Calendar of Racism and Resistance (4 – 18 July 2023)


Calendar of Racism and Resistance (4 – 18 July 2023)

News

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 | MIGRATION | BORDERS | CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights

9 July: Research funded and supervised by the UNESCO chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts finds a lack of training and guidance for interpreters, leading to errors and miscommunication in asylum interviews. (National, 9 June 2023)  

13 July: Prime minister Rishi Sunak announces a massive increase in fees for migrant visa applications and the immigration health surcharge to fund part of the public sector pay awards, a move condemned as divisive by unions, employers, charities and politicians. (ITV News, 13 July 2023; Free Movement,13 July 2023; Observer, 16 July 2023) 

17 July: A new research report by NACCOM describes the impact of a negative decision on asylum seekers’ physical and mental state, and the systemic and practical barriers faced in challenging refusal and resolving status. (NACCOM, 17 July 2023) 

17 July: As the Illegal Migration Bill is passed by both Houses of Parliament, the UN’s refugee agency and its human rights office issue a joint statement condemning it and warning of profound consequences for the global system of refugee protection. (Guardian, 18 July 2023; UNHCR, 18 July 2023)   

Borders and internal controls 

10 July: An investigation by the Guardian and media partners into the worst migrant shipwreck in recent times, drawing on interviews with survivors, court documents and coastguard sources, and using hi-tech reconstruction techniques, suggests that attempts by the Greek coastguard to tow the vessel had ultimately caused the sinking. Five hundred people are still missing. (Guardian, 10 July 2023) 

10 July: Statewatch publishes a report on Europe’s ‘techno-borders’, the infrastructure of surveillance systems, databases, biometric identification techniques and information networks established in the last three decades. (Statewatch, 10 July 2023)

13 July: According to Unicef, a total of 11,600 children have taken the Central Mediterranean migration route so far this year, with eleven children dying each week, the majority alone or separated from parents. (Unicef, 13 July 2023) 

13 July: A Polish far-right politician subjected to an exclusion order managed to sneak into the UK, leading to embarrassment for the government. Janusz Korwin-Mikke, co-founder of the Confederation party, attended a ‘freedom picnic’ in Bury, Greater Manchester, by flying to Dublin and then travelling to the UK by boat. (Vice, 13 July 2023) 

16 July: Muhammad Rabbani, international director of the British NGO Cage, is stopped attempting to enter France, accused of spreading conspiracy theories about ‘Islamophobic persecution’, subjected to a travel ban and detained for 24 hours before being sent back to the UK. (Guardian 16 July 2023) 

16 July: The EU finalises a deal with Tunisia to ‘combat irregular migration’, paying over €100 million for cooperation in border management and another €75 million in education funding, as part of efforts to secure Tunisia as a ‘safe third country’ for the return of asylum seekers. (Al Jazeera, 16 July 2023) 

17 July: Tunisian authorities announce that the country’s pact with the EU will not enable it to be used as a ‘reception centre’ for returning Sub-Saharan migrants from Italy or any other country in Europe. (Guardian, 17 July 2023)  

Reception and detention 

 4 July: It emerges that in April, the immigration minister ordered staff at the Kent intake unit for child asylum seekers and at Manston detention centre’s family unit to paint over child-friendly, welcoming Mickey Mouse and Jungle Book murals to emphasise a ‘law enforcement environment’.  (Independent, 4 July 2023; Guardian, 7 July 2023; Guardian,12 July 2023

4 July: As the August deadline approaches for Afghan refugees facing eviction from Home Office hotels, the Local Government Association warns that the time frame is too short given that councils are struggling to offer alternative accommodation amid a national housing shortage. (Independent, 4 July 2023) 

12 July: 46 asylum seekers arrive at Wethersfield Airfield in Essex as the high court grants three councils and a local resident permission to launch a full legal challenge against government plans to use Wethersfield, RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and a former prison in Sussex to house male asylum seekers. (Independent, 12 July 2023; inews, 14 July 2023)  

