Calendar of Racism and Resistance (3 – 18 November 2020)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (3 – 18 November 2020)


Written by: IRR News Team

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


Asylum and migrant rights

9 November: Following a second Commons defeat, Lord Dubs withdraws his amendment on family reunion rights for child refugees in the Lords as the government offers a review. (Independent, 5 November; Hansard (HL), 9 November 2020)    

9 November: Visa delays and prohibitive costs are forcing migrant healthcare workers to leave the UK, although there are 122,000 vacancies in the sector, says Unison, as 1,660 medics protest their treatment.  (Guardian, 9 November 2020)    

11 Novemberreport on the UK’s refugee resettlement schemes by the Independent Inspector of Borders reveals that 29 children whose resettlement UNHCR deemed ‘urgent’ in 2016 are still awaiting admission. (Independent Inspector of Borders and Immigration, 11 November 2020)   

12 November: A British Red Cross report says that nearly half of those applying for family reunion visas to join UK-based relatives with refugee status have to cross war zones or risk sexual violence or imprisonment in their journey to the visa application centre. (Guardian, 12 November 2020) 

Borders and internal controls

4 November: In Malta50 asylum seekers, together with two siblings of two migrants who died at sea, file constitutional proceedings against the Maltese authorities, saying their human rights were breached by a pushback to Libya last April. (Times of Malta, 4 November 2020)   

5 NovemberVisiting a town on the Franco-Spanish borderpresident Macron claims that ‘migratory flows’ are being used for terror attacks, commits France to doubling its border guard to a total of 4,800 and calls on the EU to set up ‘a real police force’ at its external borders. (Deutsche Welle, 5 November 2020)   

9 November: Eight ferries chartered by the Italian government since April as floating quarantine centres for newly-arrived boat people cost over €1 million each per month, the New Humanitarian reveals, and at least four people, including two teenagers, have died on them. (New Humanitarian, 9 November 2020)

9 November: On Samos, Greece, an Afghani man whose 6-year-old son died on the family’s journey from the nearby Turkish coast is arrested on suspicion of endangering life, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. (Washington Post, 9 November 2020)

9 November: Acting on a complaint from Amnesty International, the EU Ombudsman opens an investigation into the EU Commission, for allegedly failing to implement adequate monitoring mechanism to ensure Croatia’s border management policies respect fundamental rights. (EU Ombudsman News, 9 November 2020)    

12 November: The NGO Italian Emergency accuses the EU of failure to operate structured search and rescue after over 110 migrants die in the Mediterranean in four shipwrecks in three days. Only one NGO rescue boat currently operates in the central Mediterranean, as Italian ports block the departure of other boats.  (Guardian, 12 November 2020) 

13 November: The internal investigation by Frontex into allegations that the organisation was complicit in pushbacks at the Greece-Turkey border finds ‘no evidence’ according to preliminary findings. (Ekathimerini, 13 November 2020)    

15 November: Migrants steering boats across the Channel are being prosecuted despite official acceptance that there are no organised crime group members on board, the Independent reveals, and eight people have been jailed and will face deportation at the end of their sentence. (Independent, 15 November 2020)   

16 November: In Spainthe government announces that ‘to stem the flow of boats’ whose arrivals in the Canary Islands have dramatically increased (2,000 people in one 48-hour period), it will increase deportations and enter into new agreements with the countries people are fleeing from. (El Pais, 16 November 2020)    

17 November: A Syrian man refugee now living in Germany says, in a case brought to the UN Human Rights Committee, that in 2016 he was picked up by the Greek authorities, stripped of his papers and violently expelled to Turkey while searching for his 11-year-old brother who had disappeared crossing the border(Guardian, 17 November 2020) 

Reception and detention
Makeshift Calais camp Photo credit: Calais Migrant Solidarity

7 November: Sixteen London councils call on the government to restart its refugee resettlement scheme, suspended since March, warning that refugee integration and help services will close down permanently unless the programme urgently resumes. (Independent, 7 November 2020)   

9 November: In France, 8 NGOs and 11 people bring a case against the Pas-de-Calais prefecture for its ‘illegal’ evacuation of 800 people from a makeshift camp. (InfoMigrants, 9 November 2020)    

