Calendar of Racism and Resistance (3 – 17 January 2022)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (3 – 17 January 2022)


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

6 January: EU data protection supervisor Wojciech  Wiewiórowski warns that migrants’ privacy rights are being overridden by the expansion of data collection at the EU’s borders. (EU Observer, 6 January 2023)

6 January: Home secretary Suella Braverman plans to scrap previously agreed key commitments from Wendy Williams’ inquiry into the Windrush scandal, including the creation of a migrants’ commissioner and increased powers for the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration (ICIBI). (Guardian, 6 January 2023)

7 January: Ross McGhee, president of the Society of Radiographers, tells the Independent that he will advise his members to boycott Suella Braverman’s plan to X-ray asylum seekers claiming to be children, to check their age. (Independent, 7 January 2023)

Borders and internal controls

2 January: Italian president Sergio Mattarella signs a decree to reduce rescue capacities of civilian Search and Rescue ships in the central Mediterranean, requiring all civilian rescue ships immediately to head to shore after each rescue, ignoring any other vessels in distress. (Sea-Watch, 5 January 2023) 

4 January: Prime minister Rishi Sunak announces that among his priorities for 2023 is stopping small boat crossings, through more legislation to detain and swiftly remove arrivals. (Politico, 4 January 2023)

4 January: A vigil is held after a young Sudanese refugee dies as he steps in front of train at a crossing in Calais, France, the fourth refugee death in fourteen months close to this location and the tenth refugee death in a year in Calais. (Care4Calais, 4 January 2023)

6 January: The Home Office relaunches Project Kraken, named after a legendary sea monster, urging coastal residents to report ‘strange activity’ and ‘boats arriving at unusual times’ to the Coastal Crime Line. (Times, 6 January 2023)

9 January: A Greek appeal court orders the release of Mohammad Hanad Abdi, a Somali migrant who was convicted of people smuggling for steering to Lesvos a dinghy abandoned by the smuggler and sentenced to 142 years in prison. His sentence is reduced to 8 years, with immediate release owing to time served and good behaviour. (Ekathimerini, 9 January 2023) 

10 January: Around 350 migrants were arrested and imprisoned in Italy in 2022 for driving boats across the Mediterranean, the majority Egyptian, according to a report, As long as you can still listen: the criminalisation of migrant boat drivers in 2022, by the From Sea to Prison project of Borderline Europe. (Borderline Europe, 10 January 2023)

13 January: Polish border guards search wetlands on the Belarus border after three bodies including that of a Yemeni doctor were found over the previous few days, leading to fears that more migrants have died. (Reuters, 13 January 2023)

13 January: The Greek Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos and his deputy approve a 35-km extension to the border fence with Turkey along the river Evros, presented as necessary to fight against Turkey’s ‘instrumentalisation’ of the ‘migration issue’, leading to more border crossings, with ‘unpredictable consequences for public order and security’. (Ekathimerini, 13 January 2023) 

13 January: New Home Office policy is revealed requiring migrants on immigration bail awaiting deportation to be electronically monitored 24 hours a day, with those for whom ankle tags are unsuitable required to scan their fingerprints and location several times a day on ‘non-fitted devices’. (Guardian, 13 January 2023)

Campaigners shine a light on Lunar House. Credit: @migrantsorg, PI and BID were involved.
Reception and detention

4 January: Lawyers and campaigners launch a legal challenge calling for a public inquiry into claims of abuse and mistreatment at the Manston processing centre, including racial abuse, beating, and slapping and locking an asylum seeker in a freezing bus after he spoke to journalists. (Guardian, 4 January 2023)

4 January: In Poland, a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker enters the third week of a hunger strike in protest against his detention for seventeen months. The organisation Grupa Granica describes his treatment as inhumane. (Miasta Tokfm, 4 January 2023)

5 January: The reintroduction of tent accommodation for 88 male Ukrainian refugees is confirmed by a spokesperson for Ireland’s integration minister Roderic O’Gorman, despite earlier commitments that this would not happen again. (, 5 January 2023)  

6 January: Skegness council threatens legal action against the Home Office for damaging tourism by housing asylum seekers in five local hotels, as Chris Heaton-Harris MP leads opposition to housing them in a village in his Northamptonshire constituency. (BBC News, 6 January 2023; BBC News, 6 January 2023)

7 January: Freedom of information figures reveal that several thousand Ukrainian refugees are in hotel accommodation in England, Scotland and Wales, as a further 3,000 present as homeless, causing concern to councils. (Independent, 7 January 2023)

