Calendar of Racism and Resistance – Incorporating Covid-19 Roundup (20 May – 3 June 2020)

Calendar of Racism and Resistance – Incorporating Covid-19 Roundup (20 May – 3 June 2020)


Written by: IRR News Team

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

We have incorporated the Covid-19 roundup of racism, health, policing and civil liberties into the calendar of racism and resistance, which we believe makes developments during this period clearer and easier to understand.

News stories related to the response to George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis have been compiled in a separate calendar, view here.


2 June: Former prime minister Gordon Brown says the failure of the G20 group of rich nations to organise a global Covid-19 recovery plan is a potential ‘death sentence for the world’s poor’, and will push a further 420 million people into extreme poverty, as 225 past and present world leaders, academics and civil society groups call on the G20 to unlock $80 billion of debt relief, provide extra resources and agree a global green investment plan. (Guardian, 2 June 2020)


21 May: Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK calls for an immediate inquiry into the government’s coronavirus response, saying it is trying to cover up its failings. Over 100,000 people sign an e-petition for an independent inquiry, which is backed by the British Medical Association and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. (Guardian, 21 May 2020)

28 May: A survey of over 5,000 Royal College of Nursing staff concludes that there is a ‘deeply worrying’ disparity in PPE provision between staff of different backgrounds, with BME nurses more likely to have problems accessing surgical masks, disposable plastic aprons and disposable gloves than their white British counterparts. (Independent, 28 May 2020)

28 May: Operation Black Vote, academics and religious groups write an open letter calling for a Covid-19 race equality strategy. (Guardian, 28 May 2020)

29 May: Public Health England announces that Trevor Phillips has not contributed to its review of Covid-19 and BME communities. (Guardian, 29 May 2020)

31 May: Privacy campaigners prepare a legal challenge to the government’s policy to retain data collected for its track and trace programme for 20 years and the lack of safeguards against its use by the Home Office or other policing agencies. (Guardian, 31 May 2020)

2 June: As Public Health England’s review into disproportionate Covid-19 deaths of BME people is published, reaching no definite conclusions, medical groups and trade unions express frustration and call for a public inquiry. The Health Service Journal reports that the government censored a key section of the report, which included responses from over 1,000 organisations and individuals, many of whom suggested that discrimination played a part in the increased risk. (GuardianGuardian, 2 June; HSJ, 3 June 2020)


For more information on policing and civil liberties issues follow @NETPOL @BigBrotherWatch @COVIDStateWatch and @libertyhq.


17 May: An analysis by the Independent reveals stark differences in enforcement of health protection regulations, with police in some parts of the country handing up to 26 times more coronavirus lockdown fines than others. The highest number of fines were issued by the Metropolitan police (906), but when calculated as a rate against the population of police force areas, North Yorkshire is highest, followed by Dyfed-Powys, Cumbria, Dorset and Lancashire. (Independent, 17 May 2020)

26 May: An analysis by Liberty reveals that BME people in England are 54 percent more likely to be fined under coronavirus rules than white people, receiving as many as 2,218 of the 13,445 recorded fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) from 27 March to 11 May, while white people were given about 7,865. (Guardian, 26 May 2020)

Credit: Liberty Investigates

28 May: The Guardian reports that five inmates of prisons in England and Wales committed suicide in six days in May, fuelling fears that the restrictive regime in place to fight Covid-19, which includes no visits and very little time out of cells, many of which are now single-occupancy, means virtual solitary confinement and has a devastating effect on prisoners’ mental health. (Guardian, 28 May 2020)

29 May: Jupol, Spain’s main police union, publishes a press release attributing the Covid-19 infection of a police officer to their contact with ‘an immigrant who arrived by boat’, contradicting experts who rule out any relationship between migrants and the surge of Covid-19 cases in Spain. (El Diario, 29 May 2020)

31 May: Concerns are expressed about the treatment of children in custody during the pandemic, after evidence emerges that some spend as little as 40 minutes a day outside their cells, with visits and education drastically curtailed. (Guardian, 31 May 2020)


22 May: The Spanish Ministry of Equality presents a complaint of hate crime and discrimination to the public prosecutor’s office about a verbal and physical attack by Catalonian police against a migrant woman cleaner on 11 April. (Público, 22 May 2020)

