Calendar of Racism and Resistance (8 – 22 September 2021)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance (8 – 22 September 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

8 September: An open letter to European MEPs from NGOs says that a draft resolution to expand Eurodac, to include fingerprints, facial images, passport or ID card details, including of children as young as 6, amounts to a ‘powerful tool of mass surveillance’, and a threat to the digital rights of migrants. (Guardian, 8 September 2021)

9 September: The independent anti-slavery commissioner warns the home secretary that proposed immigration reforms would make the identification of victims of modern slavery harder and create more additional vulnerabilities. (Independent, 9 September 2021)

9 September: A coroner concludes that a 19-year-old Afghan asylum seeker killed himself over fears he would be deported from the UK, after his 18th birthday. (Evening Standard, 9 September 2021)

12 September: Ministers are pressured to fast-track more than 3,000 Afghan asylum cases, of people already left in limbo for months or years, unable to work. (i News, 12 September 2021)

15 September: The Swiss Senate agrees to new legislation allowing authorities to use electronic data from mobile phones, tablets, computers and USB sticks to establish the identity of asylum seekers. (Swissinfo, 15 September 2021)

18 September: After an asylum seeker who suffered a stroke is ordered to pay £100,000 for emergency treatment, campaigners deliver a petition with 75,000 signatures to Sheffield Hallamshire hospital calling for an end to the charging of migrants for NHS treatment as part of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policies. (Guardian, 18 September 2021)

20 September: The Dutch Government opposes any new EU framework for voluntary returns of rejected asylum seekers for fear that it would ‘possibly provide more rights’. (EU Observer, 20 September 2021)

21 September: An immigration judge rules that a severely depressed asylum seeker stranded in a Greek refugee camp must be transferred to the UK to be reunited with his brother, overturning the Home Office’s earlier rejection of the reunion application. (Independent, 21 September 2021)

21 September: Two victims of the Windrush scandal launch a legal case against the Home Office over delays in issuing compensation, arguing that the stress of being wrongly classified as ‘illegal immigrants’ has triggered health problems. Their judicial review calls on the Home Office to publish guidance on its expedition process for claims under the Windrush compensation scheme. (Guardian, 21 September 2021)

Afghanistan crisis

14 September: Afghan refugees say they feel like ‘prisoners’ in quarantine hotels, as they are not told what will happen to them and conditions include bad food, tight security and limited access to fresh air and hygiene facilities. (The New Arab, 14 September 2021)

14 September: Sheffield’s council housing chief states that hotels are inappropriate for housing refugees, despite the Home Office’s insistence that Afghan refugees must complete their quarantine period in hotels. (The Star, 14 September 2021)

Borders and internal controls

9 September: The Border Force is being trained on ‘turn-around’ tactics to send boats carrying migrants back across the Channel, despite warnings from French authorities that this could endanger lives. (Guardian, 9 September 2021)

11 September: Ministers insist the UK would not infringe international law in use of turn-around tactics against arrivals across the Channel. (Evening Standard, 11 September 2021)

12 September: In Almeria, Spain, a 15-year-old migrant who was attempting to get to Spain by boat dies of injuries incurred after he fell from a cliff. (El Pais, 12 September 2021)

14 September: In the context of the Polish state of emergency, journalists  issue a statement describing the ban on the media from reporting from the entire length of the Polish-Belarusian border as unlawful obstruction of their work and an attack on the constitutional right to information.(Wyborcza, 14 September 2021)

15 September: According to the Daily Mail the Home Office is offering, as part of its deal to crackdown on Channel crossings, to help fund asylum reception centres in France, which would provide accommodation, medical aid and application advice. (Daily Mail, 15 September 2021)

17 September: In an equality impact assessment of its new immigration plans, the Home Office admits that there is only ‘limited’ evidence that ‘increased security and deterrence’ measures will reduce Channel crossings. It also states that the proposals carry ‘significant scope for indirect discrimination’ and ‘potential for direct racial discrimination’, but says this would be ‘justified’. (, 16 September 2021; Independent, 17 September 2021)