10 November: Human Rights Watch criticises Spain’s interior ministry for conditions in makeshift camps housing over 2,200 new arrivals at the Canary Islands’ Arguineguín docks, which journalists complain they are banned from documenting. (Guardian, 10 November 2020)     

11 November: As the local health authority warns of a likely outbreak of coronavirus among asylum seekers because of inadequate isolation facilities at Penally former military training camp, and asylum seekers stage a protest, a judicial review of its deployment is launched. (Free Movement, 11 November; BBC, 12 November 2020)    

13 November: Four independent monitoring boards find that asylum seekers arriving in small boats in Dover are subject to ‘inhumane treatment’ from arrival to removal, including being moved between detention centres with untreated broken bones, burns and cancer. (Guardian, 13 November 2020)    

13 November: Homelessness charities call on the Home Office to suspend ‘reckless’ evictions of asylum seekers after it says they will proceed, without consulting local authorities and despite a high court order halting evictions due to public health concerns. (Guardian, 6 November; Guardian, 13 November; Guardian, 14 November 2020)  

13 November: A high court judge rules in an interim hearing that potential victims of trafficking are not being identified because asylum interviews are being curtailed, probably unlawfully, leading to unlawful detention and removal. (Guardian, 13 November 2020)   

15 November: A senior Home Office official resigns and others express concerns that the welfare of migrant children crossing the Channel to the UK is being ‘compromised’ by hostile environment policies including ‘physical intervention’. (Guardian, 15 November 2020)    

16 November: A freedom of information request by No Deportations reveals that self-harm incidents at Brook House detention centre have increased twentyfold in a year despite a reduction by two-thirds in the numbers detained. (Independent, 16 November 2020)   

16 November: Sheffield MP Olivia Blake writes to the home secretary asking why Urban House initial accommodation centre has reopened without improvements in residents’ conditions or ability to keep safe since a Covid-19 outbreak forced its closure in July. (Twitter, 16 November 2020)

17 November: Police iFrance clear a makeshift  encampment in Saint DenisParis, housing some 2, 000 asylum seekers, ordering migrants onto crowded buses and using tear gas to control crowds. (Deutsche Welle, 17 November 2020) 


12 November: A coalition of law centres convened by the Good Law Project bring a legal challenge against new rules allowing for the deportation of foreign rough sleepers. (Guardian, 12 November 2020)  

Criminalising solidarity

28 October: In Franceafter a four-year legal struggle, Professor Pierre-Alain Mannoni is acquitted of ‘aiding and abetting illegal residence’ for giving a lift to three young Eritrean women in 2016. (Borderline Europe, 3 November 2020)


For more information on policing and civil liberties issues follow @NETPOL @BigBrotherWatch @COVIDStateWatch and @libertyhq.

3 NovemberFreedom of information requests reveal that police use of fingerprint scanners disproportionately targets Black Britons. (Wired, 3 November 2020)   

4 November: As figures show that police have issued 20,000 fines for lockdown breaches since March, including 66 fines of £10,000 for parties and protests, police chiefs in the north-west warn of ‘greater levels of enforcement’ to target the rule-breaking minority. (Guardian, 4 November 2020)   

6 November: An open letter to home secretary Priti Patel from Stopwatch, signed by lawyers, justice and police monitoring groups, warns that increased stop and search powers under proposed Serious Violence Reduction Orders will exacerbate racial disparities without preventing crime. (Stopwatch, 6 November 2020)   

11 November: The ‘Spy cops’ inquiry hears how the left-wing journalist and intellectual Tariq Ali, who promoted political campaigns against violent racist assaults, the Vietnam war and fascism, was spied on by at least 14 undercover police officers for over 35 years. (Guardian, 11 November 2020)   

11 November: Dorset Police apologise after receiving complaints regarding a Facebook post about drug dealing which features a picture of a young Black man. (BBC News, 11 November 2020) 

11 NovemberA large-scale study by the University of BochumGermany, finds that ethnic minorities in the region are structurally disadvantaged by the police and experience high levels of police violence, with 90 percent of complaintof police violence not followed up by state prosecutors. (Deutsche Welle, 11 November 2020)  

