Calendar of Racism and Resistance (4 – 17 November 2021)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (4 – 17 November 2021)


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

12 November: As three French activists commence the 25th day of a hunger strike in protest against conditions at Calais, human rights observers say French authorities have destroyed at least 5,855 tents and tarpaulins so far this year. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 12 November 2021)

A barrier being constructed in Calais to obstruct solidarity efforts. Credit: Auberge des Migrants, Twitter.

15 November: Legal charity Justice calls for the Windrush compensation scheme to be taken away from the Home Office because of its complexity, lack of independence, delays, inconsistent decisions, officials’ inexperience and cultural ignorance, and the lack of legal aid. The scheme had paid fewer than 900 of the estimated 15,000 people eligible in over three years. (Justice, 15 November; Guardian, 15 November 2021)

15 November: The Refugee Council, using Home Office data, finds that, contrary to Priti Patel’s claim that 70 percent of those in Channel crossings are single male economic migrants, two-thirds are genuine refugees who are allowed to remain. (Guardian, 17 November 2021)

Borders and internal controls

5 November: The Greek press reports that on 28 October a 20-year-old Afghan asylum seeker working as a shepherd on Crete hanged himself when he learned that his family had been murdered by the Taliban. (Documento, 5 November 2021) 

6 November: At the French-Italian border the decomposing body of an African man is found under the San Luigi bridge. (InfoMigrants, 11 November 2021)

13 November: A study by migrant workers’ group Kanlungan on the effects of the pandemic on undocumented migrant workers finds that many refuse testing, treatment or vaccination for fear of being deported, while several are on the brink of destitution. (Kanlungan, 13 November; Observer, 13 November 2021) 


2 November: It is revealed that an Iraqi man died on 29 October at the Polish-Belarus border, with both countries disputing on which side of the border the body was found. Polish border guards vigorously deny forcing migrants to drag the body back to the Belarus side. (InfoMigrants, 2 November 2021)

8 November: Polish defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak says 12,000 Polish troops are ready to defend the border against migrants as border guards use tear gas to repel refugees brought by Belarusian border guards to the Polish border, leaving the refugees stranded in a frozen forest. (Guardian, 8 November 2021)

11 November: A 14-year-old Kurdish boy dies of hypothermia, due to the freezing temperatures on the Polish border with Belarus. (Deutsche Welle,  13 November 2021)

11 November: The government sends a team of about ten British soldiers to Poland, to help thousands of riot police and troops secure its border against refugees entering from Belarus. (Guardian, 12 November 2021)

13 November: The body of a young Syrian man is discovered in woods near Wolka Terechowska village, on the Polish side of the border with Belarus. (Guardian, 13 November 2021)

15 November: As the Polish prime minister calls for NATO to take ‘concrete steps’ to resolve its border refugee crisis, the EU announces sanctions against Belarus and people and airlines carrying refugees there. Turkey bans Syrians from flying to Belarus’ capital Minsk, and Syrian airline Cham says it will no longer fly there. (Guardian, 14 November; Guardian, 15 November 2021)

16 November: As the first of the victims of the border conflict with Belarus, the young Syrian Ahmed Al Hasan, is buried by the local Muslim community in Bohoniki, Poland, Polish soldiers and border guards deploy water cannon and tear gas to drive back migrants who throw stones. Stun grenades, which the Polish authorities claim were supplied by Belarus, detonate among the migrants. (Notes from Poland, 16 November; Guardian, 16 November 2021)


4 November: A body of a migrant is found on a beach near Calais, France, close to a water-filled boat, the day after another person was found unconscious at sea and later died, and a second person was reported missing. (BBC News, 5 November 2021)

5 November: One migrant is killed and three others seriously injured after being hit by a train as they were walking on tracks in Calais, France. (Euronews, 5 November 2021)

6 November: Border Force officials and the head of the Immigration Services Union say home secretary Priti Patel’s planned pushbacks of migrants’ dinghies in the Channel by officers on jet skis will not be implemented because of the risk of death and the unwillingness of officials. (Times, 6 November; Daily Mail, 9 November 2021)

11 November: Three people trying to cross the Channel by kayak are reported missing, as two others are rescued by the French coastguard and returned to France. A land and sea search operation is launched for the three. (Guardian, 12 November 2021)