18 July: Protesters, both those supporting refugees and those opposing them, greet the barge Bibby Stockholm’s arrival in Portland harbour, Dorset, where it will house 500 asylum seekers. (Guardian, 18 July 2023; BBC News, 18 July 2023) 

Deportations 

13 July: The court of appeal grants home secretary Suella Braverman permission to appeal to the supreme court against its ruling that the Rwanda deal is unlawful. (Independent, 13 July 2023) 

ELECTORAL POLITICS | GOVERNMENT POLICY

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

7 July: The Dutch government collapses after four parties in the governing coalition disagree with the prime minister’s proposals to limit the number of asylum-seekers, largely by making it harder for the children of war refugees already in the country to be reunited with their families. (Guardian, 7 July 2023) 

10 July: Louis Aliot, the far-right Rassemblement National mayor of Perpignan, southern France, accuses the government of spending too much money on the ‘banlieues’ and neglecting rural areas, as his party attacks any response to the ‘riots’ involving a ‘plan banlieues’. (Le Monde, 10 July 2023) 

11 July: The Finnish coalition government is thrown into a fresh crisis after its far-right finance minister Rikka Purra, leader of the Finns Party, is linked to racial slurs including the use of the N-word, and threats of violence made on social media in 2008. She refuses to resign but apologises for past ‘stupid’ comments. (Guardian, 11 July 2023)  

14 July: The Hungarian government levies a large consumer protection fine against a Budapest bookstore for displaying the award-winning young adult graphic novel Heartstopper, an LGBTQ coming-of-age story. (Euronews, 14 July 2023)   

16 July: The Polish justice minister is criticised for freeing from prison Marika Matuszak, who received a three-year sentence for disrupting an LGBT march alongside three men, leaving one person injured. Conservative legal group Ordo Iuris campaigns for a presidential pardon. Some sources link Matuszak to the National Purification Front. (Notes from Poland, 16 July 2023) 

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

With anti-migrant, anti-Muslim, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, we now incorporate information on the Christian Right as well as the religious Right generally.

7 July: Neo-Nazis Christopher Gibbons and Tyrone Patten-Walsh are found guilty of terrorism offences in relation to the ‘Black Wolf Radio’ online chat, in which they called for violence against ethnic minorities and demanded that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s son Archie be ‘put down’. (Mirror, 7 July 2023) 

10 July: The director-general of internal security in France warns of a ‘very worrying resurgence’ of violent ultra-right activity’, pointing to attacks on the mayors of Saint-Brevin-les Pins, who resigned after his home was burnt down, and Callac, where the far Right have mobilised against asylum centres. (Euronews, 10 July 2023) 

11 July: White supremacist Luke Skelton is jailed for four years for plotting to blow up a police station in Newcastle. (ITV, 11 July 2023)  

POLICING | PRISONS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

5 July: In a landmark decision, the supreme court dismisses the appeal of CO19 firearms officer W80, who shot dead Jermaine Baker in Wood Green in 2015. The ruling that the civil law test on the use of force applies to police conduct decisions paves the way for a gross misconduct hearing. (Inquest, 5 July 2023) 

5 July: Errol Dixon, a 71-year-old black man, wins a judicial review against the IOPC, which had ruled that the officer who caused multiple injuries by punching him in the face during a traffic stop in September 2021 in Bromley, south-east London, had no case to answer as he acted in self-defence. (Guardian, 5 July 2023) 

5 July: Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley confirms that the force’s uniform policy does not permit the thin blue line badge which, because it is used by far-right groups in the US, is ‘tricky territory’ and ‘contentious’. (BBC News, 5 July 2023)  

7 July: HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Services finds failures in implementing stop and search in two-thirds of England and Wales’ 43 police forces. Separate data analysed by Politics Home finds that every force in the country has increased its use of stop and search. (PoliticsHome, 7 July 2023)  

