Calendar of racism and resistance (8 – 21 May 2015)

Calendar of racism and resistance (8 – 21 May 2015)


Written by: IRR News Team

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

Policing and criminal justice

8 May: A mental health trust and the Metropolitan Police are accused of trying to cover up alleged racism towards patients during a night in 2012 when 48 officers – some in riot gear – were deployed to deal with disturbances at Bethlem Royal Hospital, in a ward of vulnerable adults. (Independent8 May 2015)

Habib_Ullah12 May: The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announces that five Thames Valley police officers, who were involved in the death of Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah in 2008, will have disciplinary hearings in public. (Slough & Bucks Express, 12 May 2015)

11 May: Two Met policemen are sacked for a ‘gratuitous’ assault, in 2009, on Iranian and Pakistani car chase suspects after the men claimed they were kicked in the head and told they would go ‘one-to-one’ with a dog. (, 11 May 2015)

13 May: The French human rights ombudsman says he will investigate the police after a video is released purporting to show officers in Calais using violence against migrants as they attempt to board lorries headed for the UK. (Independent13 May 2015)

13 May: The president of the National Black Police Association accuses Cleveland Police of ‘watering down’ a damning report probing institutional racism in the force. (Darlington and Stockton Times13 May 2015)

15 May: An inquest jury finds that Kingsley Burrell, who was detained under the Mental Health Act in Birmingham in 2011, died as a result of neglect by police officers and ambulance staff who forcibly restrained him and left him handcuffed for hours on a hospital floor. (Guardian, 15 May 2015)

17 May: A report claims that a police chief tried to mobilise his force’s top anti-terrorism officer and senior criminal justice figures in an attempt to undermine damning research into the extensive use of stop and search in Scotland. (Sunday Herald17 May 2015)

18 May: Two police officers are cleared of charges in their involvement in the deaths of Zyed Benna (17) and Bouna Traoré (15), who died in 2005 in Clichy-sous-Bois, France, after they were chased by police officers, hid in an electricity substation, and were hit by tens of thousands of volts of electricity. (Le Monde, 18 May 2015)

20 May: Tesfa Hughes, a 26-year-old man from Leeds, dies in a traffic accident after being pursued by police car on Wednesday 20 May. The case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 20 May 2015)

20 May: A HMIP inspection of Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre carried out in February 2015 finds ‘several serious incidents of unacceptable staff behaviour’ including ‘poor application of restraint … and racism’. (Download the report here)

21 May: Jeremiah Duggan, who was found on a German motorway in 2003, did not kill himself, a coroner rules. He also says that Duggan’s revelations to members of a far-right organisation he was a British Jew ‘may have had a bearing on his death’. (BBC News, 21 May 2015)

Asylum and immigration

8 May: The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) calls for a review into the practice of indefinite detention at Dungavel immigration removal centre. (Scottish Legal News, 8 May 2015)

Theresa May11 May: Home secretary Theresa May says that the UK government refuses to take part in an EU quota system to relocate asylum seekers who make it across the Mediterranean or to resettle refugees from outside Europe. (Guardian11 May 2015)

12 May: In Padua, the Northern League launches a petition against a woman who had allowed six migrants to live in a property she was renting free of charge. Three thousand people immediately sign the petition with NL mayor Massimo Bitonci commenting that ‘there is no guarantee that they are not terrorists’ and that the ‘hosting of illegal immigrants in private homes is the wrong choice’. (The Local, 12 May 2015)

18 May: Migrants who have permission to be in the UK are avoiding seeking vital medical treatment for fear of being arrested, Doctors of the World warns. (Independent18 May 2015)

18 May: EU defence and foreign ministers agree a military mission to destroy boats used by people smugglers in the Mediterranean, which ECRE says will cause more deaths: ‘the solution to smuggling is to create safe legal channels for migration’. Italian coastguard urge the EU to focus on search and rescue. (Guardian, 18 May 2015)

18 May: Prosecutors in Hanover, Germany investigate a police officer for the abuse of at least two refugees from Afghanistan and Morocco, choking one refugee and dragging him with his feet shackled across his cell, and force-feeding the other man rotten pork. The police officer sent messages to friends bragging of the abuse. (The Local, 18 May 2015)