15 November: The British and French governments agree further operational measures to ‘prevent 100% of crossings’ and make the Channel route ‘unviable’ after a week of mutual recriminations and media hysteria over the numbers making the crossing. (Guardian, 15 November 2021)

Crimes of solidarity

15 November: A solidarity rally outside the Greek parliament demands that charges are dropped against Seán Binder, Sarah Mardini and other humanitarian volunteers who face trial in Lesvos on Thursday for their work rescuing refugees. (Observer, 14 November 2021)

16 November: The European Court of Justice rules that Hungary’s so-called ‘Stop Soros’ law, that criminalises assistance for asylum seekers, infringes EU law, not least by restricting the right to international protection. (Euronews, 16 November 2021)

16 November: The Observatory (OMCT-FIDH) publishes ‘Europe: Open Season on Solidarity’ which documents patterns of criminalisation of solidarity and is based on 20 interviews with organisations and defenders in 11 European countries. Read the report here.


9 November: A mass deportation charter flight to Jamaica leaves with only four of the planned 50 deportees on board, as activists lock themselves to pipes at Gatwick’s removal centre and judges stop the removal of dozens including a number who have lived in the UK since infancy and five potential victims of trafficking. Others are taken off the flight because of a Covid outbreak at Colnbrook detention centre. (Guardian, 5 November; Independent, 4 November; Independent, 9 November 2021) 


4 November: A clause is added to the Nationality and Borders Bill to allow ministers to strip British citizens of citizenship without notice, on ‘public interest’ grounds. (Guardian, 17 November 2021)


3 November: In Belgium, three military barracks and the homes of ten soldiers are searched in connection with an investigation into suspected extreme-right links and connections with the ‘commission of a terrorism-related crime’. (Daily Sabah, 3 November 2021)

4 November: A report by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism documents how the US-inspired Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) advances an  anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-woman agenda in Eastern Europe, in part by building alliances with far-right groups and political leaders peddling white supremacist ideas. (GPAHE press release, 4 November 2021)

4 November: Ten years after the uncovering of the National Socialist Underground murders in Germany, Deutsche Welle draws attention to the decision of the state of Hesse’s governing Christian Democrats and Green coalition to block for 30 years the opening of domestic intelligence files relating to NSU crimes. (Deutsche Welle, 4 November 2021

8 November: A report by Belgian intelligence services leaked to the press states that the rise of the extreme Right constitutes ‘a serious threat to our institutions’. (Brussels Times, 8 November 2021)

8 November: Far-right Britain First activist James White, 31, is convicted in his absence of assaulting a security guard during one of 20 incursions into hotels housing asylum seekers in August last year together with the group’s leader Paul Golding. Coventry magistrates issue a warrant for White’s arrest. (Independent, 9 November 2021)

10 November: An undercover investigation by Byline Times reveals that military personnel and veterans in the UK and US are using far-right Telegram channels to recruit and spread their messages through the use of military tropes and racist language. (Byline Times, 10 November 2021)

11 November: The organisers of Poland’s annual national Independence Day march, which the government backed despite a previous court ban, dedicate the Warsaw parade to the uniformed ‘protectors of the border’. Demonstrators chant ‘Viva, viva border guard’ and ‘God, Honour, Homeland’, and some burn German and anti-fascist flags as anti-fascists attend a counter-march. In Kalisz, the mayor investigates hate crimes following a demonstration where protesters shout ‘Death to Jews’ and burn copies of the Statute of Kalisz, a 13th century document granting Jews legal protection. (Swissinfo, 11 November; Balkan Insight, 11 November; Notes from Poland, 11 November 2021)

11 November: Austrian police raid the home of a suspected neo-Nazi in Baden, near Vienna, seizing weapons including electric shock devices, machine guns, handguns, pipe bombs and other explosive material. (2KUTV, 11 November 2021)


29 October: An inquest into the restraint-related death of Abdul Hamid on 1 May 2020 in Coventry reaches a misadventure and drugs related verdict. The IOPC recommends gross misconduct proceedings be brought in relation to one officer’s use of force and failure to provide first aid. (Inquest Media Release, 4 November 2021)

3 November: In Germany, lawyers for the family of Oury Jalloh, who burned to death in a police cell in Dessau in 2005, announce a legal action against senior public prosecutors for obstructing justice following a press conference where a film is shown of an expert reconstruction of the circumstances that led to the death. (Deutsche Welle, 3 November 2021)

