Calendar of Racism and Resistance (31 January – 14 February 2023)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (31 January – 14 February 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

30 January: Denmark’s Refugee Appeal Board, following the Swedish authorities and guidance from the European Union Asylum Agency, announces it will grant asylum to all Afghan women and girls ‘solely based on their gender’, and will reopen all refused cases since August 2021. (Human Rights Watch, 9 February 2023)

31 January: Refugee Council analysis of the prime minister’s proposal to remove asylum rights from those arriving in small boats and promptly remove them, finds (based on 2022 figures) they will leave 45,237 people in permanent limbo, possibly in detention, due to the lack of a returns agreement with other countries. (Guardian, 4 February 2023)

6 February: Analysis by the i shows a 77% fall in the number of refugees resettled in the UK through a UNHCR referral in 2022, from 4,267 in a nine-month period in 2019 to just 967 in the same period in 2022. (inews, 6 February 2023) 

9 February: A coalition of European NGOs launch Protect Not Surveil, a campaign to highlight the impact of the Artificial Intelligence Act on people on the move and asylum seekers. (Protect Not Surveil, 9 February 2023)

10 February: As part of its official ‘paradigm shift’ on migration policy, the German government appoints Joachim Stamp as the country’s first-ever ‘Special representative’ for migration agreements’, tasked with doing deals with African and other countries to ‘help with asylum procedures’. (Deutsche Welle, 10 February 2023)

11 February: Birmingham City Council is the first local authority in the UK to sign a pledge to respect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and to reject the Nationality and Borders Act. (ITV News, 11 February 2023)

Borders and internal controls

31 January: The Home Office takes back control in the Channel from the Royal Navy, through the small boats operational command (SBOC), bringing together military and civilian staff and the National Crime Agency, with an additional 780 staff. (ITNnews, 31 January 2023)

2 February: The European Court of Human Rights rules that Hungary is responsible for the death of a 22-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the river Tisza in 2016 as Hungarian authorities pushed him, his brother, a cousin and an Iraqi family back towards Serbia. The court orders a payment of €34,000 to the man’s brother. (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 2 February 2023) 

2 February: Italy renews its Memorandum of Understanding on Migration with Libya, first signed in 2017, for a further 3 years, whereby Italy provides Libya with financial and technical support to ‘combat illegal migration’. (Al Jazeera, 2 February 2023)

5 February: Migration Control Info publishes a leaked EU presidency document revealing how leverage including humanitarian aid is used to keep refugees out of Europe, and how Italian intelligence agencies are directed to work with Libyan and Sudanese militias to stop people on the move. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 10 February 2023) 

6 February: A new Home Office push, codenamed Operation Bridora, instructs asylum officials to focus solely on Albanian nationals, in an attempt to accelerate deportations. (Independent, 3 February 2023)

9 February: The European Council agrees to strengthen external borders, with more watchtowers and surveillance, and other measures to prevent unauthorised migration, in response to the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, with only the Luxembourg prime minister arguing it is wrong. (Balkan Insight, 10 February 2023; Guardian, 10 February 2023)

Reception and detention

3 February: Over 120 Afghan refugees protest outside Parliament against a Home Office decision to forcibly move 40 families with 150 children from the west London hotel where they have lived since their evacuation in August 2021 to Wetherby, Yorkshire, disrupting children’s schooling. (Guardian, 3 February 2023)

4 February: Freedom of Information documents from Manston obtained by Liberty Investigates reveal shocking accounts of use of force on detainees by Home Office staff and private contractors, including the use of handcuffs, being locked in ‘cell-vans’, being pinned to the ground and put in leg restraints. (Independent, 5 February 2023) 

7 February: More than 130 asylum seekers protest inside the Greenwich hotel accommodation where they have been for 18 months, after receiving a few hours’ notice that they are to be removed to a hotel in Bedfordshire, disrupting studies, medical treatment, volunteering and friendships. (Guardian, 8 February 2023)

8 February: In Myteline on Lesvos, Greece, a mother of four who attempted suicide in 2021 by setting fire to herself out of desperation at the living conditions in the notorious Mavrovouni (Moria 2) camp, goes on trial for arson with intent and destruction of public property. (ECRE Bulletin, 10 February 2023)

9 February: A pilot study carried out by the University of Brighton finds that LGBTQ+ people experience homophobic abuse and harassment in immigration detention from staff and other detainees leading to worsening mental health. (GayTimes, 9 February 2023) 

10 February: It is revealed that the Home Office has paid for the funerals of six of the 11 people who died in or after leaving immigration detention between 2017 and 2021. Five of the 11 deaths were suicides. (inews, 10 February 2023)


31 January: Following a deadly knife attack on a regional train in Germany by a stateless, homeless Palestinian with a criminal record, the coalition  government announce a ‘repatriation offensive’. (Deutsche Welle, 31 January 2023)