26 May: Inadequate communication between authorities and services is said to have impacted the county-lines exploitation of murdered black teenager Jaden Moodie, a review finds. (Guardian, 26 May 2020)

29 May: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launches an inquiry into alleged racially motivated brutality including the use of stun guns by officers in Birmingham. The IOPC is currently investigating six allegations of over-use of force by the West Midlands police on black men in the city. (Guardian, 29 May 2020)

Credit: The Monitoring Group

28 May: A nationwide justice campaign questioning the conviction of Siyanda Mngaza is launched in Cardiff. Campaigners say the young woman, aged 20 at the time of her arrest, was the victim of a racist crime, and yet she was arrested by police and subsequently sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison for GBH for defending herself. (; Race Alliance Wales, Facebook, 28 May 2020)

31 May: The Observer reports that the Metropolitan Police are using the reduction in crime during lockdown to step up the targeting of black neighbourhoods with intensive policing practices, including stop and searches and a new strategy of deploying Violence Suppression Units (VSUs) in ‘microbeats’ – small sections of London seen as synonymous with drugs and violence. (Observer, 31 May 2020)

2 June: Following a court case brought by Alternative for Germany, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia acquiesces to its demand to publish the full list of 44 neighbourhoods and streets officially designated by police as ‘dangerous zones’ over the past decade, most in minority neighbourhoods. The designation allows police to carry out identity checks without a specific reason. (Deutsche Welle, 2 June 2020)

2 June: After misconduct charges are dropped against Steven Heywood, former assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester police (GMP), over his evidence on the police killing of 36-year-old Anthony Grainger in 2012, Grainger’s mother and partner express their grief and anger that ‘once again, our family and the public have been let down by GMP’. On 20 May the IOPC announced that no charges would be brought against the firearms officer who shot him. (BBC News, 20 May; Guardian, 2 June 2020)



20 May: After a post by Syrian refugee and hospital cleaner Hassan Akkad goes viral, the government extends the Covid-19 bereavement scheme, which grants indefinite leave to remain in the UK to relatives of foreign national NHS staff who die from Covid-19, to low-paid workers such as hospital cleaners and porters and care workers. (Guardian, 20 May 2020)

21 May: Public and political pressure forces Boris Johnson into announcing that NHS staff and care workers from overseas will no longer be required to pay the health surcharge for NHS treatment, the day after he insisted that the charge would not be dropped. (Guardian, 21 May 2020)

21 May: In response to the partial six-month amnesty for undocumented migrants in agriculture, fishing and care work announced by the government on 13 May, migrant agriculture workers in Italy stage a nationwide strike, drawing attention to the fact that employment sponsorship will be the basis for the issuing of residency permits in agriculture, fishing and care work. No major trades unions back the strike. (Al Jazeera, 13 May; Al Jazeera, 30 May 2020)

24 May: Charities and migrant rights groups react with anger at the government’s draft proposals for negotiation with the EU which remove the rights of child refugees stuck in Europe to join family in the UK, making reunion discretionary and removing appeal rights. Charity Safe Passage warns that more children will risk their lives in small boats and lorries to reach family in the UK. (ObserverSafe Passage, 24 May 2020)

25 May: A hundred undocumented migrants and their supporters gather outside the Brussels office of the Belgian federal minister for asylum and migration to demand the inclusion of undocumented people in the provision of support and healthcare, made more vital due to Covid-19. (Brussels Times, 25 May 2020)

26 May: The Spanish government grants two-year work permit to young migrants working in agriculture during the coronavirus crisis. (El Diario, 26 May 2020)

28 May: After prime minister Boris Johnson admits to a parliamentary committee that he was unaware of the rule preventing migrant workers from having recourse to public funds, thirty migrant rights organisations write an open letter urging him to lift the ban. (JCWI, 28 May 2020)

28 May: Crowdfunding raises £30,000 for Commonwealth veteran Taitusi Ratacaucau, who was faced with a bill for £27,000 after emergency brain surgery. Ratacaucau is campaigning for the MoD and the Home Office to review its policy of charging veterans fees to remain in the UK after discharge from the army. (Guardian, 28 May 2020)

