Calendar of racism and resistance (6 – 26 May 2016)

Calendar of racism and resistance (6 – 26 May 2016)


Written by: IRR News Team

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

Asylum & migration

9 May: A 26-year-old Syrian refugee is shot in the kidney and wounded by Slovakian border guards on the border between Slovakia and Hungary, near the town of Velky Meder. The woman is in a stable condition after being operated on in hospital. Border guards arrest eleven refugees and six alleged smugglers. (Independent, 9 May 2016) 

ImmAct201612 May: The Immigration Act 2016 receives royal assent and becomes law. (UK Parliament, 12 May 2016)

12 May: The Office for National Statistics finds that despite speculation from right-wing media, there are not ‘millions of long-term migrants that have gone missing’ in the UK. (Guardian, 12 May 2016)

17 May: The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants condemns the EU and member states for abandoning Greece, as the European Commission reveals that only 1,500 refugees have been relocated (fewer than a thousand from Greece) since September 2015 under the EU’s programme to take 160,000. (Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, 17 May 2016; European Commission, 20 May 2016)

17 May: The Home Office issues instructions requiring detention centre managers to allow immigration detainees access to the internet, but Facebook and Twitter are to remain banned. (The Register, 17 May 2016) 

19 May: The European Court of Human Rights rules unlawful the lengthy immigration detention of an Iranian offender in the UK and awards him €7,500. (ECtHR, 19 May 2016)

20 May: A Greek immigration tribunal rules that Turkey is not safe for Syrian refugees, calling into question the EU-Turkey agreement which is based on returns to Turkey. (Guardian, 20 May 2016)

20 May: The Refugee Council publishes a report revealing that those granted refugee status after making their own way to the UK are offered no help (in contrast with those resettled under government programmes), and are frequently left destitute, since the abolition of an integration scheme in 2011. Read the report here

Harmondsworth23 May: The Independent Monitoring Board is highly critical of the Heathrow Immigration Removal Centres (formerly Harmondsworth and Colnbrook IRCs), particularly for their treatment of vulnerable detainees and for the ban on detainees using Facebook and Skype. (Free Movement, 23 May 2016)

A red doored house used to house asylum seekers in the Gresham area of Middlesbrough (© John Grayson)
A red doored house used to house asylum seekers in the Gresham area of Middlesbrough (© John Grayson)

23 May: It is revealed that asylum seekers targeted because they had been housed in properties with red doors in the north east are still being targeted despite assurances that the doors would be repainted. (Open Democracy, 23 May 2016)

24 May: Hundreds of Greek riot police begin clearing the informal refugee camp at Idomeni, near the Macedonian border, with bulldozers destroying tents and residents being moved to government-run camps. (Guardian, 24 May 2016)

26 May: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a: Report on an unannounced inspection of the short-term holding facility at Pennine House Manchester Airport. Download the report here.

26 May: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a: Report on an unannounced inspection of the short-term holding facility at Manchester Airport. Download the report here.

Policing & criminal justice

OlaseniLewis5 May: The coroner presiding over the inquest into the death of Olaseni Lewis, who died in Bethlem Hospital after being restrained by eleven police officers in 2010, raises concerns about the impartiality and openness of hospital staff whose legal costs are being paid by the local health trust. (Croydon Advertiser, 5 May 2016)

10 May: The inquest into the death of Istiak Yusuf, who died of a drugs overdose in a cell in Luton police station in June 2015, finds that he would still have been alive had it not been for ‘clear errors and omissions’ by the police. (Luton on Sunday, 10 May 2016)Istiak Yusuf

17 May: The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman publishes Issue 7 of its Learning lessons bulletin: ‘Use of force – further lessons’. Download the report here

23 May: The Prison Reform Trust publishes a report of an independent review chaired by Lord Laming: In Care, Out of Trouble: How the life chances of children in care can be transformed by protecting them from unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system. Download the report here.

