party with 19.5 per cent of young people’s votes, up 11.4 points from 2019. (News in English, 6 September 2023)

8 September: Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, justifies a new law making it easier to arrest and imprison children as young as 14 following a series of high-profile cases involving teen gangs. (Guardian, 8 September 2023)

9 September: In the first round of mayoral elections in Nordhausen, Thuringia, Alternative for Germany’s far-right mayoral candidate Jörg Prophet finishes on 42.1 per cent, almost 20 percentage points clear of the five other candidates. (Deutsche Welle, 9 September 2023) 

10 September: Following an 11,000-strong anti-racist demo in Helsinki the previous week, smaller demonstrations in big cities across Finland take place, under the slogan ‘Down with the far-right government!’. (YLE, 10 September 2023)

11 September: The all-party parliamentary group on democracy and the constitution calls rules on voter ID a ‘poisoned cure’ disenfranchising more electors than it protects and leading to racial and disability discrimination at local elections in England. (Guardian, 11 September 2023)

12 September: Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party issue a political campaign video which uses satellite imagery of the German embassy in Warsaw to argue that the opposition is working with Germany to take control of the country. (Deutsche Welle, 12 September 2023)


30 August: In Wales, protesters originally coordinated by the far-right group Voice of Wales camp outside the Stradey Park Hotel for over a month to stop the housing of 200-300 asylum seekers. (Nation Cymru, 30 August 2023)

31 August: A neo-Nazi prison officer is sentenced to eight years in prison for possessing the White Resistance Manual, a far-right document which gives details on how to build weapons and carry out terror attacks. (BBC News, 31 August 2023; Guardian, 31 August 2023)

1 September: A 17-year-old former cadet who defaced a Windrush mural with Nazi symbols pleads guilty to eight charges, including the possession and distribution of terrorist documents, after a police search of his room found documents on gun-making and diaries expressing his desire to kill an Asian schoolmate. (Independent, 1 September 2023)

4 September: In response to anti-migrant riots, over 1,000 people attend an anti-fascist protest in Limassol, Cyprus. (Cyprus Mail, 4 September 2023) 

6 September: A draft order proscribes the ‘violent and destructive’ Russian Wagner mercenary group in the UK. (Guardian, 6 September 2023)

6 September: Neo-Nazi Robert Wilson is extradited from Poland to the Netherlands to face hate speech charges following an incident in which Wilson allegedly projected antisemitic messages onto the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. (inewsource, 6 September 2023)

9 September: Counter-protesters outnumber the far-right group Patriotic Alternative as they stage an anti-refugee protest on the Isle of Portland in Dorset. (Dorset Eye, 9 September 2023)


29 August: Migrant Rights Centre Ireland launches a campaign against racial profiling in policing after it emerges that as part of a major Garda public safety operation to counter violence in Dublin city, immigration checks were introduced. (MRCI, 29 August 2023)

29 August: A police officer is charged with assault, abuse of authority and coercing a victim to withdraw a complaint after inflicting facial fractures and trauma on a young man referred to as Otman in Marseilles, France, during the unrest that followed the death of Nahel Mazouk. (Le Monde, 29 August 2023)

29 August: The Met Police Commissioner announces that from 31 October the Right Care, Right Person programme will introduce a ‘clear threshold’ for police responses to mental health issues. (Independent, 29 August 2023)

30 August: Seven years after the death of Adama Traoré in France, judges investigating the circumstances of his death dismiss the case on the ground that the gendarmes responsible for the young man’s arrest did not commit illegitimate intentional violence and cannot be charged for falling short of their duty to rescue. (Le Monde, 1 September 2023)

Je Suis Adama hi-vis on a protester in France
‘Je Suis Adama’ protest in Marseille. Credit: Hervé Germain, Flickr.