12 November: The Network for Police Monitoring (NETPOL) releases a report, Britain is Not Innocent, which looks at the policing of Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of this year. (NETPOL, 12 November 2020)   

13 November: Sadiq Khan and the Metropolitan police launch a new race action plan which includes a target to hire 40 percent of new recruits from ethnic minority backgrounds and officers being required to justify the use of stop and search to community panels. (Guardian, 13 November 2020)   

13 November: The number of prisoners in England and Wales testing positive for Covid-19 doubled in October, Ministry of Justice figures reveal. (Guardian, 13 November 2020) 


4 NovemberFrance bans the far-right Turkish Grey Wolves group for spreading violent threats and ‘incitement to hatred against authorities and Armenians’, citing defacement of a memorial near Lyon. (Deutsche Welle, 4 November 2020)   

6 November: In Austria, following the terrorist attack by a 20-year-old Macedonian man which claimed four lives, the interior ministry orders the closure of mosques deemed a threat to national security, the day after Vienna’s mayor praised Turkish and Palestinian men for saving lives during the attack. Their presence had led the media to label them possible terrorist accomplices. (Al Jazeera, 4 November; Al Jazeera, 6 November 2020)    

13 November: Following disagreements between member states, EU home affairs ministers remove a reference to Islam, and demands for newcomers to learn the host country’s language and to earn a living, from a joint declaration against terrorism which links violent extremism with migrants’ failure to integrate. (Guardian, 13 November 2020) 


8 November: Nigel Farage launches Reform UK, the renamed Brexit party, by encouraging members to defy coronavirus lockdown regulations and walk past their local war memorial on Remembrance Sunday. (Guardian, 8 November 2020)  

10 November: Far-right For Britain councillor Julian Leppert is sanctioned for breaching Epping Forest district council’s code of conduct by making unfounded claims in a YouTube video post that asylum seekers housed locally by the Home Office had brought in a crime epidemic. (Guardian, 10 November 2020) 

10 November: An elected politician for the far-Right Sweden Democrats is arrested near Uppsala in connection with the discovery of an explosive device. (Expressen, 10 November 2020) 

13 November: Labour leader Keir Starmer says he will work with the Labour Muslim Network to implement recommendations in its report, that finds over half of the party’s Muslim members do not trust him to deal with Islamophobia, highlighting the party’s response to the Prevent agenda, its approach to Palestine and failings in its complaints procedure.  (Guardian, 13 November 2020) 

16 November: In the European parliament, the governments of Hungary and Poland veto the EU budget and its coronavirus recovery plan over attempts to link funding to respect for democratic norms. (Guardian, 16 November 2020) 

18 November: 27 Labour MPs condemn as ‘wrong and dangerous’ Keir Starmer’s decision not to allow Jeremy Corbyn to vote with the Labour party following a disciplinary committee’s decision to reinstate him. Corbyn was suspended over his criticism of the findings of the EHRC report on antisemitism in the party. (Guardian, 18 November 2020) 


2 November: 18-year-old far-right extremist Harry Vaughan is given a 2-year suspended sentence at the Old Bailey for 14 terrorism offences after police found a far-right terror manual, graphics encouraging terrorism and film of the Christchurch massacre, along with child abuse images on his computer. (Guardian, 2 November 2020) 

7 November:  In Germany, leaders of Lateral Thinking (Querdenken) who organised a 20,000 strong anti-lockdown protest in Leipzig which was dispersed by police, distance themselves from far-right activists who attended sporting Reich flags. (Deutsche Welle, 8 November 2020) 

12 November: In Germany, 11 far-right sympathisers, arrested in country-wide raids last February, are charged with membership of a ‘terrorist organisation’ and a 12th is charged with support, over allegations of planning Christchurch style terrorist attacks on politicians, asylum seekers and Muslims. (Al Jazeera12 November 2020) 

16 NovemberThe trial begins In France of Generation Identity supporter Remi Falize on charges of incitement to terrorism and aggravated assault. He had been filmed by Al Jazeera assaulting a child and saying he dreamed of ramming a car into a mosque. (Al Jazeera, 16 November 2020) 