4 November: In a letter to black civil rights activists, the British Transport Police chief apologises for the actions of a corrupt former officer linked to the Oval 4 and the Stockwell Six miscarriage of justice cases involving young black people, promising also to set up a bursary for young black criminology and law students. (Guardian, 4 November 2021)

5 November: The Belgian police officer who, in May 2018, accidentally shot dead 2-year-old Mawda Shawri during a police pursuit of suspected people smugglers has his suspended sentence reduced on appeal. Justice4Mawda call for a parliamentary inquiry into the police operation that led to her death. (Guardian, 5 November 2021)

5 November: The police officer involved in the restraint of Abdul Hamid, who died following a car crash in Coventry in 2020, faces a gross misconduct hearing. (BBC News, 5 November 2021)

7 November: Following a FOI request from Freedom for Torture, the Home Office justifies its failure to release its annual stop and search data and refusal to publish the results of a public consultation on the New Plan for Immigration, on the grounds that the ‘balance of the public interest lies in…withholding the information’. (Guardian, 7 November 2021)

9 November: Unannounced inspections of Hull and Swinfen Hall prisons reveal the secret rollout across adult prisons of pepper spray (Pava), described by the Prison Reform Trust as ‘an extreme use of force’, during the pandemic, despite concerns of discrimination against BME prisoners expressed during a pilot and without the safeguards promised by the Justice Ministry. (Independent, 9 November 2021)

14 November: 49 criminology professors, doctors and educational groups sign an open letter criticising the ‘shaky evidence’ and ‘wild assumptions’ made in the Policy Exchange report Knife Crime in the Capital that links youth violence in London to drill music. (Independent, 14 November 2021)

15 November: Medact publishes ‘The Public Health Case against the Policing Bill’ which analyses attempts to use health language to ‘sell’ legislation and examines the disproportionate impact on racially minoritised groups. Read the report here.

15 November: After Indian national Arun Josè, becomes the fourteenth prisoner to commit suicide under the directorship of retired army general Alex Dalli at the Corradino Correctional Facility in Paola, Malta, an inquiry into the prison’s ‘systematic maladministration’ is opened. Dalli, currently suspended, is caught boasting to ministers that he uses a gun to enforce prisoner compliance, including placing a gun in the mouth. (Malta Today, 15 November 2021)

15 November: The Metropolitan police launch an inquiry after a 14-year-old black schoolboy who has never been convicted of any crime, and his mother, lodge a complaint of racial profiling, stating that the schoolboy is now fearful of leaving his home having been stopped and searched 30 times in the last two years. (Guardian, 15 November 2021)

16 November: The jury at the inquest into the fatal shooting of Trevor Smith by West Midlands firearms officers in March 2019 reaches a verdict of ‘lawful killing’, causing disappointment to his family who feel that the police operation should have been criticised. (Guardian, 16 November 2021)


9 November: Research by Crisis reveals that EEA nationals living in the UK are nearly three times more likely to experience rough sleeping than the general population. The disproportionate impact of job loss during the pandemic and rules limiting access and entitlement to housing and welfare support are cited as causes. (Guardian, 9 November 2021)


3 November: The Scottish Care Inspectorate upholds a complaint brought by health secretary Humza Yousaf against a Dundee nursery on the grounds that in refusing a place for his daughter it failed to ‘promote fairness, equality and respect’ in its applications process. (Guardian, 3 November 2021)

3 November: After a backlash from senior French politicians over secular values, the Council of Europe withdraws images from its social media Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination programme campaign promoting diversity among women and their freedom to wear the hijab. (Euronews, 3 November 2021)


5 November: The Ofsted chief inspector launches an investigation into the 27 per cent rise over the last four years in the number of primary-age children, some as young as 5, in alternative provision (totalling 7,000). A legal loophole means that some children are being placed in unregistered, unsafe settings, she says. The DfE disputes the figures. (Guardian, 5 November 2021)

11 November: Jewish students and alumni of LSE object to politicians’ and media characterisation of a protest against an event on campus involving Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely as antisemitic. In an open letter, they say protests against representatives of the Israeli state are not antisemitic and that significant parts of the Jewish community have protested against Hotovely since she was appointed ambassador last year. (Open letter, 11 November 2021)


See also Anti-Fascism and Far Right for information on far-right terrorist connections and extreme-right anti-terrorist investigations involving the military