Violence & harassment

5 May: In the southern Bulgarian town of Radnevo, around 2,000 people join an anti-Roma rally. Protesters clash with police as they attempt to march into the cordoned-off Roma neighbourhood of Kantona. (Balkan Insight, 5 May 2016)

11 May: Two men who pursued and beat Tonderai Msonza as he walked along a towpath in Lisburn in June 2014, in an unprovoked racist attack, are given prison sentences after pleading guilty to charges of behaviour intending or likely to stir up hatred, threats to kill and assault. (Lisburn Today, 11 May 2016)

12 May: The Police Service of Northern Ireland publishes: ‘Hate incidents and crimes in Northern Ireland, period ending 31 March 2016’. Download the statistics here

18 May: Fourteen headstones are vandalised at a Jewish cemetery in Charlestown, Manchester, in an attack which is recorded by the police as a hate crime. (Guardian, 19 May 2016)

18 May: A 53-year-old man suffers a broken leg in an attack on a bus in Shooters Hill, south London, following racial abuse by two men and a woman. (Evening Standard, 20 May 2016)

Image of car police wish to trace in connection with arson in Muswell Hill
Image of car police wish to trace in connection with arson in Muswell Hill

20 May: Three years on, police appeal for information and offer a £5,000 reward for information on a 2013 arson attack which resulted in a Somali community centre in Muswell Hill being destroyed. The attack is being treated as a hate crime. (North London Today, 21 May 2016)

23 May: John Montgomery, 59, is convicted of incitement to racial hatred after inciting a crowd of ten people to racially abuse two Pakistani men whose Belfast home had been attacked in June 2014. (Irish Times, 23 May 2016)

Far Right

7 May: An anti-Islam rally organised by the Casual Infidels draws just 20 protesters in Burton, Staffordshire. (Burton Mail, 8 May 2016)

10 May: Four men, who were stopped from travelling to a Britain First demonstration in Dewsbury, are fined for racist comments made on a train between Leeds and Barnsley as they were escorted home by police officers. (Star, 11 May 2016)

21 May: Britain First members have to be escorted from Leicester after setting up an anti-EU stall and being inundated with counter protestors. (Russia Today, 22 May 2016)

24 May: Four men and a woman are arrested for conspiracy to commit violent disorder following a demonstration by the North West Infidels in Liverpool city centre on 27 February. (Liverpool Echo, 24 May 2016)

Party Politics

5 May: Plymouth Independent founder, Jason Shopland, retires from politics after being suspended from his party for allegedly making racist comments on social media. (Plymouth Herald, 5 May 2016)

5 May: A Cambridge Tory councillor and the local Policing and Crime Commissioner candidate are criticised over derogatory comments made on social media about the Traveller community and asylum seekers. (Morning Star, 5 May 2016)

10 May: Austrian Social Democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann resigns after losing the support of his party over the refugee crisis. He is accused of caving in to the extreme-Right Freedom Party’s demands for militarised borders. (Guardian, 10 May 2016)

23 May: Austria’s presidential election sees Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Green party leader running as an independent, beat the extreme-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer with a very narrow margin. (Guardian, 23 May 2016)


17 May: Dagmara Przybysz, a 16-year-old Polish schoolgirl, is found dead at her school in Cornwall in what is believed to be a suicide. It is reported that she had made allegations, two years ago, on the website that her school was racist. (Torquay Herald, 18 May 2016)


23 May: Following complaints the Daily Mail corrects an article which claimed that EU migrants were convicted of 700 crimes a week. (Guardian, 23 May 2016)

National security

20 May: A police study suggests that between half and two-thirds of those referred to Channel, a government anti-terrorism prevention programme, may have mental health problems. (Guardian, 21 May 2016)


6 May: After a teenage Muslim girl is excluded from a school on the outskirts of Paris for wearing a long skirt, CCIF reports that 177 students were excluded in 2015 for wearing clothes deemed too openly religious. (The Local, 6 May 2016)

6 May: CCIF reveals that at least fifteen people have been refused medical treatment in France in the past eleven months because they are Muslims. (CCIF, 6 May 2016)


4 May: The Guardian reports on a gap in the law which allows employment agencies to house migrant workers in sub-standard housing. (Guardian, 4 May 2016) 


10 May: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launches a consultation to understand the obstacles faced in the labour market by the BME community. View details here.

Government policy

4 May: The Polish government dissolves a state body which has a remit to combat racism. (Al Arabiya, 5 May 2016)

18 May: The government sets out plans to consult on a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act, to ensure migrants pay for NHS care, and to counter extremism, including ASBO-like orders and intervening where local authorities fail to tackle extremism in unregulated religious schools. (Guardian, 18 May 2016)

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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