11 January: A reception crisis is anticipated in Ireland, as the Irish Tourism Industry Council says it is unlikely that hotels currently accommodating 14,000 refugees will continue to do so after March, when the tourism season begins. (Irish Times, 11 January 2023)

12 January: The third annual report into adults at risk in detention, by ICIBI David Neal, finds that torture survivors and suicidal people are not receiving adequate help due to unfounded suspicions of abuse of the system. Neal and Stephen Shaw, former prisons ombudsman, criticise home secretary Suella Braverman for discontinuing the standing commission to conduct this annual report. (Guardian, 12 January 2022)

12 January: In Brussels Belgium, a fire breaks out at a building occupied by asylum seekers and homeless people, the latest in a long list of incidents at the building that, in December, was reportedly housing over 700 people in ‘appalling’ conditions. (Brussels Times, 12 January 2023) 


16 January: High Court judges grant Asylum Aid and 8 individual asylum seekers involved in challenging the Rwanda policy, adjudged legal last month, the right to pursue an appeal on aspects of the judgment. (Guardian, 16 January 2023)

Crimes of solidarity

13 January: In Latvia, border guards initiate a criminal investigation against Ieva Raubiško, the project manager of ‘I want to help refugees’, and another member, in connection with their activities at the Latvian-Belarusian border. (World Today, 13 January 2023)

13 January: A Greek court drops charges of espionage against 24 humanitarian actors including Seán Binder and Sara Mardini, arrested in 2018, who still face charges of human smuggling, forgery, money laundering and criminal organisation for rescue work in Lesvos, in what the European Parliament labels ‘the largest case of criminalisation of solidarity in Europe’. (BBC News, 14 January 2023)

Trial of Seán Binder and Sarah Mardini. Credit: Amnesty Greece 

10 January: Two Spanish women who married ISIS fighters are repatriated from Syria and immediately arrested. (Olive Press, 10 January 2023)

11 January: Over 165,000 Lower Austrians of voting age (11.4 per cent of the population), including 10,000 born there, are not eligible to vote in state elections in Lower Austria, a sixfold increase since 1985, provoking local people in the Pass Egal campaign to organise symbolic elections in nine municipalities to draw attention to the lack of citizenship rights. (SOS Mitmensch, 11 January 2023)


3 January: After Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki calls for a rethink of the premature abolition of the death penalty in the 1990s, his ruling Law and Justice party say its return is ‘not part’ of the government’s agenda ‘at the moment’. (Notes from Poland, 3 January 2023)

9 January: In Finland, as it emerges that politicians have donated to the armed forces of Ukraine’s Signmyrocket, an online service which allows donors to write their own message onto ammunition, the chair of the foreign affairs committee, Jussi Halla-Aho (Finns party), posts on Facebook that the demonisation and dehumanisation of Russian soldiers is necessary. (Helsinki Sanomat, 9 January 2023)

12 January: In Belgium, researchers reveal that the far-right Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang spent €20,000 on Facebook ads for videos of ‘riots’ followed Morocco’s World Cup victory over Belgium, promoting the view that violence was due to multiculturalism and immigration, with immigrant youth described as ‘scum’ who must be ‘severely punished’. (Brussels Times, 12 January 2023)

 8 January: In Michalovce, Slovakia, hundreds of Romani gather to honour the memory of a nurse killed at the start of the year and to oppose the People’s Party-Our Slovakia and its leader Marián Kotleba, who called a rally in response to the killing, which he blamed collectively on Roma. An 18-year-old Romani man has been charged with the killing. (Romea, 8 January 2023)

17 January: The Albanian government summons the British ambassador for a ‘dressing-down’ over what it describes as a ‘verbal lynching’ of Albanians by Robert Jenrick in a video about deportations posted last Friday. (Times, 17 January 2023)


9 January:  In Ireland, Dublin’s Lord Mayor and the housing minister speak out against far-right involvement in protests against refugees in Ballymun. Locals who have welcomed refugees are distressed by the intimidatory tactics of far-right activists from outside the area, including National Party and Irish Freedom Party members. (Irish Times, 9 January 2023; RTE, 9 January 2023)

17 January: In Paris, France, the trial begins of 12 men and one woman accused of plotting to assassinate President Macron as part of an attempted coup, and to kill migrants and attack mosques. The accused are linked to Les Barjols, which uses a nickname given to French soldiers in Mali in 2013-14. (Guardian, 17 January 2023)


Cases of police racism and sexism – and the way they are dealt with – are often linked, and as a reflection of this, this section includes information on police misogyny.     

