Calendar of racism and resistance (3 – 16 July 2019)

July 17, 2019 — News

Written by IRR News Team

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

POLICE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

4 July: A study by the University of Essex, based on analysis of six live trials of facial recognition technology by the Metropolitan police in Soho, Romford and the Westfield shopping centre in east London, finds that matches were correct in only a fifth of cases, leading to wrongful stops and breaches of privacy, freedom of expression and the right to protest. (Guardian, 4 July 2019)

8 July: Stop and search has almost doubled in eight of England’s largest forces in the last two years, according to data analysed by the Guardian following freedom of information requests to Greater Manchester, the Metropolitan police, Merseyside, Northumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Thames Valley, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. (Guardian, 8 July 2019)

9 July: In a case brought by Just for Kids Law, the High Court rules that the police recruitment and use of child spies to infiltrate ‘county lines’ drug gangs and other criminal and terrorist organisations is not unlawful and does not breach human rights. (Guardian, 9 July 2019)

11 July: Three police officers are referred to the Met’s central east command professional standards unit after being filmed by onlookers striking a man of Moroccan origin and pinning him down while he shouted ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘my heart’ and appeared to have a  seizure during a traffic stop in Poplar, east London. Tower Hamlets council express concern that the case has not been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct. (Independent, 11 July 2019)

11 July: A public inquiry chaired by Thomas Teague QC into the police shooting of Anthony Grainger, who was unarmed, concludes that Greater Manchester police were entirely to blame for his death in Cheshire in March 2012, owing to serious failings and a ‘cavalier attitude’ within its  firearms unit. Corporate manslaughter charges are now being pursued by lawyers representing Grainger’s partner. (Guardian, 13 July 2019)

12 July: An east London police officer recorded on video striking a handcuffed black teenager with a baton in Romford in April is placed under criminal investigation for a potential disciplinary offence related to the grounds of the stop and search. The Guardian reports that four other officers are under investigation over a separate stop and search incident in north-west London in October 2018 when a man was sprayed with CS gas while on the ground. (Guardian, 12 July 2019)

15 July: Government figures reveal that half of all law centres and not-for-profit legal advice centres in England and Wales have closed in the past six years because of cuts to legal aid and local authority funding. (Guardian, 15 July 2019)

Knife crime and related issues

15 July: The home secretary announces a new legal duty for public health bodies to help prevent knife crime by sharing data, intelligence and knowledge. The duty does not require doctors, nurses and teachers to report children feared to be involved in violence, as originally proposed, because of widespread resistance. (Independent, 15 July 2019)

© Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn

15 July: London mayor Sadiq Khan cites statistics from London’s Violence Reduction Unit to show how youth violence is linked to deprivation, social exclusion and austerity. (Guardian, 15 July 2019)

ASYLUM, MIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP

Asylum and migrant rights

3 July: The government blames Brexit for its continuing failure to introduce legislation enabling compensation to be paid to the victims of the Windrush scandal, 15 months after prime minister Theresa May’s apology and promise of compensation, and a fortnight after the death of another victim, cricketer Richard Stewart. (Guardian, 4 July 2019)

6 July: After Kindertransport survivors receive €2,500 in reparations from the German government for their ordeal, one recipient, Dame Steve Shirley, donates her cheque to Safe Passage, the charity helping child refugees reach sanctuary in the UK, and calls on others to do the same. (Observer, 7 July 2019)

12 July: After a three-year ordeal, Eritrean refugee Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe is released from prison as a Sicilian court confirms that he was the victim of mistaken identity when he was arrested in a joint Italian-British operation and wrongly accused of being a leading international human trafficker. Berhe’s relatives call for damages for his wrongful detention following extradition from Sudan, and an investigation into the framing of an innocent man allegedly by Sicily’s top prosecutors. (Guardian, 12 July 2019, 2 stories)