31 August: Research shows that black people applying to police forces in England and Wales under a special recruitment drive have a pass rate of 7.3% and Asian applicants have a rate of 9.18%, compared with 18.72 % for white candidates. (Guardian, 31 August 2023) 

2 September: The Observer reveals that the Home Office secretly lobbied the UK privacy regulator for Facewatch, a facial recognition ‘spy’ company. Critics say such technology breaches human rights and can be biased, particularly against dark-skinned people. (Observer, 2 September 2023) 

2 September: The home secretary orders the police inspectorate HMICFRS to carry out a review into ‘political activism’ and impartiality in the police, singling out ‘contentious issues’ such as officers taking the knee and posting ‘gender critical’ views on social media. (Guardian, 2 September 2023)

5 September: In what may be the first case of its kind, a German court refuses to extradite to the UK an Albanian man accused of drug smuggling because of concerns about UK prison conditions. (Guardian, 5 September 2023)  

5 September: The IOPC announces that two Met officers will face a gross misconduct hearing over a stop and search of a 14-year-old black schoolboy in Croydon in 2022, during which they allegedly used excessive force and discriminated against him. (South London News, 5 September 2023)

5 September: In France, two police officers of the BRAV-M unit are sent to trial for assault and threats against a student from Chad during a protest in Paris in March. (Le Monde, 5 September 2023)

7 September: The French army suspends two soldiers after a Street Press investigation into neo-Nazi activities in the Belfort regiment linked to the far-right group Vandal Besak. One soldier is alleged to have openly shared neo-Nazi sympathies and his willingness to kill foreigners and LGBT people on social media. (StreetPress, 7 September 2023)

8 September: The IOPC apologises ‘unreservedly’ to Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died after being restrained in Brixton police station in 2008, for delays and failings including not informing her that it had secretly awarded compensation and an apology to the officers involved for delays by its predecessor in handling the case. (Guardian, 8 September 2023)

Justice for Sean Rigg banner at the UFFC rally 2014
‘Justice for Sean Rigg’ banner. Credit: Tippa Naphtali, 4WardEverUK, Flickr.

9 September: The family of Aimène Bahouh, who was in a coma for 25 days after being struck on the head by a bean bag round on the sidelines of ‘riots’ in Mont-Saint-Martin, eastern France, following the death of Nahel Mazouk, launch an action against officers from the RAID specialist unit for ‘attempted homicide’. (Le Monde, 9 September 2023) 

9 September: The IOPC confirms that two Met police officers are being investigated for possible gross negligence manslaughter in connection with the death in Croydon of Michael Tekeste, who died in July after swallowing items secreted in his clothing. (Evening Standard, 9 September 2023) 

11 September: Met Police commissioner Mark Rowley tells Policy Exchange that the use of facial recognition software will transform police investigations as DNA did. Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo warns that without stringent safeguards the technology threatens to turn the UK into a surveillance state, referring to a court of appeal ruling that it breached privacy and equality law. (Guardian, 11 September 2023)

11 September: The organisation Justice reports on a ‘palpable trend’ in the UK over the past five years of increasingly derogatory remarks by ministers and sections of the media against ‘lefty’ and ‘activist’ lawyers, especially those representing asylum seekers or those with immigration issues. Its report says the supreme court has been influenced by ministerial pressure. (, 11 September 2023)Guardian, 11 September 2023)


1 September: A Conservative club in Cardiff pays compensation for racial discrimination to a man of Irish Traveller heritage who was barred from holding a christening party in 2022 under a blanket ban on all Irish Travellers because of concerns about behaviour. (Guardian, 1 September 2023) 


31 August: Former Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach threatens Cambridge University with legal action after an historian names her as a descendant of slave owners. She tells Times Radio she apologises ‘for the acts of my ancestors’ but feels her personal safety has been compromised and will complain to the information commissioner. (Guardian, 31 August 2023; Guardian, 1 September 2023)

6 September: At a middle school in Lyon, France, 67 girls refuse to change out of their abaya and are sent home, while teachers and students at a high school in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis declare a strike to protest the ban on the abaya and gamis in public schools, as the State Council upholds the ban despite complaints that the move is discriminatory and may incite anti-Muslim hate. (Al Jazeera, 6 September 2023; Al Jazeera, 7 September 2023; Guardian, 7 September 2023)

12 September: A report by the New Conservatives argues that low-achieving pupils should be banned from taking out student university loans on the ground that young people ‘do not have the right to study Mickey Mouse courses at the taxpayer’s expense’. (THE, 12 September 2023)

12 September: Dutch universities express concern after MP Pieter Omtzigt launches the New Social Contract party on a platform of Dutch as the only language of instruction in the Netherlands, which would eliminate English-only degrees. (THE, 12 September 2023)