4 February: As anti-immigration protests take place in Dublin, Irish minister for justice Simon Harris promises to speed up the asylum process and ‘accelerate’ the deportation of refused asylum seekers. (Irish Times, 4 February 2023)

6 February: The French far-right Rassemblement National tables five pro-birth, pro-family amendments to the law to improve the financing of social security. MP Caroline Parmentier stipulates that reforms must prioritise ‘French families…[because] we don’t want repopulation through immigration’. (Le Monde, 6 February 2023)

8 February: The home secretary, accepting all 34 recommendations of the Shawcross review of Prevent, says the programme has shown ‘cultural timidity’ when tackling Islamic extremism. Shawcross backs the government’s view that legitimate right-wing views about the scale of immigration are wrongly treated as evidence of extremism. (Guardian, 8 February 2023)

9 February: The prime minister says that the views of the new Conservative party vice-chair are not those of the government after his appointee Lee Anderson MP called for a return of the death penalty, backed a naval ‘standoff’ in the Channel over small boats, and said that people using food banks did not know how to budget and shop properly. (Guardian, 9 February 2023)

9 February: The Greek parliament passes a measure banning political parties whose leaders have criminal convictions from running in elections, after attempts by imprisoned former Golden Dawn top official Ilias Kasidiaris to register a new far-right party, Hellenes, to run in the upcoming general election. (Euronews, 9 February 2023; (Ekathimerini, 31 January 2023)

13 February: The right-wing coalition of the ruling far-right Brothers of Italy party cements its position by winning regional elections in Lombardy and Lazio, with a former head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rosso, standing for the coalition in Lazio. (South China Morning Post, 14 February 2023)


2 February: In Norway, police citing security concerns ban a protest which would have included the burning of a copy of the Quran. (Al Jazeera, 2 February 2023)

2 February: Universal Music Group Germany drops a distribution deal with the rock band Weimar, whose last album reached number 5 in the charts, after a media investigation reveals that some of its members come from the neo-nazi scene in Thuringia. (Billboard, 2 February 2023)

4 February: In Dublin, Ireland, Le Chéile organises a ‘Refugees Welcome’ rally as a counter-protest to an anti-immigration demonstration where far-right speakers claim they are not racist but ‘pro-family’. (Irish Times, 6 February 2023)

8 February: Sweden’s intelligence agency warns that domestic security deteriorated in the weeks following the burning of the Quran by a far-right activist outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, as the prime minister announces the posting of guards inside social services offices after a disinformation campaign claimed that social workers kidnap Muslim children. (Independent, 8 February 2023) 

9 February: Neo-nazi James Farrell, who spread instructions on Telegram on how to build a DIY machine gun, is convicted at Glasgow High Court of terrorist offences and expressing antisemitic, racist and neo-Nazi views. (Daily Mail, 9 February 2023)

10 February: In Amsterdam, Netherlands, an antisemitic message claiming Anne Frank did not actually write her own diary is projected onto the Anne Frank Museum and the image posted on American far-right group chats. (Brussels Times, 10 February 2023)

10 February: Cumbrian far-right extremist Kurt McGowan is jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to seven terrorist offences. (BBC News, 10 February 2023)

10 February: A police van is set on fire as several hundred far-right demonstrators, some armed with hammers, countered by anti-fascists, protest outside the Suites Hotel, Knowsley, Merseyside, that is accommodating asylum seekers. The protest is seemingly prompted by social media posts about a man making ‘inappropriate advances towards a teenage girl’ and refugees being ‘feather-bedded’ at the hotel.  (Guardian, 10 February 2023) 

11 February: As fifteen arrests are made in connection with the Knowsley violence, the home secretary says that the ‘alleged behaviour of some asylum seekers’ was never an excuse for violence. Hope Not Hate reveals that prior to the violence, Patriotic Alternative leafletted residents with the slogan ‘5-Star Hotels For Migrants Whilst Brits Freeze’. (Guardian, 11 February 2023)

11 February: One person is arrested on suspicion of making a racially aggravated comment towards a police officers as right-wing demonstrators protest a drag queen children’s event at Tate Britain. Anti-fascists and trans activists hold a counter-protest. (Guardian, 11 February 2023)

Two protesters outside Downing Street, 21 January holding up placards saying stop section 35, self id now.
A trans rights protest in London. Credit: Steve Eason, Flickr.


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.