9 July: In Larissa, Greece, a 20-year-old Syrian man is shot dead by police following a car chase that ended with pursuit on foot. Police initially issue information suggesting the dead man was Pakistani and recently released from prison for human trafficking. The officer firing the fatal shot claims that he stumbled and the gun fired itself. (Ethnos, 7 July 2023; Keep Talking Greece, 9 July 2023)   

16 July: A media analysis finds that South Yorkshire police are twice as likely to stop and search a black person than someone from another ethnic minority. White people are the least likely to be stopped, despite representing the vast majority of the population. (Sheffield Star, 16 July 2023) 

Crime, punishment and the French ‘riots’  

5 July: Lawyers for the family of Nahel Mazouk launch a complaint of organised gang fraud and misuse of personal data against far-right commentator Jean Messiha, who set up a crowdfunder for the officer charged with the teenager’s death. Two politicians make separate complaints of incitement to hatred and fraud to the Paris prosecutor. Though GoFundMe refuses to take action, Messiha eventually shuts the crowdfunder down. (Euronews, 4 July 2023; Euronews, 5 July 2023) 

5 July: The Marseille public prosecutor opens a judicial investigation into ‘violence in an encounter by a person holding public authority’ after Hedi, a 22-year-old catering manager was shot in the temple by a flash-ball, then allegedly beaten and kicked by BAC (elite unit) officers and left for dead in the early hours of 1 July. Hedi was in a coma for days with serious head injuries. (La Provence, 10 July 2023)

Placards at Justice Pour Nahel vigil outside the French Embassy, 14 July 2023. © Credit: @elaineaemmottphotography

5 July: In Mont-Saint-Martin, France, an internal investigation into ‘wilful violence by a person holding public authority’ is launched after a 25-year-old security guard named as Aimène was shot in the temple during a police search of the car he was travelling in on the periphery of disorder in the city during the night of 29-30 June. Aimène remains in a coma.  (France Info, 5 July 2023)

5 July: As the French Ministry of the Interior confirms that around 60% of those arrested in ‘riots’ had no previous criminal record, defence lawyers complain of ‘zero rights’ for protesters. 480 ‘riot’ cases have been fast-tracked through the system, with defence lawyers given just 30 minutes to prepare and some courts putting in place hotlines dedicated to ‘riot’ cases and weekend working hours. French prisons are already over capacity by 73,699 inmates. (Financial Times, 5 July 2023; New York Times, 4 July 2023) 

6 July: The Forfusco navy unit based in Lorient, France, comprising marine riflemen and special forces commandos, opens an investigation into claims that masked off-duty marines, posing as ‘anti-rioters’, beat up ‘suspected troublemakers’ during national unrest. (Guardian, 6 July 2023) 

9 July: The seventh annual commemoration of the death in police custody of Adama Traoré goes ahead in Paris, France, despite a ban issued by the police prefect of Val-d’Oise in light of the violence following the death of Nahel Merzouk. Lawyers for Adama’s brother Yssoufou, who was hospitalised after a ‘forceful arrest’ by police and charged with ‘violence against a public official’, lodge a complaint against members of the BRAV-M police unit for ‘aggravated voluntary violence’. (Guardian, 7 July 2023; Le Monde, 10 July 2023) 

The family of Chris Kaba spoke at the vigil for Nahel Mazouk, as reflected in the placards left on the steps of the French Embassy. A vigil was also held outside the French Embassy in Athens.