6 November: In an unprecedented move, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child says it will examine whether Irish tax laws and policies, which encourage multinational companies to shift profits from the developing world to Ireland, harm the rights of children overseas. (Irish Times, 6 November 2020) 

9 November: A report led by NGOs Bankwatch and Counter Balance claims that the taxpayer-funded European Investment Bank (EIB) invests in infrastructure projects linked to alleged human rights violations against indigenous peoples in Nepal, Georgia and Kenya. (Guardian, 9 November 2020) 

10 November: The chair of the Football Association, Greg Clarke, is forced to resign after making a series of offensive and racial stereotyping remarks to a parliamentary select committee. (Guardian, 10 November 2020) 

11 November: The Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes Black People, Racism and Human Rights, calling on the government, NHS and police to act to end stark inequalities in the protection of the Black community’s human rights, in which it finds the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has failed. (UK Parliament, 11 November 2020) 

13 November: The Institute of Race Relations and the Muslim Council of Britain criticise the government appointment as an EHRC Commissioner of David Goodhart. who heads Policy Exchange’s immigration and integration unit and has attacked diversity and expressed support for hostile environment policies currently being reviewed by the EHRC. (Guardian13 November; Newsweek, 13 November 2020) 

15 November: Journalist Phil Miller takes the Foreign Office to an information tribunal as the Observer reveals that the government department is resisting publishing files on its diplomatic support for British mercenaries in Sri Lanka in the 1980s, despite the Met police launching an unprecedented investigation into alleged war crimes by the private security company Keenie Meenie Services. (Observer, 15 November 2020) 

15 November: Former prime minister Gordon Brown calls on the G20 group to restructure debt, warning that poor countries are spending more on debt repayment than on health and education, leading to a global rise in child poverty and mortality and breaching children’s rights. (Observer, 15 November 2020) 


2 November: A cross-party group of five former health ministers join calls by unions, doctors and care providers for the chancellor to award an urgent wage increase to care workers, three-quarters of whom earn less than the real living wage. (Guardian, 2 November; Guardian, 13 November 2020) 

3 November: Government statistics show that in April, over 2 million workers were paid less than the minimum wage, five times the number a year earlier. (Guardian, 3 November 2020) 

4 November: After a tenyear battle against outsourcing, University of London cleaners are issued with in-house contracts, securing a pay rise, increased annual leave and a variety of other rights previously denied. (Novara Media, 4 November 2020)

5 November: Bar Standards Board figures show that BME women barristers earn the least of all barristers, with white males earning the most. (Guardian, 5 November 2020) 

13 November: Outsourcing company Wilson James has suspended security guard Cetin Avsar from his job at the Francis Crick cancer research laboratory at Kings Cross, London, for campaigning against outsourcing with United Voices of the World in a previous job, his union reveals. (Left Foot Forward, 13 November 2020) 

11 November: In Spain, a trade union representing migrant domestic workers says at least 100 migrant livein’ workers have been kept locked inside during the pandemic, while the Spanish government confirms that 22,000 domestic workers have lost their jobs during the pandemic. (BBC News, 11 November 2020)  


5 November: The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announces an inquiry into the ‘structural issues which have left people from a range of ethnic minorities at greater risk’ from coronavirus. (Telegraph, 5 November; Sky News, 5 November 2020)  

8 November: The Runnymede Trust calls on the government to protect BME communities, who polls find are a third more likely to be financially hit by coronavirus compared to the white population, and to suffer higher anxiety around job security. (Guardian, 8 November 2020)  

12 November: A Lancet systematic review and meta-analysis of ethnicity and clinical outcomes in Covid-19 of nearly 19 million patients from 50 studies shows there is a higher risk of infection in black and Asian communities. (Guardian, 12 November 2020) 


16 November: The Grenfell public inquiry hears an ex-employee of Celotex admit that executives who sold combustible insulation for use on Grenfell Tower perpetrated a ‘fraud on the market’ by rigging a fire test and making ‘misleading’ claims about it. (Guardian, 16 November 2020) 

Grenfell Tower Photo source: Flickr. Author: @kcw1939.