19 May: Failings at Morton Hall immigration removal centre may have played a part in Rubel Ahmed’s death in 2014, an inquest jury finds. (Lincolnshire Echo19 May 2015)

19 May: No Borders migrant solidarity protesters perform a bodybag die-in at the exit gates of the Eurostar in London St Pancras station, to highlight the deaths of 20,000 refugees. (Guardian19 May 2015)  

20 May: Hundreds of people from across the country sign up to take part in a demonstration organised by Women for Refugee Women on 6 June, calling for an end to detention at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre.  (Bedford Today, 20 May 2015)

20 May: Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi accuses the rest of Europe of trying to ignore the Mediterranean migrant crisis, after several states rule out quotas for taking in asylum seekers. (BBC News, 20 May 2015)

21 May: David Cameron announces that the Immigration Bill in next week’s Queen’s Speech will include proposals to confiscate the wages of undocumented workers and create a new criminal offence of ‘illegal working’. (Independent, 21 May 2015)

Extreme-right politics

9 May: At a Britain First demonstration in Dudley, Paul Golding is reported to the police after saying he is prepared to go to prison for burying pigs’ heads on a mosque construction site in the town. (Birmingham Mail9 May 2015)

11 May: Mark Colborne, 37, who allegedly plotted a ‘mass cyanide’ attack, denies preparing terrorist acts at the Old Bailey. Colborne compared himself to Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik, and the court is told of ‘his racial hatred for those who are non-Aryans’. (BBC News, 11 May 2015)

14 May: Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism announces that it will hold a counter-demonstration when the EDL marches through the city in July to protest against the building of the city’s first mosque. (Lincolnite14 May 2015) 

17 May: Four thousand people march in Stuttgart against PEGIDA. (Deutsche Welle, 17 May 2015)

Party politics

Nigel Farage11 May: Nigel Farage remains leader of UKIP after the party’s national executive committee rejected his resignation, claiming that UKIP members ‘did not want Nigel to go’, the party says in a statement. (New Statesman11 May 2015)

15 May: The UMP mayor of Venelles in southern France, Robert Chardon, is suspended from the party after calling for Islam to be banned, saying that anyone found practicing the religion should be ‘escorted to the border’. A process to expel him from the party has been initiated. (Independent, 17 May 2015)

Violence and harassment

8 May: The Municipal Court of Budapest upholds the life sentences of three men for a racially-motivated killing spree in 2008-9 which left six Roma people – including a child – dead and five others seriously injured. A fourth man’s thirteen year sentence was also confirmed. (Hungary Today, 6 May 2015) 

12 May: Two men from eastern Europe are badly hurt in a racist attack in Belfast. One man suffers facial injuries and the other is treated for a cut on his hand. (UTV, 12 May 2015)

14 May: A man in South Yorkshire is given a fourteen-month prison sentence for an incident last year during which he racially abused an elderly woman, saying she ‘shouldn’t be in this country’, and then assaulted her carer. (Star, 14 May 2015)

16 May: The municipality of Wattrelos in France will build a two-metre high wall along the border of the town of Mouscron in order to prevent Roma travellers from entering the town. (Radio Télévision Belge Francophone, 16 May 2015)

coronet18 May: A group of Irish Travellers who were refused entry to a north London Wetherspoon pub in 2011 were discriminated against, a court rules, leading their lawyer to say a ‘bastion of “acceptable racism” has come crashing down’. (This is local London, 18 May 2015)


12 May: Reverend Robert West, who stood for the British National Party in the Boston and Skegness parliamentary elections, is banned from teaching after a tribunal finds that in 2013 he told pupils he was ‘allergic to Mohammedans’, that Muslims ‘worship the devil’ and that there was a problem with people being Muslim ‘because we are fighting them’. (Lincolnshire Echo, 12 May 2015)

19 May: A survey of 6,000 schoolchildren finds widespread misconceptions about the number of immigrants and non-white people living in England, as well as negative attitudes towards Muslims and those born overseas. (Guardian19 May 2015)


yaya-toure12 May: As FIFA announces that match observers will monitor discrimination at ‘high risk’ football matches at the 2018 World Cup, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré calls for ‘radical sanctions’, saying that racist abuse can ‘break’ players. (BBC News, 12 May 2015)

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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