Borders and internal controls

30 June: The frozen body of an unidentified man who hid in the wheel arch of a plane from Nairobi to London falls into a garden in Clapham, south London, on the flight path to Heathrow. Aviation officials later indicate he could have been a Nairobi airport worker. (BBC News, 1, 3 July 2019)

7 July: A secret programme by the Home Office to deport rough sleepers using sensitive personal data acquired from homelessness charities is denounced by civil liberties groups as bypassing privacy and data protection laws. (Observer, 7 July 2019)

credit: @redfishstream

Citizenship and status

12 July: Hundreds of undocumented migrants mostly from West Africa, known as the ‘black vests’, storm the Panthéon mausoleum in Paris and demand the right to remain in France. (BBC News, 12 July 2019)

13 July: In Ireland, a High Court judge overturns a decision by the justice minister to refuse citizenship to a Nigerian woman because she is not ‘of good character’, having been cited as a witness in a child neglect case. (Irish Times, 13 July 2019).

The Libyan crisis

3/4 July:  53 migrants are killed as a missile hits a hangar housing around 120 refugees and migrants at the Tajoura detention centre, situated close to a militia HQ. US diplomats block a move to set up an independent inquiry which potentially could lead to war crimes charges. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)

12 July: In the run-up to the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Human Rights Watch, AI and ECRE issue a joint statement calling on EU states to facilitate the evacuation of detainees in migrant detention centres in Libya to safe spaces, including in Europe, and to issue a clear call to the Libyan authorities to close down the detention centres. (Reliefweb,  12 July 2019)

Reception and detention

7/8 July: Italian police use tear gas to break up protests after Sahid, a 32-year-old undocumented Bengali migrant, dies in an isolation unit at the Centre for Permanence and Repatriation detention facility in Turin. Fellow detainees say that the young man had been sexually assaulted at the facility prior to being placed in solitary confinement for fifteen days. (Are You Syrious, 7-8 July 2019)

8 July: A study by the data mapping project After Exploitation finds that in 2018, the Home Office held over 500 people in immigration detention after deciding that they were likely victims of trafficking, breaching the department’s own guidance. (Guardian, 8 July 2019)

Deportation

9 July: Activists claim that two people were beaten unconscious as German police attempted to repel 500 people spontaneously demonstrating against the deportation of a Kurdish man from their Leipzig neighbourhood, who were dispersed with pepper spray. (Perspektive Online, 9 July 2019)

Sea-Watch Captain Carola Rackete

13 July: Are you Syrious reports that since 9 July Afghan families facing deportation, with the support of Life without borders, have staged a peaceful sit-in at the Norra bantorget in Stockholm city. (Are you Syrious, 13 July 2019)

Crimes of solidarity

6 July: Thousands of people march in Hamburg, Bonn, Münster, Frankfurt, Oldenburg, Bremen, Berlin, Munich and Cologne in support of the German NGO vessel Sea-Watch 3 and its captain Carola Rackete, after her arrest in Italy. (Deutsche Welle in English, 6 July 2019)

8 July: Following the example set by Sea-Watch 3, the Italian-flagged Alex, run by NGO Mediterranea, defies the Italian interior minister and disembarks forty-one refugees at the port of Lampedusa. The captain is placed under investigation for aiding illegal immigration and the NGO is fined €16,000 as Salvini tweets ‘Jackals!’ ‘They should go to prison!’ (Guardian, 8 July 2019)

ELECTORAL POLITICS

5 July: At a Conservative party hustings event in Darlington, Boris Johnson says ‘too often there are parts of our country, parts of London and other cities as well, where English is not spoken by some people as their first language and that needs to change’, prompting speculation as to whether he is calling for immigrants to learn English or for the repatriation of all non-natives. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)

5 July: The European Network Against Racism claims a pattern of discrimination against non-white EU parliamentarians after Magid Magid, British Green party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, is asked to leave the Strasbourg parliament on his first day. The European parliament says no member of staff was involved. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)