3 November: In the coroner’s lessons to be learnt report into the Fishmonger Hall terrorist attack by Usman Khan which led to the deaths of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, the coroner lists 22 matters of concern arising from the collective failure by security services, police and probation officers. (Guardian, 3 November 2021)

15 November: The Home Secretary formally apologises to Salman Butt, chief editor of Islam21c website, after he is awarded compensation for being falsely described in a 2015 government press release as an extremist hate preacher.  The monitoring of Butt’s online activities by the Home Office’s Extremism Analysis Unit is now subject to a challenge at the European Court of Human Rights. (Guardian, 15 November 2021) 

15 November: Media reveal that the Greek national intelligence agency put the journalism outlet Solomon, which reports on refugee issues, under surveillance after it reported on the plight of a 12-year-old Syrian boy in detention. A government spokesperson describes Solomon as a threat to national security. (We Are Solomon, 15 November 2021)


4 November: The Reflecting Realities Survey from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education which monitors the diversity of the UK’s children’s books, finds that the proportion of  books featuring a minority ethnic character has almost quadrupled in the last four years, though say that ‘children of colour’ do not yet ‘have the same experience of literature as their white peers’. (Guardian, 4 November 2021) 

5 November: The Council of Europe’s ‘safety platform’ flags as potential state ‘harassment and intimidation’ two libel claims brought by the Italian prosecutor Calogero Ferrara against Guardian journalist Lorenzo Tondo for his reporting on the wrongful prosecution for human trafficking of Eritrean Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe. (Guardian, 5 November 2021.

5 November: Michael Vaughan, an expert analyst on Test Match Special for 12 years, has been stood down by the BBC from Radio 5 Live after two cricketers said they heard him make racist comments towards players of Asian descent while playing for Yorkshire in 2009. (Guardian, 5 November 2021)

8-16 November: Azeem Rafiq settles his employment tribunal case with Yorkshire for a six-figure payout, amid praise and an apology from Kamlesh Patel, the new chair of the club, for ‘lifting the lid’ on racism he encountered while a player at Headingley. In a 2-hour presentation, Rafiq tells a select committee of MPs how levels of inhuman racist abuse cost him his cricketing career and explains how English cricket is ‘institutionally racist’. (Guardian, 8 November; Guardian, 16 November 2021)

8 November: The National Gallery publishes research that finds at least 67 of its trustees and donors between 1824 and 1880 had links to the slave trade. A further 27 named people were associated with the abolitionist movement, and another 17 had links to both slavery and abolition – highlighting the many links between slave ownership, art collecting and philanthropy in 19th-century Britain. (Guardian, 8 November 2021)


4 November: A week after the Finnish government sets up a commission to examine the country’s treatment of the Sámi people, the Swedish government announces the formation of a special commission to examine the Swedish colonisation of Lapland and related historical injustice. (Euronews, 4 November 2021)


3 November: A man who live-streamed himself on Facebook racially abusing three England football players after the Euro 2020 final is jailed. (Guardian, 3 November 2021)

5 November: West Ham FC condemns video footage of their fans apparently singing an antisemitic song towards a Jewish man on a plane and vows to ban those involved from the club. (Guardian, 5 November 2021)

5 November: A neo-Nazi in Chudleigh, Devon is jailed for 6 months for battery and racially aggravated threatening behaviour after attacking two brothers in February because one had a black girlfriend. He is already serving a two-year sentence for spreading racial hatred via an extremist social media channel. (BBC News, 5 November 2021)

8 November: A takeaway owner alleges he was subject to several instances of racially aggravated assault in Ormesby, between 29 September and 10 October, as well as damage to his vehicle. (The Northern Echo, 8 November 2021)

11 November: In sentencing the murderer of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll to life imprisonment, a French court rules that the attack, which began as a robbery, was fuelled by stereotypes about Jewish wealth and a broader context of antisemitism. A second defendant was acquitted of murder but found guilty of theft with antisemitic motives. (Guardian, 11 November 2021)

16 November: Liverpool’s politicians and faith leaders call for unity and solidarity in the face of Islamophobic attacks following the fatal car bombing in the city on Sunday 14 November. (Guardian, 16 November 2021)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs. Thanks also to the ECRE, whose weekly bulletin on asylum and migration issues is an invaluable source of information.

Headline image: Demonstration by Free Humanitarians in support of Seán Binder, Sarah Mardini and 22 others. Credit: Fellipe Lopes

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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