20 September: Three men are found dead within Poland close to the border with Belarus.  On the Belarus side of the border a 39-year-old Iraqi woman, who was allegedly pushed back from Poland, was found dead with her family, including three children. (Balkan Insight, 20 September 2021)

Reception and detention  

4 September: Over 1,000 displaced migrants occupying André-Citroën Park in the south of Paris, France, are, after protesting at their situation, relocated by the authorities. However, NGOs say that some were not re-housed but placed in detention. (InfoMigrants, 6 September; Liberation, 8 September 2021)

7 September: The Home Office confirms that Napier Barracks is being treated as a pilot for plans to open mass reception centres for asylum seekers, and the former army base will be used until at least 2025 and may influence plans to open reception centres for up to 8,000 refugees. (Morning Star, 7 September 2021)

8 September: Detention Action launches a legal challenge against the Home Office and Kent County Council over the treatment of children arriving in the UK because hundreds are being held in unregulated hotel accommodation, with ‘grave consequences’, as they are detained without support. (Independent, 8 September 2021)

16 September: Cross-party local council leaders launch legal action against the Home Office over its asylum dispersal system. Local authorities in the West Midlands accuse the Home Office of an ‘irrational, undemocratic abuse of power’ after it refused to accept their decision to stop accepting asylum seekers because they already had accepted a large number. (Independent, 16 September 2021)

16 September: A report states that hotels used by the Home Office to accommodate asylum seekers during the pandemic are akin to detention centres, which are often sub-standard and sometimes unsafe. The report documents a deterioration in the mental and physical health of asylum seekers. Find the report here. (Guardian, 16 September 2021)

18 September: On the Greek islands, the first of five EU-funded new closed and controlled migrant camps is opened on Samos. UNHCR and 45 NGOs warn against restrictive controls and intrusive securitisation including x-ray scanners and magnetic doors. (France 24Deutsche Welle, 18 September 2021)


13 September: The European Court of Auditors states that the current EU returns system is grossly inefficient as only 29 per cent of the 500,000 people ordered to leave the EU since 2008 were deported. ‘Effective’ deportations are an ‘essential part of a comprehensive migratory policy’. (Euronews, 13 September 2021)


9 September: France uses a special fast-track scheme to grant citizenship to more than 12,000 frontline workers, including health professionals, security, cleaning staff, childminders and refuse collectors, whose jobs put them at risk during the pandemic. (Guardian, 9 September 2021) 

Crimes of solidarity

9 September: The ‘Briançon 7’, a group of solidarity activists, previously found guilty of ‘assisting illegal entry’ for helping displaced people travelling in the Alps in 2018, are acquitted of all charges at the Grenoble Appeals Court. (L’Humanité, 10 September 2021)


13 September: Far-right journalist Eric Zemmour, who has published anti-migration books suggesting France will ‘disappear’ and become an ‘Islamic republic’ quits his nightly television show, fuelling speculation he will mount a presidential bid next year. (Guardian, 13 September 2021)

16 September: The Labour Party shadow equalities minister Marsha de Cordova resigns, reportedly due to the party’s failure to put forward a progressive racial equality policy, prioritising instead winning back ‘red wall’ voters. (Voice, 16 September 2021)

16 September: In the run-up to federal elections in Germany, a court rules that Zwickau city authority was wrong to take down ‘vote German’ posters put up by the neo-Nazi Third Way stating ‘hang the Greens’. The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany says the ruling, made on free speech grounds, left him speechless.  (National News, 16 September 2021)

17 September: Tory insiders point to the promotion of Nadine Dorries, Kemi Badenoch and Liz Truss in the Tory cabinet reshuffle as evidence of a turn towards empowering the right wing and culture warriors. (Guardian, 17 September 2021)

17 September: Leaked audio and Whatsapp correspondence obtained by Vice World News reveals that the equalities minister Kemi Badenoch referred to trans women as men, declared that she ‘doesn’t care about colonialism’ and complained of ‘too many inarticulate black people’ in public life. (Vice, 17 September 2021, Vice, 22 September 2021)