2 January: After the IOPC says its investigation into Godrick Osei’s death in police custody does not indicate breaches of professional standards, the charity Inquest raises questions about the use of force on those experiencing a mental health crisis. Osei died after being restrained by police in a cupboard at a care home in Truro, Cornwall in July 2022. (Independent, 2 January 2023)

3 January: Lawyers for defendants in the 2016 Brussels terror attack, the biggest trial in Belgium’s judicial history, say their clients are still being strip-searched daily, despite a recent court ruling that banned routine strip-searching without individual justification during transfer to the courtroom. (Belga News Agency, 3 January 2023)

3 January: Ministry of Justice statistics reveal that black prisoners are seven times more likely to have pepper spray used against them than white prisoners. PAVA synthetic pepper spray was used on a total of 732 prisoners, between April 2019 and November 2022. Of these, 316 were Black, 255 were white, 85 were mixed race, 76 were Asian or ‘other’. (Inside Time, 3 January 2023)

9 January: Following a FOI request, Scotland Yard reveals that more than 150 Met police officers are currently on restricted duties and under investigation over 43 allegations of racism and 118 allegations of sexual misconduct. Investigations have taken place and results awaited in cases brought against 556 officers for racism and 230 officers in sexual misconduct cases. (Guardian, 9 January 2023)

10 January: As France’s Kurdish community demonstrates on the tenth anniversary of the murder in Paris of three prominent Kurdish activists by a Turkish nationalist, it emerges that the investigation is stalled because of the government’s refusal to declassify secret defence wiretaps of Turkish agents based in France. (Le Monde, 10 January 2023)

A poster commemorating the murder of Kurds in Paris, including the three women killed on 9 January 2013 and the three people on 23rd December 2022
A poster commemorating the murder of Kurds in Paris. Credit: Txeng Meng, Flickr

11 January: In a speech at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley defends stop and search, claiming that it can cut attempted murders by ’50 percent or more’, but promises to use ‘better data’ to determine more precisely the boundaries of crime hotspots so as to ‘minimise proactive stops where they are not needed’. (Evening Standard, 11 January 2023)

11 January: Following the trial of seven police officers for crimes against immigrants in the municipality of Odemira (Beja), Portugal, one officer is sent to prison for six years after being convicted of assault, aggravated kidnapping and abuse of power, while the remaining six convicted officers receive suspended sentences. (Portugal News, 11 January 2023)

12 January: An investigation is launched in Belgium after a video circulates on social media showing a police officer beating a young man to the ground with a baton in an incident linked to Moroccan fans‘ celebrations in Brussels during the World Cup. (Brussels Times, 12 January 2023)

13 January: A Norfolk Constabulary officer is sacked for sending racist and antisemitic messages on a WhatsApp chat group, including one about people lining up for ‘dodgy showers’ in Auschwitz, which prompted the comments ‘very popular though’ and ‘I heard people were queuing up to go in them’. The WhatsApp group also made  derogatory remarks aimed at domestic abuse victims, people with disabilities and women (Independent, 13 January 2023)

16 January: A Runnymede Trust report reveals that 979 police officers are operating within UK schools, based most often in schools in areas with higher numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals, correlating with higher numbers of black and minority ethnic students. (Guardian, 16 January 2023)

17 January: After PC David Carrick pleads guilty at Southwark Crown Court to  49 charges, including 24 counts of rape against 12 women over an 18-year period, the Metropolitan police sack him for gross misconduct. He has been suspended since October 2021. (Guardian, 17 January 2023) 


7 January: Exit Hate says the case of Rhianan Rudd, who was autistic, should become a ‘wake-up call’ about the online vulnerability of children. In May 2022, Rudd, aged 16, took her own life at a Nottinghamshire children’s home, after being groomed online by right-wing extremists, and charged with terror offences (later dropped). (Guardian, 7 January 2023)

11 January: In Austria, terrorism charges against academic Farid Hafez, a founder of the Austrian Muslim Youth Association, are dropped after an Al Jazeera documentary reveals the case was based on false evidence and fabricated accusations. In 2020, police raided the homes of 60 Muslims activists and academics including that of Hafez as part of Operation Luxor. (Al Jazeera, 11 January 2023)


5 January: London universities and those founded since 1992 are set to lose the most from a crackdown on international students, analysis shows, with half a dozen universities including Regents, BPP, London and Heriot-Watt relying on them for over a third of their income. (THE, 5 January 2023)

9 January: Following a vote of 450 parents, staff, pupils and local residents, a school in Deptford named after the slave-trader Sir Francis Drake, changes its name to Twin Oaks primary school. (BBC News, 9 January 2023)

11 January: A British Educational Research Association study finds that 85 percent of university staff in education departments are white and only 8 percent from BME backgrounds, suggesting a much more homogenous workforce than in other university settings. Much higher levels of resignation amongst BME staff, employment at a junior level, and lack of progression of staff from the Global South are also highlighted. (THE, 11 January 2023)