30 May: The Movement of Migrants and Refugees of Naples, which has held some of the first street protests in the city since the easing of lockdown restrictions, says that the partial six-month amnesty for undocumented migrants is an act of cynicism. ‘You’re only giving papers to the workforce you need, not caring at all about people’s health,’ a spokesperson says. (Al Jazeera, 30 May 2020)

Credit: Marche des Solidarités

30 May: Undocumented migrants and support groups take to the streets of Paris to demand support and protection, since the outbreak of Covid-19 has left many of them destitute. (E24.News, 31 May 2020)

1 June: The Spanish movement #RegularizacionYa (which calls for the immediate and unconditional regularisation of migrants and is supported by more than 1,100 organisations) denounces the minimum wage approved by the Spanish government on 29 May, claiming that it deepens inequality by excluding 600,000 undocumented migrants. (Público, 1 June 2020)


20 May: Campaigners condemn the formal closure of the Dubs scheme which brought vulnerable refugee children to the UK from camps in Europe. The government says it reached its target of 480 children; Lord Dubs and Safe Passage had campaigned for 3,000 children, and say local councils still have capacity. (Safe Passage, 20 May 2020)

20 May: Video footage shows Maltese Armed Forces turning a boat of displaced people away at gunpoint before escorting them to Italian waters. (Are You Syrious, 21 May 2020)

People rescued near Turkey after a pushback from Greece. Credit: Aegean Boat Report

20 May: A joint investigation by journalists from several media sources reveals illegal pushbacks by Greek officials from the islands and the mainland to Turkey, as right-wing mayors of Myteline (Lesvos), Chios and East Samos record their gratitude to the coastguard for ‘preventing successfully the landing of illegal immigrants on our islands’. Greek NGO Keerfa claims that father-of-five Mohammed Rafik, detained after losing his residence permit, was killed as a result of an illegal pushback to Turkey. (Bellingcat, 20 May; Deutsche Welle, 21 May; Are You Syrious, 24 May 2020)

21 May: The Home Office launches Operation Sillath, involving speedy return of those crossing from France in small boats, without full consideration of asylum claims according to lawyers. (Guardian, 21 May 2020)

22 May: A 28-year-old Tunisian man drowns in Sicily attempting to escape the Moby Zaza, a ship used for quarantine, which has been holding 120 people since 13 May. (Are You Syrious, 23 May 2020)

22 May: Maltese patrol boats rescue 140 migrants from a sinking dinghy but refuse to let them land, holding them instead on a chartered tourist harbour cruise boat off Valletta, just outside territorial waters. Two more tourist boats chartered for the same purpose hold a further 160 migrants. Later, a further boat is chartered and the total number held on the boats rises to 425. (Reuters, 22 May; Malta Today, 1 June 2020)

22 May: According to the Turkish Coast Guard and the Consolidated Rescue Group, which operates a hotline for migrants in distress, in at least 11 incidents since 23 March, migrants have been found drifting in orange, tent-like inflatable life rafts without motors or propellants and that cannot be steered. The Greek government is accused of building on the Australian model of using life rafts to push back migrants arriving at the Greek island of Symi. (Just Security, 22 May 2020)

22 May: The Centre for Peace Studies and the Welcome Initiative for Migration Rights hold a protest outside the Croatian Interior Ministry calling for a full investigation into the allegations of violence at the border by officials. (Are You Syrious, 23 May 2020)

25 May: Público reports that dozens of Moroccan citizens remain stranded in Melilla following the closure of the border 2 months ago, living in vans and the mosque, whilst the city government of Melilla fails to act. (Público, 25 May 2020)

26 May: The European Court of Human Rights orders the Croatian government to answer for its pushback practices to Bosnia and Herzegovina in a case brought by ECCHR on behalf of three Syrian refugees. (ECCHR, 26 May 2020)

26 May: The Italian Senate Immunity Board votes against prosecuting former interior minister Matteo Salvini for blocking the Spanish NGO ‘Open Arms’ ship with 150 migrants aboard in the Mediterranean for 21 days in August 2019. The full Senate will take the final decision. (Público, 26 May 2020)

28 May: Croatian police are accused of continuing to beat, abuse and spray-paint asylum seekers, including minors, with red crosses on their heads, at the Bosnia-Herzegovina border, telling victims that the paint was the ‘cure against coronavirus’. The Croatian ministry of interior denies the allegations and suggests that migrants fabricated the news. (Guardian, 28 May 2020)