13 July: The 1,635,680 euros raised in France through a GoFundMe campaign in support of the police officer who killed Nahel Mazouk is paid to his family, with GoFundMe justifying their action as to support the family. Attempts continue to have the kitty ruled unlawful. (Huffington Post, 15 July 2023) 

COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY

14 July: A federal court jury in the US finds Nizar Trabelsi not guilty of plotting with Al Qaeda to attack the Kleine-Brogel Air Base, Belgium, where US military staff are stationed. Trabelsi was convicted of the charges in Belgium in 2003 and served a 10-year sentence before being extradited to the US in violation of a European Court of Human Rights ruling. (NBC News, 14 July 2023) 

15 July: Two teachers at a school in Burg, Brandenburg, eastern Germany, who reported far-right incidents at their school, including Hitler salutes, continue to face further individualised threats and have been banned by the local authority from talking about the cases, it is reported. (Deutsche Welle, 15 July 2023) 

EDUCATION 

17 July: The government gives the Office for Students power to restrict student numbers on ‘rip-off’ degree courses with high drop-out rates and low-earning job prospects, a measure educationalists fear will disproportionately affect minority students. (Department for Education, 17 July 2023)  

HOUSING | POVERTY | WELFARE

5 July: An investigation carried out by Open Democracy shows that ‘rental guarantee’ insurance policies are driving landlords to discriminate against low-income renters in a shift that puts queer, racialised and disabled people, women and ‘institution leavers’ at disproportionate risk of eviction and homelessness. (openDemocracy, 5 July 2023)  

10 July: According to Eurostat, 95.3 million people in the EU, or 21.6% of the total population, risked poverty or social exclusion in 2022. (Euronews, 10 July 2023) 

14 July: An Office for National Statistics survey into the cost of living crisis finds that about half of Asian or British Asian adults, and 47% of black, African, Caribbean or black British adults were finding it difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments, compared with 33% of white adults. (Guardian, 14 July 2023) 

EMPLOYMENT | EXPLOITATION | INDUSTRIAL ACTION

9 July: Unison warns the social care minister of a ‘significant rise in reports of unacceptable treatment by unscrupulous employers toward workers from overseas’ in the care sector. (Morning Star, 9 July 2023) 

18 July: A BBC investigation into over 100 allegations of workplace abuse from current and recent McDonalds employees details 78 reports of sexual harassment, 31 of sexual assault, 18 of racism and six of homophobia, with teenage staff often being targets. (BBC News, 18 July 2023)  

CULTURE | MEDIA | SPORT

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.

8 July: Czech media are accused of fuelling tensions between Roma and Ukranian refugees by reporting the killing of a young Roma man in Brno and other violent incidents in ways that blame all Ukrainians for the crimes of individuals, as the far Right exploits division in a bid to halt the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. (Euronews, July 2023) 

11 July: Czech police arrest a man who allegedly spread false rumours on social media that a Romani boy had been stabbed by a Ukrainian. (Romea, 11 July 2023) 

12 July: British charity Lankelly Chase, with an endowment fortune of £130m, announces it is to abolish itself after concluding that traditional philanthropy is a ‘function of colonial capitalism’. (Guardian, 11 July 2023) 

18 July: Italian prosecutors open an investigation into Placebo singer Brian Molko after the singer called prime minister Giorgia Meloni a ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ during a festival in Turin. (Guardian, 18 July 2023). 

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT 

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

7 July: Jamie Barrow receives a life sentence for the 2022 murder of Fatoumatta Hydara and her daughters, aged one and three, in Nottingham, by pouring petrol through their letterbox and set it on fire. Prosecutors say the motive may never be known, but police, who initially investigated the case as a hate crime, called on Barrow to be truthful about his motives. (Guardian, 7 July 2023) 

8 July: Czech police are accused of turning a blind eye and failing to arrest a man in Prague who gave a Nazi salute and assaulted a Ukrainian taxi driver while shouting ‘death to Ukraine’. (Romea, 8 July 2023)  

11 July: Supporters gather in Athens, Greece, to protest the murder of the black Cuban trans woman Anna Hernández, a well-known activist who was stabbed to death on 3 July. Police and press continue to misgender her and the perpetrator of her murder is still at large. (El Pais, 11 July 2023) 

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

 


At a vigil for Nahel Mazouk at the French Embassy on Bastille Day (14 July) Marcia Rigg responds to a request by  French Embassy staff  for all placards to be removed from Embassy property, by occupying the steps. Credit: justice_pournahel


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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