12 July: The far-Right Freedom party of Austria suspends one of its elected representatives, who has not been named, following the deployment of a police tactical unit to deal with an incident in which the 57-year-old local politician in Bergheim flew into a rage and fired 29 pistol shots indiscriminately from his balcony.  No one was injured. (Deutsche Welle in English, 12 July 2019)

13 July: As it emerged that many Golden Dawn voters switched allegiance to New Democracy in the Greek general election, the Central Board of the Greek Jewish Communities calls on the new transport and infrastructure minister Makis Voridis to ‘repudiate his dark anti-Semitic past’. (Times of Israel, 13 July 2019, Haaretz, 9 July 2019)

14 July: Yiannis Lagos, recently elected to the European parliament for Golden Dawn and currently facing charges related to the murder of rapper Pavlos Fissas, has defected from the party, whose policies he says he no longer agrees with, to sit as an independent. (Times of Israel, 14 July 2019)

8 July: Brent Council adopts the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) definition of Islamophobia, which states that ‘Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’. (This is local London, 9 July 2019)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

5 July: A Newsnight investigation finds that far-right online abuse disproportionately targets female politicians, citing widespread abusive and misogynistic language, including threats of sexual assault, across mainstream and fringe social media platforms. Cases include abuse directed at Katharina Schulze, leader of the Greens in Bavaria, and at Sibeth Ndiaye, a government spokesperson in France. (BBC News, 15 July 2019)

5 July: Vox party activists including Jordi de la Fuente head a demonstration at the town hall and then an attack on a migrant minors’ hostel in Masnou, Barcelona, inciting violence against the residents, after a young person from the centre is arrested on suspicion of attempted rape. Four people are injured in the attack on the hostel.  (Catalunya Radio, 5 July 2019 (2 pieces)

6 July: German police stop the bands Sturmwehr (Storm Forces) and Unbeliebte Jungs (Unpopular Boys) from playing prohibited tracks at a festival in Themar, Thuringia. Anti-fascists had staged protests against the far-right rock concert. (Deutsche Welle in English, 6 July 2019)

7 July: A study by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue finds that the extreme rightwing ideology of ‘the great replacement’ that inspired the Christchurch mosque killer has been promoted so effectively by the far Right that it has entered mainstream political discourse. (Observer, 7 July 2019)

7 July: The neo-fascist Golden Dawn, previously the third-largest parliamentary grouping in Greece, scores just 2.98 per cent of the vote in the Greek general election and is left with no seats. But the newly-formed Greek Solution scores 3.7 per cent of the vote and wins 10 seats. (Guardian, 8 July 2019, Ekathemerini, 8 July 2019)

Desfile del orgullo gay en Madrid.

8 July: Madrid’s Gay Pride mobilises with the message ‘not one step back’ in protest at the far-right Vox party’s attack on LGBTQI rights. The centre-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) and the Popular Party are barred from the parade owing to their support for Vox in the Madrid and Murcia regional assemblies. (El Pais in English, 8 July 209)

10 July: Shelter Scotland expresses concern after Generation Identity Scotland Alba targets white  homeless people in the centre of Glasgow for food packages parcelled up with its branding and logo. (Daily Record, 10 July 2019)

10 July: Sir Mick Davis, chief executive of the Conservative Party and former Jewish Leadership Council chairman, condemns as a ‘betrayal of Jewish values’ the screening in front of a largely Jewish audience of Katie Hopkins’ anti-Muslim documentary Homelands at the Pillar Hotel in Hendon, hosted by Sharon Klaff and Ambrosine Shitrit – well-known Israel advocates and founders of Campaign4Truth. (Jewish Chronicle, 10 July 2019)