14 November: Manchester university suspends 3 security guards after video footage shows 19-year-old student Zac Adan pressed up against a wall and accused of ‘looking like a drug dealer’ in what the student alleged was clear racial profiling.  (Manchester Evening News, 15 November; Independent, 16 November 2020) 


30 October: Sky TV announces it will not broadcast its carpentry contest The Chop after learning that a contestant’s face tattoos, which include the ‘88’ symbol, ‘could be connected to far-right ideologies’. (BBC News, 30 October 2020)  

30 October: Trade unions BECTU and NUJ demand an urgent meeting with BBC bosses to ensure that staff and freelancers’ freedom to attend anti-racist protests is unaffected by strict new impartiality rules. (inews, 30 October 2020) 

4 November: In Belgium, following a call from the state secretary of heritage and urbanism, the regional urban agency Urban Brussels is selected to form an expert working group to decolonise public space, and to report on long-term urban policies and public space renovation in Brussels. (Brussels Times, 4 November 2020)  

4 November: The Financial Times removes an article from its website after receiving a critical letter from the French president in which Macron said he will ‘not allow anybody to claim that France, or its government, is fostering racism against Muslims’. (Daily Sabah, 4 November 2020)  

5 NovemberSeveral hundred international academics sign an open letter describing as ‘deeply disingenuous and profoundly dangerous’ the manifesto by 100 French academics supporting the education minister’s position that ‘indigenist, racialist and “decolonial” ideologies’, imported from North America, were responsible for ‘conditioning the violent extremist who assassinated Samuel Paty’. (Open Democracy, 5 November 2020) 

15 November: Protesters applaud Dutch librarians’ removal from their shelves of children’s books featuring the black-faced ‘Zwarte Piet’, following a decades-long campaign to get rid of the racist stereotype. (Observer, 15 November 2020) 

16 NovemberFrench president Macron tells the New York Times that the English-language media do not understand the concept of the separation of church and state, and condemns newspapers critical of France’s policy towards Muslims, accusing some of ‘legitimising this violence’. (Guardian, 16 November 2020) 


2 NovemberBritain’s Got Talent finalist, comedian Nabil Abdulrashid, reveals that he received racist abuse and death threats after routines supporting Black Lives Matter and ridiculing critics. (Guardian, 2 November 2020) 

8 November: A 16-year-old boy is arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and a racially aggravated public order offence after a group of young people throw eggs and racial abuse at an Indian takeaway in Eastham, Wirral. (Liverpool Echo, 9 November 2020) 

9 November: Avon and Somerset police release CCTV images of a white man in his 50s in an appeal for information on the racial abuse of a member of door staff at a pub in Bristol in August. (Avon and Somerset police, 9 November 2020) 

10 November: Police appeal for information following a racially aggravated incident involving a black man and a white female in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire last month. (Herts Live, 10 November 2020) 

10 November: Police appeal for information after a Black Lives Matter exhibition at a church in Hertfordshire was defaced in a racially motivated hate crime last month. (Hitchin Nub news, 10 November 2020)  

12 November: Police appeal for information on a group of youths who racially abused two 16-year-old girls and assaulted one of them, in York on 24 October. (York Press, 12 November 2020) 

10 November: A 22-year-old woman is fined for racially abusing a doctor while she was a patient at St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight, in July 2020. (Isle of Wight County Press, 13 November 2020) 

12 November: Detectives release CCTV images of three males in an appeal for information on a violent and sustained racist attack in August outside an Everton supermarket, on two men and a woman who were left with serious injuries including broken bones. (Merseyside Police, 12 November 2020)

14 November: A 26 year-old man is sentenced to community service, fines and rehabilitation after he admits racially abusing a man at a fish and chip shop in Winklebury, Basingstoke, in June 2020. (Basingstoke Gazette, 14 November) 

15 November: Police appeal for information after a white cyclist in Swindon, Wiltshire, shouts racist remarks at a young family, as he pedals past them. (This is Wiltshire, 16 November 2020) 

The calendar was compiled with the help of Graeme Atkinson, Kaiisha Kukendra, Neal Tank and Joseph Maggs.

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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