Credit: No Name Kitchen

28 May: A boy in a group attacked by dogs as they are violently pushed back from Slovenia to Croatia has part of his ear bitten off. The group is taken to a police station for the ear to be sewn up before being pushed back to Croatia and from there to Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Are You Syrious, 29 May 2020)

28 May: Malta signs a memorandum of understanding with Libya to coordinate action against illegal migration, the day after 30 migrants are shot dead by traffickers in a Libyan warehouse. (IOM, 27 May; Times of Malta, 28 May 2020)

28 May: Only 60 people have received compensation payments totalling £360,000 from the Windrush scheme, expected to pay out between £200m and £500m, although many of those made destitute by their treatment as illegal migrants are still in debt or facing financial difficulty, and some say they have been asked for very high levels of documentary evidence to prove their right to compensation. (Guardian, 28 May 2020)

31 May: The border fence at the Evros river between Turkey and Greece is set to be completed in a few months, according to Greek Citizen Protection minister Michalis Chryssochoidis. (Ekathimerini, 31 May 2020)

31 May: The body of a man is found by local police in the Drina river, eastern Bosnia. It is believed that he crossed from Serbia. (Are You Syrious, 1 June 2020)

1 June: An inquiry clears the Maltese prime minister of homicide charges brought by an NGO over the deaths of five people and the disappearance of seven more at sea after the government used a private fishing boat to push a migrant boat back to Libya. (InfoMigrants, 2 June 2020)

Credit: MASI

20 May: Irish justice and equality minister Charlie Flanagan apologises to the people of Kerry in a four-page letter for moving 100 refugees during the pandemic to the Skellig Star hotel in Cahirciveen. No apology is forthcoming to the refugees, who share rooms with strangers in a direct provision centre where social distancing is impossible. (Irish Examiner, 23 May 2020)

20 May: Following a ruling from the European Court of Justice that holding people in transit zones was unlawful, the Hungarian government closes the zones and releases 300 people to open or semi-open facilities. (Al Jazeera, 21 May 2020)

Credit: SYMAAG

29 May: After a week of protests by asylum seekers at Urban House hostel, Leeds, at the poor quality of the food, which they are forced to eat as they receive no cash, with one diabetic going on hunger strike, residents are punished by being served with one white bread roll for lunch. (South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group on Facebook, 29 May 2020)

29 May: The mayor and deputy regional governor of Grevena, northern Greece, oppose the government plan to house refugees and migrants in hotels in the region to relieve pressure on the overcrowded camps on the islands. (Ekathimerini, 29 May 2020)

31 May: The first closed migrant camp on the Greek mainland opens at Malakasa, east of the Greek capital, amidst protests from locals who hold a rally on the national highway interchange, leading to clashes when police stop them marching to the camp. (Ekathimerini, 2 June 2020)


26 May: Eleven migrant support and anti-racist NGOs report the summary deportation of a Cameroonian migrant minor from Ceuta to Morocco to the public prosecutor’s office, arguing that it breaches the rights of the Children’s Rights Convention and immigration law. (Público, 26 May 2020)


22 May: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) issues a statement on its rescue policy after attracting media criticism for rescuing migrants. (RNLI Statement, 22 May 2020)

22 May: Elin Errson, the Swedish activist who live-streamed her attempt to halt a deportation in 2018, has her conviction for violations of the Aviation Act upheld by the high court, and is ordered to pay a fine of SEK 4,200 (€400) (Are You Syrious, 23 May 2020)

25 May: The Regional Authority of the Northern Aegean files a legal case against NGO Moria Corona Awareness Team, set up by migrants to raise awareness of the pandemic, for referring to ‘the Greek side of the Island’ on a Facebook post discussing the situation in Lesvos. The authority says this undermines Greek national sovereignty and is a criminal offence. (Ekathimerini, 25 May 2020)


29 May: The 3 million British National (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong, who have the right to come to the UK only as visitors, are to be offered extended rights of residence and a pathway to full British citizenship, the government announces as China prepares strict national security laws on the former British colony. (Guardian, 29 May 2020)


23 May: The far-right electoral Vox party mobilises the ‘Caravan for Spain and Liberty’ in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and other provincial capitals, having urged its supporters to drive to the centre of the cities in a direct action against the government’s Covid-19 prohibition on social gatherings. (Deutsche Welle, 23 May 2020)