11 July: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, is given a nine-month sentence after being found guilty of contempt of court for breaching a reporting ban and encouraging ‘vigilante action’ and ‘unlawful physical’ aggression against defendants in a sexual exploitation trial at Leeds crown court. Reacting to the sentence, supporters hurl smoke bombs and fight with police outside the Old Bailey, before marching on Parliament, blocking roads, tearing down EU flags and verbally abusing and physically intimidating journalists. Four people are arrested. Earlier in the week, Robinson broadcast an appeal for asylum to the US president, claiming he could be killed in prison. (Guardian, Metro, 11 July 2019)

15 July: Northern Italian police investigating Italians who have fought in eastern Ukraine detain three men after uncovering a huge stash of automatic weapons, material featuring Nazi symbols and a three-metre missile. One of those arrested is Fabio Del Bergoli, who in 2001 was an electoral candidate for the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party. (Guardian, 15 July 2019)

15 July: Hans-Georg Maaßen, the dismissed former head of Germany’s intelligence agency, has drawn criticism for his use of Twitter to spread conspiracy theories after he shared a blog from the extreme-right Journalist Watch that claimed that a German TV broadcast on the arrest of Sea Watch captain Carola Rackete was a ‘piece of propaganda’ . (Guardian, 15 July 2019)

16 July: Following an investigation, the Electoral Commission announces that the now-defunct far-right party Britain First must pay a fine of more than £44,000 for electoral breaches, including undeclared donations and failure to provide proper accounts.  (Guardian, 16 July 2019)

EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION

10 July: Analysis by the Office for National Statistics reveals that workers of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage have the lowest median hourly pay of any ethnic group, with Bangladeshi workers earning 20.2 percent less than white British workers. London has the largest pay gap between white and ethnic minority groups, at 21.7 percent. (Guardian, 10 July 2019)

Credit: @Bbk_J4W

11 July: Cleaning staff at Birkbeck, supported by Unison, win their campaign to bring outsourced cleaning back in-house, which will give them more workplace rights. (Birkbeck Unison, 11 July 2019)

15 July: New research by the charity Unlock into the impact of criminal records on employment for BAME people shows that more than three-quarters of people surveyed (78 percent) felt their ethnicity made it harder for them to overcome the problems they faced as a result of having a criminal record. (HRM magazine, 15 July 2019)

HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

5 July: The Council of Europe Committee of Social Rights requests the Italian state to take immediate measures to protect the housing rights of Roma and end the destruction of Roma camps and forced evictions which trample procedural safeguards and fail to provide families with adequate alternative housing. (Amnesty International press release, 5 July 2019)

credit: Sisters Uncut

10 July: Hackney council is accused of ‘gross negligence’ by direct action group Sisters Uncut for its continued failure to rehouse two families living in Marian Court which is soon to be demolished. The council allegedly offered one family a vandalised property covered with threatening graffiti, in an area where they previously faced Islamophobic abuse, and offered a viewing to the other family on the same estate where a violent ex-partner lives. (Hackney Citizen, 10 July 2019)

EDUCATION

5 July: Freedom of information requests made by the Guardian to 131 universities show that students and staff have made at least 996 formal complaints of racism over the past five years, of which 367 were upheld, resulting in at least 78 student suspensions or expulsions and 51 staff suspensions, dismissals and resignations. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)

Shukri Yahya Abdi (Image: Family handout)

5 July: The family of Shukri Yahya Abdi, a 12-year-old refugee schoolgirl who drowned in the River Irwell, Bury, say that Shukri was bullied at school, and a petition calling for an investigation into the school’s anti-bullying policies has amassed more than 20,000 signatures. The family, originally from Somalia, call for a further investigation into her death and criticise the police’s characterisation of the death as an accident and their lack of communication with the family. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)

9 July: UK exam board Edexcel has included more BAME authors, including Malorie Blackman and Benjamin Zephaniah, in its English GCSE syllabus following calls for the curriculum to be more ethnically diverse. (Voice online, 9 July 2019)

9 July: Figures released by the police show that bullying incidents in schools in Aberdeenshire and the Highlands in the last two years reached the level of ‘hate crimes’, with four incidents linked to race and one in which a disabled pupil was bullied. (Press and Journal, 9 July 2019)