31 January: The undercover policing inquiry finds that the Special Demonstration Squad, which infiltrated left-wing groups fighting issues like racism and fascism, and apartheid in South Africa, between 1968 and 1982, never assessed whether the spying was justified. (Guardian, 31 January 2023)

2 February: A government scrutiny body finds that North Wales police fail to complete paperwork on the use of force, leaving thousands of cases unrecorded, and that only 13% of recorded stop and search incidents have strong reasonable grounds. (Voice Wales, 3 February 2023)

2 February: An undercover police officer who infiltrated social movements including the La Cinétika social centre in Barcelona, Spain, using sexual and emotional relationships to win trust and build his cover, is unmasked by the Catalan newspaper La Directa. (Statewatch, 2 February 2023)

3 February: The family of social worker Sourour Abouda, who died in a Brussels police cell, say they have no faith in the Belgian authorities to carry out a proper investigation and call on the Tunisian government to launch an investigation. (Open Democracy, 3 February 2023)

7 February: Leeds University research into CPS charging decisions finds that BME suspects are subject to disproportionate prosecutions, with black Caribbean suspects charged at a rate eight percentage points higher, and those from mixed (white and black Caribbean or African) ethnic backgrounds between ten and twelve percentage points higher, than white counterparts for similar offences. (CPS, 7 February 2023;  Guardian, 7 February 2023)

7 February: The European Roma Rights Centre and Fair Trials publish Justice Denied, detailing ethnic profiling and discrimination in the Czech Republic against Roma defendants from police, judges, prosecutors and even their own lawyers, leading to racially-biased decisions and outcomes in pre-trial detention and sentencing. (ERRC, press release, 7 February 2023)

7 February: Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley apologies for not being ‘rigorous enough’ and ‘missing opportunities’ after former officer David Carrick is handed 36 life sentences for 85 offences against twelve women over a 17-year-period. (LBC, 7 February 2023)

9 February: In a new StreetPress documentary, ‘Police violence, the fight of families’, it is revealed that 13 people died after police shootings in France in 2022 for ‘refusing to comply’. The film follows the bereaved families of Cédric Chouviat, Claude Jean-Pierre, Allan Lambin, Gaye Camara and Wissam El Yamni. (Streetpress, 9 February 2023)


2 February: The Swedish justice minister announces a further tightening of anti-terror laws to allow for a ‘broader criminalisation’ of activities of Kurdish militants, such as organising rallies or meetings or even cooking for organisations designated as terrorist groups. (Euronews, 2 February 2023)

6 February: A Czech interior ministry report warns that the politically dissatisfied, influenced by xenophobic and nationalist conspiracy theories as well as ‘online communities of neo-Nazis’, have raised the risk of ‘lone-wolf terrorist activity’ similar to the attack on a gay club in Bratislava last year. (Radio Prague International, 6 February 2023)

12 February: William Shawcross, author of the Prevent review, is criticised for not doing his job properly after it emerges that he attended only six of the thousands of review panels of its key deradicalisation ‘Channel’ programme. Amnesty International says his review is ‘riddled with biased thinking, errors and plain anti-Muslim prejudice’. (Guardian, 12 February 2023)


2 February: Dutch student unions support the government’s proposal to bring in a temporary brake on the number of international students enrolling, saying it is impacting on the quality of degree courses as well as increasing pressure on housing. (Dutch News, 2 February 2023)

7 February: As MPs reinstate the right to sue universities in the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill following its removal by the House of Lords, Claire Countinho, minister for children, families and well-being, says that a freedom of speech statutory tort will be ‘critical to stimulating the cultural transformation that we need’.  (Times Higher Education, 8 February 2023)

10 February: The Shawcross review (see counter-terrorism) claims that ‘anti-Prevent narratives dominate the discourse in British universities’, which are ‘targeted by extremists’ while referrals to the counter-terror programme from universities are ‘strikingly low’. (Times Higher Education, 10 February 2023)

11 February: Department for Education figures for England, uncovered through a freedom of information request,  reveal that 7,403 school pupils were suspended in 2022 over racist  incidents, including assaults, vile language and social media taunts – a  50% increase on the previous year. (Daily Mirror, 11 February 2023)


8 February: Research by Action for Children suggests that two million children are trapped in poverty due to parents facing work barriers, with the benefits cap being a ‘big driver’ of deeper poverty. (Nursery World, 8 February 2023)

9 February: After a fire in Mouraria, Lisbon, claims the lives of two Indian migrant workers, Portugal’s Immigrant Solidarity Association and Amnesty International blame central and local government for poor housing. (Portugal Resident, 6 February 2023, Portugal Resident, 9 February 2023)

10 February: Michael Gove, secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, announces a new ‘Awaab’s law (named after two-year-old Awaab Ishak who was killed by mould in a social housing flat), that will set deadlines for landlords in England and Wales to tackle reported hazards. (Guardian, 10 February 2023)


5 February: Concerns are raised about the welfare of migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation after a Home Office interview with a female care worker recruited from Zimbabwe, about exploitative recruitment practices, is revealed to her employer, breaching assurances of confidentiality. (Guardian, 5 February 2023)