13 January: The National Union of Students welcomes the findings of an independent investigation into antisemitism which accuses the NUS of failing to  protect Jewish students from antisemitic bullying and ostracisation because of their faith or views on Israel. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign criticises the report for endorsing the conflation of antisemitism with legitimate advocacy for Palestinian rights.  (Guardian, 13 January 2023; PSC, press release, 13 January 2023)

17 January: The heads of the UK’s four main higher education mission groups call on the Commons Education Select Committee to initiate an inquiry into the Office of Students for ‘its continuing imposition’ of ‘unnecessary regulatory burden’. (THE, 17 January 2023)


4 January: The Local Government Association warns of a national homelessness crisis, after analysis of government data by Inside Housing reveals that 52,800 households have been threatened with homelessness by a section 21 no-fault eviction notice since the government promised to ban them. (Inside Housing, 4 January 2023)

6 January: Katharine Birbalsingh resigns as social mobility chair, stating that her presence is undermining the impartiality of the Social Mobility Commission and blaming the media for the outrage over her controversial views on education. (Guardian, 6 January 2023)

10 January: Many migrants, domestic violence victims and single mothers are affected by a regional homelessness crisis, says Greater Manchester Housing Advice with landlords’ possession more than doubling and possession orders tripling in the last year. (The Justice Gap, 10 January 2023)


5 January: Nearly a quarter of 400 GPs, GP registrars and GP trainees surveyed by MODUS say they have experienced racism in the workplace, with one-third targeted by colleagues, 30 percent by managers and 84 percent abused by patients. Over two-thirds of victims were of Asian descent, and over half said they did not receive adequate support after racist incidents. (Pulse, 5 January 2023)

10 January: The TUC describes a new government Bill to enforce a ‘basic’ level of service from different sectors if workers go on strike as ‘undemocratic, unworkable and almost certainly illegal’. (Guardian, 10 January 2023)

11 January: A former NHS employee is awarded £1000 in compensation by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for his superiors’ failure to tell him about racial slurs used against him in his absence, an omission deemed to constitute harassment. (Yorkshire Post, 11 January 2023)

16 January: A Dundee employment tribunal rejects a race discrimination claim brought by a secondary school teacher of Pakistani origin for the failure by the Perth school where she taught between 2000 and 2021 to take action against racial harassment from students, leading to her resignation. (Eastern Eye, 16 January 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.

6 January: After an investigation by the Football Association, former Crawley Manager John Yems is given a 15-month ban for 12 racist comments he made between 2019 and 2022. (Guardian6 January 2023)

7 January: In Italy, Lazio lose its appeal against a partial stadium ban imposed after Lazio ultras targeted Lecce players with racist chants at a match on 4 January, which saw Samuel Umtiti leave the pitch in tears, Lameck Banda substituted at half-time and the referee suspending play in the second half. (Yahoo, 4 January 2023; Football Italia, 7 January 2023)

7 January: Twitter makes further cuts to teams responsible for content moderation and the monitoring of hate speech, furthering concerns over the increase in racist rhetoric since Elon Musk took over the company. (Guardian7 January 2023)

7 January: After author Michel Houellebecq meets with the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris and expresses regret about his previous remarks, the rector announces he will drop his complaint into ‘violent remarks’ targeting Muslims. (RFI, 7 January 2023)

Michel Houellebecq at a conference
Michel Houellebecq. Credit: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación, Flickr.

8 January: The Charity Commission is accused of being ‘used to keep black-led charities in their place’ following the disclosure that its investigation into Sistah Space, which cleared the organisation, was launched on the basis of an anonymous tweet and after a torrent of race-hate on social media against its director Ngozi Fulani for criticising a Buckingham Palace aide. (Voice, 10 January 2023) 

10 January: The Church Commissioners reveals that one of its charities, Queen Anne’s Bounty, set up in 1704, invested in companies dealing in transatlantic chattel slavery. (Church of England, 10 January 2023)

12 January: Belgian football team KAA Gent removes 200 racist reactions to a TikTok video that features several players from its youth side (aged seven and eight) having fun in the dressing room. One post read ‘Formerly KAA Gent, now FC Congo’. (Brussels Times, 12 January 2023) 

16 January: The Big Issue names SOAS Detainee Support, Bail for Immigration Detainees, Samphire, the Asylum Seekers Memorial Project, Care4Calais, the Separated Child Foundation and Siobhan’s Trust as its refugee and asylum ‘changemakers’ of the year. (Big Issue, 16 January 2023)  