30 August: Campaigners say that the failure to renew residence permits is a factor in the rising number of homeless children living on the streets in France, with Unicef reporting 1,990 children homeless at the end of the summer, more than double the number since January 2022. The number of single homeless women with children has also risen sharply, by 46% over a year. (Le Monde, 30 August 2023)

3 September: The Observer reveals that in the most deprived areas of Britain, rents increased over the past four years by 52 per cent (average from £499-759 per month), whilst for tenants in wealthier regions, where landlords did not predominantly rely on mortgage finance, rents rose by only 29 per cent. (Observer, 3 September 2023)

7 September: The Institute for Fiscal Studies finds stark disparities in earnings based on geography and ethnicity within the UK. The breakdown in social mobility for poor households is starker than at any point in the last 50 years. Men from Pakistani, African and Caribbean backgrounds who had free school meals as children end up earning less than white men in the same position. (Guardian, 7 September 2023)

7 September: A survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research finds that most English schools are having to hand out clothes and food to children. Meanwhile, demand for mental health support has soared and some children miss school because of transport costs families cannot meet, lack of mobility aids and increase in illness caused by malnutrition or lack of heating. (Guardian, 7 September 2023)

7 September: The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities publishes new damp and mould guidance for landlords following the death of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak. The guidance also applies to providers of asylum accommodation. (Inside Housing, 7 September 2023) 


29 August: As health secretary Steve Barclay instructs civil servants to accept and store Home Office reference numbers on NHS records of migrants, groups including the BMA voice concerns that they could be used for immigration enforcement and will deter non-British patients from seeking medical care. The use of NHS data to track undocumented migrants was challenged and scrapped in 2018. (Guardian, 29 August 2023)  

31 August: The NHS Race and Health Observatory encourages women from minority backgrounds with breast cancer to take part in clinical trials as research suggests young black women are more likely to have aggressive tumours, poorer care and higher mortality rates, yet are underrepresented in studies offering life-saving treatment. (Guardian, 31 August 2023) 


While we cannot cover all incidents of racist abuse on sportspersons or their responses, we provide a summary of the most important incidents. For more information follow Kick it Out.

3 September: A Crystal Palace supporter is arrested for the racial abuse of a Wolves player during a match between the clubs at Selhurst Park. (Guardian, 3 September 2023)

3 September: German news outlet Deutsche Welle says that a video attributed to it claiming that the Polish population is turning against Ukrainian refugees is fake. (Deutsche Welle, September 2023)

6 September: In France, the national rugby team picks Bastien Chalreau, who was sentenced to six months in prison for a racially motivated assault on two other rugby players in 2020, to play in the rugby World Cup. (Guardian, 6 September 2023)

7 September: In Rotherham, a plaque is unveiled to commemorate England’s first Black footballer, Arthur Wharton. (Guardian, 7 September 2023)

8 September: An investigation is launched into claims that the Daily Mail engaged in Blackface ghost-writing by attaching names of Black commentators to racist articles they had not written. (Voice, 8 September 2023)

11 September: The first Musicians Census finds that issues of debt disproportionately affect Black musicians. The census also finds that nearly half of working musicians earn less than £14,000, with a £1,000 pay gap between white and global majority musicians. (Guardian, 11 September 2023)

12 September: In Poland, popular talent show Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo (Your face sounds familiar) faces criticism after two celebrity contestants appear in Blackface when impersonating Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé. (Guardian, 12 September 2023)


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

1 September: An anti-immigrant protest in Limassol, Cyprus, turns violent, as Molotov cocktails are thrown, businesses are vandalised and robbed, and people are singled out for attack on the basis of skin colour. Police are accused of allowing ‘thugs’ to control the streets. (Cyprus Mail, 1 September 2023)

The calendar was compiled by Sophie Chauhan with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordish, Anne-Ysore Onana-Ateba and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association and Stopwatch, whose regular updates on asylum, migration, far Right, racial violence, employment and policing issues are an invaluable source of information. Find these stories and all others since 2014 on our searchable database, the Register of Racism and Resistance

Feature image: ‘Justice for Sean Rigg’ banner. Credit: Wasi Daniju, 4WardEverUK, 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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