10 July: An eight-year-old schoolboy has been awarded £3,500 in compensation by Tower Hamlets council after teachers wrongly assumed the name on his T-shirt was an Isis terrorist and reported him to social services. (The Huffington Post, 10 July 2019)

15 July: Kirklees Council approves plans for Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield to be closed following imposition of special measures and a poor Ofsted inspection, and nine months after a teenage Syrian refugee was filmed being attacked by another pupil at the school in October 2018. A petition against the proposal has been signed by more than 1,250 people. (BBC News, 15 July 2019)

MEDIA AND CULTURE

credit: @lgsmigrants

5 July: Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) place alternative pro-refugee and anti-homelessness ads on buses along the Pride Route questioning why the Home Office, the Metropolitan police and global corporations are able to participate in this year’s Pride while ‘marginalised groups’ can’t afford to participate.’ (Guardian, 5 July 2019)

9 July: The Muslim Council of Britain publishes a study of coverage of Islam and Muslims in British news outlets, which cites the Mail on Sunday as having the most negative coverage of all, with 78 percent of its stories featuring Muslims having negative themes, above an already-high industry average of 59 percent. (Guardian, 9 July 2019)

11 July: The Labour party makes a formal complaint to the BBC about its ‘unbalanced’ programme ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’, warning that it could be viewed as an attempt at undue influence into the EHRC investigation into the Labour party’s disciplinary and complaints procedure. The BBC has failed to investigate Islamophobia amongst Conservative party members, it points out, adding that John Ware was an ‘unsuitable’ choice as producer, given a series of articles and programmes on the Muslim community, including the 2005 Panorama programme ‘British Muslims: A Question of Leadership’, which has been described as ‘McCarthyite’. (Labour List, 10 July 2019)

SPORT

10 July: Arsenal FC complains about ‘unacceptable racial abuse’ of Jordi Osei-Tutu – on loan to the German side VfL Bochum – at a cup fixture against St. Gallen, with the Swiss club suggesting that they are not going to take any further action. (Goal.com, 10 July 2019)

RACIST VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

3 July: In a case brought by anti-racist group Licra, six men are found guilty of planning an attack on a Roma camp in Paris in March following fake news posted online that Roma were kidnapping children in the north-eastern suburb of Bobigny. Two sentences were suspended, while the remaining four were sentenced to five to six months in prison. (New York Times, 3 July 2019)

10 July: Beirut Today reports that the condition of Daniel Ezzedine, a 17-year-old German exchange student of Lebanese descent, has improved since he was left with life-threatening injuries and placed in an induced coma following a mob attack in Canterbury. An anti-racist crowdfunding campaign has meant that his family, who are Lebanese nationals in Germany, could afford to come to the UK to stay by his bedside. (Beirut Today, 10 July 2019)

11 July: At Dunfermline Sheriff Court, a 50-year-old man is given a community payback order for acting in a racially aggravated manner towards a nurse who was examining him at a police station in April 2019. (Dunfermline Press, 11 July 2019)

12 July: Police remove two women from a Thomas Cook flight from Turkey to Gatwick after they allegedly call three Muslim men ‘terrorists’ and a ‘threat’ to safety. (Independent, 14 July 2019)

12 July: A woman apologises for posting racist comments on social media after a six-year-old girl tried to bring a ceremonial religious knife into school in Rotherham. (Rotherham Advertiser, 12 July 2019)

15 July: Joan Ellis, a Labour councillor for Cockermouth’s Christchurch ward, calls on Allerdale council to publicly condemn racism after a woman and her children were subjected to racist abuse in Workington town centre earlier this month. (News and Star, 15 July 2019)

 

This calendar was compiled by the IRR News Team with the help of  Ifhat Shaheen-Smith and Graeme Atkinson.

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

Comments

No comments yet.

Write a comment