8 February: The NHS publishes a five-point plan to tackle racism within its workplaces. Key suggestions include addressing unfair disciplinary procedures, improving representation in senior roles, practising inclusive recruitment, standardising support and securing parity for minority ethnicity and migrant staff. (BMJ, 8 February 2023)

9 February: A report from the Bar Council reveals that women and black barristers employed in law firms, the Crown Prosecution Service or the Government Legal Department are most likely to have experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination at work. (Law Society Gazette, 9 February 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 February: Tim Bresnan, Matthew Hoggard and John Blain withdraw from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) investigation into racism within Yorkshire cricket over their concerns that they would not receive a fair hearing. The ECB states that their cases will still be heard in their absence. (Guardian3 February 2023)

7 February: Yorkshire County Cricket Club admits four charges of bringing the game into disrepute, accepting its role in the failure to address systemic use of discriminatory language and the failure to act when allegations were first made. (Guardian7 February 2023)

9 February: The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is criticised internationally for publishing a cartoon apparently ridiculing the victims of the earthquake in Turkey, including the caption ‘no need to send tanks’. Turkish news channels describe it as ‘fascist humour’. (Euronews, 9 February 2023)

12 February: Brentford Football Club expresses disgust after Ivan Toney is subjected to racist abuse following a match between Arsenal and Brentford the day before. (BBC News12 February 2023)


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

31 January: Liverpool magistrates sentence a man from Huyton to 12 weeks suspended for 12 months, rehabilitation work and costs for criminal damage to property, assault by beating of an emergency worker and racially aggravated abuse in December 2022.  (Liverpool Echo, 2 February 2023) 

31 January: A 16-year-old girl is assaulted and racially abused in Hastings by an unidentified assailant. (Sussex World, 6 February 2023)

3 February: Glasgow Sheriff Court sentences a 56-year-old woman to 126 hours of unpaid work and 14 months’ supervision for shouting racial abuse and attacking a staff member at a theatre performance in Glasgow in  March 2022. (Glasgow Live, 3 February 2023)

3 February: In Dublin, Ireland, Graham Carey, linked to recent anti-migrant protests, is brought to court under the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act and as part of bail conditions is barred from social media and from places housing refugees. (RTE, 3 February 2023)

4 February: A 27-year-old man is charged with causing grievous bodily harm and a racially aggravated public order offence after punching a woman in her 70s in Burnley town centre, knocking her to the ground. (Burnley Express, 4 February 2023)

4 February: A woman is racially abused and threatened with violence by one female and two male teenagers on board an X95 bus in Hawick. (Border Telegraph, 10 February 2023)

6 February: Hertfordshire police appeal for witnesses after racist posters were mounted around Welwyn Garden City between 28 and 30 January. (Welwyn Hatfield Times, 6 February 2023) 

7 February: A man in his 70s suffers facial injuries after being assaulted and racially abused on the street in Warndon. (Worcester News, 10 February 2023)

7 February: A 21-year-old black man is repeatedly punched, kicked and stabbed during a racially aggravated attack in the vape shop he manages in Battle, near Hastings. He receives hospital treatment for serious leg injuries. The two unidentified male perpetrators robbed the same shop the previous day. (Mirror, 8 February 2023)

9 February: During a visit to Olhão, Algarve In Portugal, President Marcelo apologises to two Nepalese immigrants attacked in January by a gang of youths armed with sticks, which sparked national outrage when social media carried a video of the attack. (Portugal Resident, 9 February 2023)

9 February: Three unidentified teenage boys shout racist abuse at a teenage girl in Lowestoft before one throws a brick in her direction, landing just in front of her. (Suffolk Live, 6 March 2023)

10 February: A 30-year-old man is convicted of shouting racial abuse at another man in Elgin on 17 June 2022. Elgin Sheriff Court orders him to complete 160 hours of unpaid work. (The Northern Scot, 10 February 2023)

10 February: Following an incident on 6 February outside Thomas Knyvett College in Ashford, Surrey, five people aged between 11 and 39 are arrested on suspicion of a ‘racially-motivated attack on a 15-year-old black girl’. Footage shared online appeared to show the pupil being punched, kicked and having her hair pulled while adults egged the attackers on. (Independent, 10 February 2023)

12 February: Colchester magistrates sentence a 56-year-old man to one month in prison, suspended for 18 months, and a £100 fine for racially aggravated harassment by using racist and religious slurs in June 2022. (Daily Gazette and Essex County Standard, 12 February 2023)

14 February: Police examine CCTV images of an incident in an Islington pub on 15 January, where a 26-year-old Jewish woman and Arsenal fan was targeted with antisemitic slurs by Tottenham Hotspur supporters on the day of the north London derby football match. (LondonWorld, 14 February 2023)

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: A ‘Refugees Welcome’ rally organised by Le Chéile as a counter-protest to an anti-immigration demonstration on 6 February in Dublin. Credit: Le Chéile


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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