26 May: After the Hungarian government presents bills claiming to end the state of emergency and demands an apology from opposition politicians and critics, Hungarian civil liberties groups and others warn that the new bills contain powers to extend the medical emergency and special executive powers indefinitely, including allowing the military to fire on civilians. (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 27 May; Verfassungsblog, 30 May 2020)

28 May: As Tamás Sneider, deputy leader of the Hungarian parliament, quits the far-right Jobbik party, citing ‘opinion terror and intimidation’, Jobbik’s parliamentary group shrinks from the 26 parliamentarians it had just after the 2018 elections, to 19. (Hungary Today, 28 May 2020)


21 May: As Stuttgart authorities, citing ‘protection against infection’, ban a protest by the far-right electoral Alternative for Germany party against coronavirus restrictions, Germany’s foreign minister warns that ‘radical extremists’ and ‘antisemites’ are exploiting fears about the virus to gain support. (Guardian, 21 May 2020)

22 May: After a misleading article appears in the alt-Right publication Breitbart News, objections escalate on Westminster city council’s website to a planning application for a prayer space/small mosque in London’s Trocadero building. An anonymous white nationalist vlogger, The Iconoclast, also warns that the application poses a danger to the ’native people of this country. (GuardianIslam.21, 22 May 2020).

22 May: Police in Saxony, east Germany, arrest 35 far-right activists after they give the nazi salute and shout ‘Sieg Heil’, and attack police with steel pipe, glasses and other objects in the town of Königstein. (Deutsche Welle, 22 May 2020)

29 May: In Budapest, Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland) organises an unauthorised demonstration in front of the offices of the National Roma Self-Government. The party insists that one of those involved in the fatal stabbing of a football fan during a brawl is Romani, and demand that money put aside for Roma integration programmes be channelled instead into creating a gendarmerie. Some arrests are made, with two further arrests in the evening in connection with assault against a minority group. (Hungary Today, 29 May 2020)

31 May: In Slovakia, five neo-nazis are found guilty of rioting and assault in connection with a brutal assault on customers at the Mariatchi Bar in Nitra in 2013. The long delay in bringing the case to court, racism, the failure to examine the perpetrators or hold them in custody, leading to a further attack on the bar in January 2014, are criticised. (Romea, 31 May 2020)

31 May: Following protests from Jewish organisations, Munich bans the use of Nazi-era Stars of David with the word ‘unvaccinated’ emblazoned on them, at anti-lockdown protests. Germany’s commissioner for the fight against anti-Semitism says that wearing the altered Jewish stars is a ‘calculated breaking of a taboo’. (Deutsche Welle, 31 May 2020)


22 May: In Bornheim, near Bonn, Romanian seasonal asparagus pickers protest after the German firm employing them fails to pay their back wages, citing bankruptcy. Journalists cannot talk to the migrants, as the area they are living in is sealed off, with security guards watching who goes in. (Deutsche Welle, 22 May 2020)

22 May: Wellwishers donate thousands of pounds to a United Voices of the World crowdfunder to support the family of Emanuel Gomes, a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) cleaner, originally from Guinea Bissau, who died last month from suspected Covid-19. MoJ cleaners, employed by outsourced firm OCS, are only entitled to statutory sick pay, and Emmanuel could not afford to take time off. (Morning Star, 22 May 2020)

24 May: The UK’s largest union, Unite, calls on the government to restore the power of the Health and Safety Executive to perform spot checks on social care institutions, shops and pubs, abolished by the coalition government in its drive against ‘red tape’ in 2012, to protect workers in these sectors from the risk of Covid-19. (Guardian, 24 May 2020)

Credit: Justice for Belly

29 May: The family of railway ticket office worker Belly Mujinga, who died after she was spat at and coughed at by a man who said he had Covid-19, express dismay after British Transport Police say they will take no further action in relation to her death. The TSSA trades union urges the Office of Rail and Road (the relevant health and safety body) to adopt clear guidance on protecting rail workers from the virus. (GuardianTSSA News, 29 May; ITV News, 30 May 2020)

1 June: Model and activist Munroe Bergdorf criticises former employer L’Oreal Paris for posting the message ‘speaking out is worth it’ in reference to the killing of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Bergdof was fired from the company in 2017 for writing about racism and white supremacy online. (Metro, 2 June 2020)