17 September: The Good Law Project serves a pre-action letter claiming that ministers’ attempt to interfere with the appointment of a new chair of the Charity Commission is ‘unlawful’ as it is designed to ‘direct and control the exercise of the Commission’s regulatory functions in line with the government’s “anti-woke” agenda’.(Guardian, 17 September 2021)

17 September: Greece’s ruling party, New Democracy, takes no action against MP Konstantionos Bogdanos for retweeting an article about foreign children taking over Greek schools. The Data Protection Office launches an investigation into the article which lists the names of migrant kindergarten children and a teacher at an Athens school. (Euroactiv; ekathimerini, 17 September 2021) 

20 September: President Macron formally apologises to Harkis, Algerians who fought alongside the French during the Algerian War of Independence, for the fact they were ‘abandoned’ by the French state after the Algerian War of Independence.  (Le Monde, 21 September). 


With anti-migrant, anti-equalities, anti-abortion, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQI activities increasingly interlinking, this section now incorporates information on the Christian Right as well as information relating to the incel movement.

8 September: A suspected far-right extremist who attacked a Jewish restaurant and its owner in 2018 during the notorious anti-immigrant rioting in Chemnitz, east Germany, is given a one-year suspended prison sentence for a serious breach of the peace and bodily harm. (Deutsche Welle, 8 September 2021)

9 September: Two teenage neo-Nazis, linked to a Telegram chat group ‘The British Hand’, that threatened to ‘blast’ Black and Asian people and ‘urinate on their corpses’, are convicted of terrorist offences but spared jail, with a judge saying to one that he did not want to interrupt his education and that he had a ‘bright future’. (Daily Mail, 9 September 2021)

16 September:  Following raids in Turin, Italy, where weapons, including machetes, are seized, four men are placed under investigation for spreading Nazi content on social media and instigating crimes for racial, ethnic or religious reasons. (Ansa, 16 September 2021)

17 September: Taha Bouhafs, a French reporter, files a complaint against the far-right website after his name appears on an ‘Islamo-leftist’ database, along with people and organisations who supported a march against Islamophobia. (FranceInfo, 17 September). 


8 September: Victims of police incompetence and malpractice, including Doreen Lawrence, speak out against extending by two years the term of Cressida Dick as Met police commissioner. (Guardian , 8 September 2021)

8 September: The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice publishes new research on big tech ‘influence governance’ which reveals that sensitive data is used to nudge ‘behavioural adjustments’ with a Prevent-style radicalisation approach influencing police approaches to ‘teens at risk’ and anti-knife crime campaigns.  (Guardian, 8 August 2021)

8 September: Amnesty International publishes Blunt Force, an investigation into the misuse of police batons and related equipment, especially against peaceful protests, and to inflict punishment,  documenting 188 incidents of the misuse of striking weapons in 36 countries, including Denmark, Netherlands, France, the UK and Greece. (Amnesty International press release, 8 September 2021)

10 September: The family of missing teenager Aaliyah Chen accuses the Metropolitan Police of incompetence during their search for the 15-year-old, a victim of online grooming. (Independent, 10 September 2021)

10 September: Stopwatch publishes its response to the College of Policing consultation on handcuffing, pointing to the lack of accountability over the improper use of the tactic which is open to abuse during stop and search encounters. (Stopwatch, 10 September 2021)

13 September: In a letter to Priti Patel, over 600 experts warn against ‘oppressive’ elements of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill, which will deepen racial and gender disparities and mean doctors and social workers would be forced to inform on vulnerable young people. (Independent; Guardian, 13 September 2021) 

13 September: Alexandre Benalla, former security aide to France’s President Macron, goes on trial for assaulting a protester during a demonstration in May 2018, charged with offences including voluntary violence, illegally wearing a police badge and carrying a weapon. (Al Jazeera, 13 September 2021)

13 September: Discrimination against black people, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities is ‘objectively justified’, according to the equalities impact assessment of the PCSC Bill by the Home Office. (Independent, 13 September 2021)