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

2 January: Community members discover that the Jamia Abdullah Bin Masood mosque in Darnall, Sheffield, which also functions as a food bank and community hub, has been vandalised during the Christmas break in an apparent hate crime, with Qurans thrown on the floor and trampled, kitchen and washroom units ripped out and technological equipment stolen. (Now and Then, 10 January 2023)

4 January: Mohammed Ramzan, the victim of a young woman’s fabrication of Asian grooming gangs in Barrow, Cumbria, says he received 500 death threats, his property was vandalised and he was called a ‘paedo’ in the streets. Other Muslims were harassed and a journalist who reported on harassment of Asian businessmen had to leave Cumbria on police advice after receiving death threats. (Guardian, 4 January 2023)

4 January: An unknown white male assailant, estimated to be in his late 30s, punches a man in the face in Carlisle in what Cumbria police treat as a racially aggravated assault. (News & Star, 4 January 2023)

4 January: A 34-year-old man is convicted of racially aggravated harassment after abusing a police officer in Bradford in December 2021. Blackpool magistrates order him to undertake rehabilitation activities and pay a total of £180. (Telegraph & Argus, 4 January 2023)

5 January: A 45-year-old man from Crossways, Dorset is convicted of racially aggravated harassment and assault for racially abusing and threatening violence towards a Pakistani nurse at Dorset County Hospital and assaulting a police officer in April 2022. Weymouth magistrates are to sentence him in February. (Dorset Echo, 9 January 2023)

6 January: Wigan and Leigh magistrates give a 12-month conditional discharge to a 49-year-old man from Ince who admits racially aggravated harassment after racially abusing his neighbours in August 2022. (Wigan Today, 6 January 2023)

6 January: The former boss of Crawley Town Football Club, John Yems, is banned from all football-related activities after an independent commission finds him guilty of 12 charges of racist abuse towards his players committed between 2019 and 2022. (BBC News, 6 January 2023)

8 January: West Yorkshire police arrest a woman for suspected assault and a racially aggravated public order offence at a bar in Halifax the night before, after a video of the incident goes viral on Facebook. (Halifax Courier, 8 January 2023)

8 January: Three men in their 20s are convicted, two for racially aggravated violence for three brawls between October 2018 and May 2019 in Barmouth and Hanley, receiving community sentences and for one, a two-year suspended sentence. (Stoke on Trent Live, 8 January 2023)

9 January: A 21-year-old woman from Porthmadog is found guilty of racially aggravated provocation of violence in September 2022. Caernarfon Magistrates’ Court sentences her to 12 weeks in jail suspended for 18 months. (Cambrian News, 9 January 2023)

9 January: A 37-year-old man is convicted of racially aggravated intentional harm at Leeds Railway Station on 25 June 2022. Leeds Magistrates’ Court hands him a community order and requires him to pay a total of £199. (Telegraph & Argus, 9 January 2023)

10 January: In Thessaloniki, Greece, a mural marking the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps is defaced for a second time with ‘swastikas and symbols of hate’. (Ekathimerini, 10 January 2023) 

10 January: Newcastle Crown Court sentences a 27-year-old Northumberland man to 12 months suspended for two years, with a 3-month curfew and a restraining order, for a racially aggravated assault on downstairs neighbours in September 2021, in which the male victim sustained a bloodied mouth, swollen lip and cut knees. (Chronicle Live, 10 January 2023)

10 January: Lucky Khambule, the co-founder of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), reports an increase in organised demonisation of refugees and asylum seekers, as politicians and community activists in Ballymun, Dublin report anti-migration protests outside a local hotel temporarily housing 221 people, causing residents including children to fear for their lives. (RTE, 10 January 2023) 

11 January: Derby Crown Court sentences a 43-year-old man to two years and three months in prison for a racially aggravated assault in Langley Mill in February 2022, in which the victim was racially abused and threatened, kicked over and his head stamped on, leaving him with scarring on his face and bruising. (Derby Telegraph, 11 January 2023)

13 January: Ealing magistrates convict former boyband member Lee Ryan of racially aggravated assault and assaulting a police officer after he drunkenly told a black flight attendant ‘I want your chocolate children’. (Guardian, 12 January 2022)

17 January: Leicester magistrates convict a 59-year-old woman of racially abusing a man in her granddaughter’s presence, and imposes fines and costs totalling £295. (Leicestershire Live, 17 January 2023) A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Sophie Chauhan, Margaret McAdam, Louis Ordish and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to ECRE, the Never Again Association, Stopwatch and The Week in Work, 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.

Featured image: Trial of Seán Binder and Sarah Mardini. Credit: Amnesty Greece 

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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