26 May: The NASUWT says the government should carry out an equality review before opening up schools and criticises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) for its failure to address ethnicity in its analysis of Covid-19 risks. Birmingham city council writes to education secretary Gavin Williamson seeking ‘further guidance … for schools with large BAME communities on the implications of reopening’. (Guardian, 26 May 2020)

31 May: Roma in Gyongyospata, a village near Budapest, say the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is fuelling racism after he attacks a legal ruling compensating Roma for school segregation, saying that the Roma stood to gain ‘free money while the rest of us toil’ and that ‘the majority’ are made ‘to feel like foreigners in their own… homeland’. (Bloomberg, 31 May 2020)


24 May: Research commissioned by the London mayor’s office finds that tens of thousands of low-income families are being denied the extra support designed to ease the impact of Covid-19 because of the benefits cap, which deprives them of an average £185 per month. (Observer, 24 May 2020)

28 May: A London School of Economics report concludes that the ‘Covid generation’ – Britons aged under 25 – face a ‘dark age’ of entrenched low social mobility, regardless of background. However, previous research into UK recessions reveals young, working-class ethnic minorities are typically the hardest hit. (Guardian, 28 May 2020)

2 June: Poverty campaigners call for emergency cash support for struggling households after food banks reported that the first month of lockdown was their busiest ever. The government says it has done enough to make funds available. (Guardian, 2 June 2020)


26 May: London mayor Sadiq Khan warns that 1,400 homeless people currently staying in the capital’s hotels at state expense will be back on the streets unless the government extends support, due to run out by mid-June. Another 4,000 placed in hotels outside London face the same problems. (Guardian, 26 May 2020)

27 May: Housing secretary Robert Jenrick, admits acting unlawfully in approving an east London housing development by former Tory donor Richard Desmond, against planning advice, the day before the introduction of the ‘community infrastructure levy’ which would have cost Desmond £40 million. Tower Hamlets council, one of London’s poorest boroughs, would have used the money for local projects including schools and health facilities, and the loss to council funding will hit its large and deprived ethnic minority population the hardest. (Guardian, 27 May 2020)

Four of the residents suing the Danish government

27 May: A group of Copenhagen residents from the Mjolnerparken estate, supported by housing activist group Almen Modstand, sue the Danish government over legislation that authorised dismantling working-class multicultural neighbourhoods designated ‘ghettos’ (defined partly by racial criteria), and evicting residents to ‘reduce residential segregation’ by selling homes to private investors and reduce the proportion of affordable public housing to 40 percent in a decade. (AP News; The Local, 27 May 2020)

27-31 May: Occupations and sit-ins are held in Athens and in refugee accommodation in northern Greece, and sixty refugee and housing support groups write to the EU and to the Greek authorities, to protest the proposed eviction of up to 8,300 recognised refuges with the ending on 31 May of Greece’s emergency refugee housing programme and the removal of cash support, which is leaving people homeless and destitute. (Are You Syrious, 27 May; Are You Syrious, 31 May; Help Refugees, 29 May 2020)

31 May: Hotels in Lleida, Spain refuse to accommodate 200 homeless migrant workers, despite the offer by Keita Baldé, a Spanish-born Senegalese football player, to pay their accommodation costs. Baldé publicly denounces the racism. (Público, 31 May 2020)


22 May: Scotland’s makar (national poet) Jackie Kay describes the racist bullying and discrimination she experienced as a child in Scotland in an STV interview with Bernard Ponsonby, speaking of ‘endemic racism, something that is in the very structures and fabric of our society’. (Guardian, 22 May 2020)

25 May: WeRNotVirus, a series of plays and monologues in response to Covid-19 racism directed against east and south-east Asians, who have experienced a 21 percent rise in reported hate crimes, are to be broadcast on Zoom on 13 and 14 June. (Guardian, 25 May 2020)

27 May: Sitting in Limbo, a drama about the Windrush scandal featuring the story of Anthony Bryan and written by his novelist brother, is to be shown on BBC on 8 June, it is announced. (Guardian, 27 May 2020)

29 May: Ofcom announces an investigation into the Channel 4 programme Dispatches: the truth about Traveller crime after receiving hundreds of complaints about the programme. (Metro, 29 May 2020)