14 September: A study by the Centre of the Dynamics of Ethnicity, Manchester, published by the Institute of Race Relations reveals that pandemic police powers disproportionately threaten rather than protect minority ethnic communities. Read the report here. (Independent, 14 September 2021)

A threat to public safety: policing, racism and the Covid-19 pandemic

15 September: Amnesty International France criticises as inadequate the president’s plan to increase transparency over police misconduct and racism issues through the publication of internal investigation reports and the creation of a parliamentary monitoring group. (Euronews, 15 September 2021)


15 September: Migrant cleaners at Great Ormond Street Hospital ballot for strike action, arguing their contracts create a two-tier system denying them the same rights as NHS staff. Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) says this amounts to racial discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. (Left Foot Forward, 15 September 2021)

19 September: A former employee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission accuses it of failing to support the human rights of ethnic minorities and colluding in the denial of structural and institutional racism. (Guardian, 19 September 2021)


8 September: Anton Ferdinand tells a home affairs inquiry into online abuse  that the failure of social media companies to tackle racist abuse of footballers will lead to tragedy and suggests social media platforms’  refusal to act was linked to senior managers not having experience of racist abuse and the companies themselves benefiting financially from a ‘frenzy’ around abuse. (Guardian, 8 September 2021)

9 September: Sir Ken Olisa, the first black Lord-Lieutenant for London, reveals to Channel 4 that he had discussed the topic of racism with members of the royal household in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in the US. He stated that the Queen and the royal family are supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. (Guardian, 9 September 2021)

9 September: The Scottish government has dropped outspoken comic Janey Godley from their latest public health campaign after the Daily Beast published dozens of historical tweets, which it describes as ‘shockingly racist’. (Guardian, 9 September 2021)

10 September: An independent panel investigating Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism admits the Yorkshire club admitted was guilty of ‘racial harassment and bullying’ while he was a player for the county, but was unable to prove institutionalised racism because of insufficient evidence. (Guardian, 10 September 2021) 

14 September: In France, Bordeaux city authorities state that an art student who whitened with plaster a statue by a Haitian artist, commemorating the victims of slavery, had no racist motive, though the action is said to be disrespectful of art. (Euronews, 15 September 2021)

15 September: In France, Les Hijabeuses protest against discriminatory French Football Federation rules that ban conspicuous religious symbols i.e., the hijab, despite FIFA lifting its ban in 2014 and no other European country excluding hijab-wearing women from playing in domestic sports competitions. (Al Jazeera, 13 September 2021)

16 September: Media minister John Whittingdale announces that the government will ask broadcasting regulator OFCOM to enforce a new legal duty on broadcasters to produce ‘distinctively British’ programmes. (i News, 16 September 2021)

17 September: Despite 7,000 objections, Tower Hamlets council approves a plan to build a shopping centre and corporate office block in the historic multicultural area of Brick Lane. (Al Jazeera, 17 September 2021)

18 September: French rugby is shaken by racist controversies, as a black player suffers racist abuse during a match and another is suspended for more than six months after racist abuse towards a Cameroonian player. (La Nouvelle Tribune, 18 September). 

18 September: Birmingham and Swansea football clubs call in police over reports of racism by fans during Saturday’s games and arrests are made. (Guardian, 18 September 2021)

21 September: The Hungarian men’s football team must play its next home World Cup qualifier to an empty stadium and pay a fine of £158,000 as punishment for the racist abuse their fans aimed at England players in Budapest on 2 September. (Guardian, 21 September 2021)

21 September: The Italian Boxing Federation is criticised for allowing, Michele Broli, who has numerous Nazi tattoos, to compete in a title fight that was broadcast live on Gazzetta della Sport online. (Guardian, 21 September 2021)


12 September: Facebook’s facilities management firm demands the removal of Guillermo Camacho, an elected Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union activist, who helped organise protests against a doubling of cleaning duties at the London office without bringing in more staff. (Observer, 12 September 2021)