29 May: Actor and director Noel Clarke tweets that racism is ‘embedded in the fabric of society’ in the UK and that he has been silenced by individuals in the film industry for speaking out. (Independent, 30 May 2020)

30 May: The Traveller Movement calls for support in demanding that Ebay remove items branded with the word ‘P*key’ in a mock-up of the Nike logo with the tag ‘just nick it’. (Twitter, 30 May 2020)

1 June: After intense criticism for hypocrisy over its tweet ‘Demand Justice, #blacklivesmatter’ at the weekend, Gay dating app Grindr says it will remove its controversial ethnicity filter, which allows premium service users to filter potential dates by race. (Guardian, 2 June 2020)



22 May: Acknowledging German Muslims’ contribution to the fight against the virus by observing social distancing during Ramadam, president Frank-Walter Steinmeier calls for an end to hatred directed towards Muslims, pledging to act against religiously motivated attacks and remembering the victims of the far-right assault at Hanau. (Deutsche Welle, 22 May 2020)

22 May: The partner of Trevor Belle, a 61-year-old London cab driver who died of Covid-19 in April after being spat on by a passenger who refused to pay the fare, is calling on police to investigate the death. (Guardian, 22 May 2020)

27 May: MEND publishes its submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Covid-19 and Islamophobia online. Read the report here. (MEND, 27 May 2020)

1 June: Scottish police seek three teenagers who racially abused two Asian women in Kingswells on 30 May, shouting about ‘eating bats’ after the women refused to give them their phone numbers. (Daily Record, 1 June 2020)


22-24 May: The owners of three takeaway businesses in Barrow receive death threats after being falsely accused in a social media campaign of physical and sexual assault against a teenage white girl. A message to Fahsin Ahmed says his wife and two baby boys will be raped and his family killed. As Cumbria police say there is no evidence that an Asian grooming gang is operating in Barrow-in-Furness, protesters gather in Barrow’s Hollywood retail park in support of a 19-year-old woman accused of lying about being raped by a grooming gang, and 10,000 people sign a petition demanding that the investigation is taken away from Cumbria police. (The Mail, 22 May; Guardian 24 May 2020)

26 May: The family of the teenager accused of lying about being groomed and abused in Barrow comdemn racial hatred and say they want nothing to do with Tommy Robinson, who turns up in town in a convoy of vehicles claiming to be doing ‘essential work’ as a journalist investigating the case. Questions are asked why the convoy was allowed to proceed after being stopped en route. (GuardianMorning Star, 26 May 2020)

27 May: The NUJ condemns threats made against Amy Fenton, chief reporter on the local newspaper in Barrow, who is staying in a secret location with constant police protection after she receives over 100 death threats and other threats of unlawful violence including threats to the welfare of her young daughter for her reporting of the abuse allegations there. One message reads ‘Slit Amy Fenton’s throat while saying Islamic prayers for her’. (NUJ press release, 27 May; Guardian, 29 May 2020)


21 May: Police appeal for information after a mother is racially abused in front of her daughter by another woman who called her a ‘black b****’ and told to ‘go back to her own country’ in an Asda car park in Huddersfield. (Examiner Live, 21 May 2020)

22 May: Police appeal for information after a man makes racist comments in the town centre of Banbury on 19 May. (Banbury Guardian, 22 May 2020)

22 May: Police look for four men in connection with a racially aggravated assault of a man in his 20s in a pub on Portobello Road, Notting Hill in February. (Evening Standard, 22 May 2020)

26 May: A Kentish Town woman is racially abused by a group of young men whilst celebrating Eid on Hampstead Heath. (Ham & High, 26 May 2020)

30 May: A firefighter is racially abused by a group of men in a car as his crew stop to refill the fire engine at a water hydrant after responding to a fire in Derbyshire. (ITV, 1 June 2020)

31 May: Essex police investigate threatening letters littered with racist abuse delivered to two addresses in Basildon on 30 May. Pictures of one of the letters, which tells the resident to leave her home and uses racial slurs, circulate on social media. (Gazette News, 31 May 2020)

The calendar was compiled with the help of Aisha Rana-Deshmukh, Laura Wormington, Jessica Pandian, Graeme Atkinson and Joseph Maggs.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.