9 September: New analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists reveals that a third of BAME NHS workers in mental health trusts in England have experienced harassment, bullying or attacks by patients, relatives or members of the public, whilst one in five has experienced such treatment from colleagues. (Guardian, 9 September 2021)

11 September: Following criticism from privacy campaigners, the Department of Health and Social Care terminates its contract with ‘spy tech’ company Palantir. (Open Democracy, 11 September 2021)

15 September: Following recent inspections, the Care Quality Commission says it is concerned about a culture of bullying and racial discrimination at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust and finds that many staff were too frightened to speak up about such issues. (ITV News, 15 September 2021)

24 September: New research by Maternity Action finds that many NHS Trusts are ‘routinely ignoring or misinterpreting’ the law and wrongly charging vulnerable migrant women for their maternity care, leading to women being too scared to attend antenatal appointments in case they are charged. (Independent, 24 September 2021) 


10 September: The Danish prime minister says that new welfare benefit rules are directly aimed at women from a ‘non-western background’. Those who have been receiving benefits for several years, during which time they have not achieved the required level of language proficiency, will now be required to work 37 hours a week in order to receive benefits. (BBC News, 10 September 2021)


6 September: In Rotherham, a schoolboy is rushed to A&E with serious injuries, after being violently attacked in the playground by fellow pupils, whilst two of the attackers are arrested at the scene, in what parents and a local councillor suspect to be a racially motivated attack. (Yorkshire Live, 9 September 2021) 

7 September: In the run-up to the Norwegian general election, a 60-year-old man, shouting ‘Breivik was right, you should all die’ is arrested for threatening members of the Labour Party’s youth wing (AUF) in Trondheim, assaulting an AUF member and a police officer. (News in, 7 September 2021) 

8 September: Three men, aged 21, 23 and 28 are jailed for three years and are subject to a five-year restraining order banning contact with the victim, after they broke into a man’s garden in Stockton, County Durham three times, racially abused him and violently attacked him with weapons, leaving him in need of hospital treatment. (Teesside Live, 10 September)

10 September: Northamptonshire Police release CCTV images of two men in an appeal for information after an unprovoked racist attack in Wellingborough in July, during which three men approached the victim, threw a can at him, knocked him to the floor and then racially abused and punched him before stealing from him. (Northants Live, 10 September 2021)

13 September: In Leeds, a man is jailed for 30 months after an incident in July, during which he racially abused and repeatedly attacked a supermarket security guard when accused of stealing, before shouting racial abuse at the store manager and head butting a police officer unconscious when she arrived on the scene. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 13 September 2021)

13 September: Nottinghamshire Police appeal for information after a white mother-of-four was left with broken ribs, a broken jaw and finger and a fractured cheekbone, after a white man videoing her home, viciously attacked her outside her house in Sutton-in-Ashfield in August, whilst making racially abusive comments about her having mixed-race children. (Westbridgeford Wire; Nottinghamshire Police, 13 September 2021)

15 September: Kent Police release CCTV images of two men in an appeal for information after a man was punched in the face and knocked unconscious in an unprovoked racist attack at a fast-food restaurant in Tunbridge Wells on 10 September. (Kent Online, 15 September 2021) 

16 September: A 30-year-old Middlesbrough man tells how his life is unbearable due to the constant racist abuse aimed at him and his family over 18 months, with urine, bricks, stones and bananas thrown into his garden. Despite his complaints the police and local council have failed to deal with the harassment. (Teesside Live, 16 September 2021) 

16 September: In Germany, a 16-year-old Syrian national and three others are arrested in connection with a plan to attack a synagogue in Hagen, near Dortmund, on Yom Kippur. (Euronews, 16 September 2021) 

20 September: In Manchester, a 35-year-old man is charged with racially aggravated assault after he repeatedly punched a teenage shop assistant on 5 September. (Manchester Evening News, 20 September 2021)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Tania Bedi, Annabelle Woghiren, Graeme Atkinson, Lou Khalfaoui, Yewande Oyekan and Joseph Maggs.

Headline image: Migrants Organise, Twitter

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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