Calendar of racism and resistance (1 – 18 August 2019)

August 22, 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.

ASYLUM AND MIGRATION

Asylum and migrant rights

3 August: Italy grants refugee status to Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, the Eritrean man who served three years in prison after being mistaken for an international human trafficker. (Guardian, 3 August 2019)

Universal Credit logo

5 August: Law centres and welfare advisers report a surge in cases of wrongful refusal of universal credit to EU citizens on the ground that they have no legal right to reside in the UK, leading to destitution and homelessness. Although almost all appeals succeed, resulting in back payments, the appeal process takes 40 weeks on average. (Guardian, 5 August 2019)

8 August: Visa restrictions are to be eased for top scientists, says the prime minister, to ensure the country will not lose scientific talent post-Brexit. (Guardian, 8 August 2019)

18 August: MPs and lawyers call for a review of outsourcing of immigration services after it is revealed that Home Office profits from visa fees surged to £1.6bn in the five years since it outsourced most overseas visa operations to Dubai-based VFS, a ninefold increase on the previous five years. (Independent, 18 August 2019)

18 August: Campaign group EveryDoctor says dozens of doctors from outside the EU face financial hardship, and patient care is put at risk through delays, because of the privatised visa system. The complaints mirror those received by Universities UK from thousands of students. Delays and lack of capacity at French company SopraSteria force students and doctors to pay hundreds of pounds for ‘premium’ services for document scanning and biometrics in order to submit applications in time, on top of visa fees and NHS health surcharge costs. (Guardian, 29 July, 18 August 2019)

Reception and detention

7 August: Eris Petty Stone, a 28-year-old Nigerian woman, dies in a fire at the Metaponto di Bernalda buildings in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, where hundreds of migrant workers live in precarious sanitary conditions, some for many years. (InfoMigrants, 8 August 2019)

8 August: The Court of Appeal rejects a Home Office application to hold the inquiry into abuse at Brook House detention centre in private and to allow the 21 G4S staff involved in the allegations not to give evidence. (Guardian, 8 August 2019)

15 August: Home Office data obtained by the SNP reveals over 3,000 hunger strikes of 48 hours or more in UK immigration detention centres since 2015. Campaigners say the data underestimate the numbers of hunger strikes. (Guardian, 15 August 2019)

Borders and internal controls

3 August: Nearly 40 mostly Iranian and Iraqirefugees are detained after crossing the English Channel in small boats. The Home Office says it has returned at least 50 Channel crossers to Europe.(Evening Standard, 5 August 2019)

4 August: Following negotiations by the German government, 40 migrants rescued by Sea Eye’s Alan Kurdi boat land in Malta after Italy refuses landing. (Guardian, 4 August 2019)

5 August: The Returns Network accuses Frontex and national border guards, particularly in Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary, of human rights abuses against migrants and refugees, with some border guards using nightsticks and pepper spray to subdue displaced people, and dogs to chase them through forests. (Deutsche Welle, 5 August 2019)

6 August: David Baker, a white university professor and neuroimmunology specialist, criticises border security databases, saying he has been stopped almost a hundred times at airports over seven years despite having no criminal record. (Guardian, 6 August 2019)

7 August: The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights condemns the ‘ever more intrusive surveillance system by the UK welfare state’ in a message delivered to a Right to Work, Right to Welfare conference on the impact of surveillance on asylum seekers and benefits claimants. (Guardian, 7 August 2019)

8 August: The Open Arms rescue ship operated by NGO Proactiva Open Arms calls on the French, German and Spanish governments to intervene after nine days in international waters with 121 rescued migrants including 32 children, refused permission to land in Italy or Malta. (Guardian, 8 August 2019)

9 August: Calais Migrant Solidarity reports that a young migrant woman drowned after falling overboard a dinghy whose other occupants were rescued, off the Kent coast near Ramsgate. (Are You Syrious, 13 August 2019)

11 August: Ibiza’s mayor, Rafel Ruiz, tweets Italy’s Salvini, ‘Clean your mouth out, fascist with no soul!’ after Salvini tweets that the 120 migrants on the rescue ship Open Arms to whom he has refused boarding could be taken to the Spanish Balearic island ‘to have fun’. (Diario de Ibiza, 11 August 2019)

13 August: No Borders and Aegean Boat Report say the death by drowning of a 31-year-old man in seas just 600 metres off the Greek island of Chios was a totally preventable and needless death.  (Are You Syrious, 14 August 2019)

14 August: Super-sensitive security scanners being developed by Cardiff University scientists will detect migrants hiding in vehicles travelling at up to 100 mph, even if they are hidden inside packing crates, it is reported. (Belfast Telegraph, 14 August 2019)

Criminalising solidarity

5 August: The Italian parliament adopts ‘Security Decree B’ which will empower the authorities to confiscate rescue boats and impose fines of up to €1 million on captains landing migrants without authorisation. (The Local, 6 August 2019)

11 August: After actor Richard Gere broadcast an appeal for search and rescue NGO Proactiva Open Arms, Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini tells him to take the refugees back to Hollywood and house them himself. (Guardian, 11 August 2019)

The Libyan crisis

31 July: The BBC reports on a Somali man who committed suicide by self-immolation at the Triq al-Sikkadetention centre in Tripoli after hearing that he was not on a UN list of refugees to be evacuated. (BBC News, 31 July 2019)

Deportation

11 August: Restraints including shackles, rigid-bar handcuffs and waist-restraint belts were used 447 times during deportations in the year to March 2019, with more than one form of restraint used in three-quarters of cases, despite a presumption against the use of restraints, the Guardian reveals. (Guardian, 11 August 2019)

12 August: The Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that in the first half of 2019, German federal police used shackles and other restraints during deportations more than in the whole of 2018 and more than ten times as often as in the whole of 2015 – a total of 1,289 instances of  foot or hand restraints, straps or tape during deportations, usually by plane. (Are You Syrious, 12 August 2019)

Citizenship

7 August: The high court refuses the father of Ashraf Islam, a British-born student who disappeared to join ISIL aged 18 in 2015, permission to judicially review the home secretary’s revocation of his citizenship. (UK Human Rights Blog, 19 August 2019)

9 August: Changes to Germany’s immigration and nationality laws come into force, making deportation easier, citizenship harder to obtain and easier to lose, and allowing for data exchange between governmental bodies for residence and asylum purposes. (AYS, ASYL, 8 August 2019)

10 August: Lawyers for Shamima Begum, who is stuck in Syria awaiting an appeal against the decision to revoke her citizenship, say the appeal is being deliberately delayed to give police time to charge her with a terrorism offence. No date has yet been fixed for the appeal, which was lodged six months ago. (Guardian, 10 August 2019)

POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

3 August: People in the French city of Nantes take to the streets to protest police brutality and demand justice for 22-year-old Steve Maia Caniço, who disappeared after the police broke up a free techno concert in June, and whose body was later pulled from the Loire river. The protests are met with tear gas and water cannon. (Independent, 2 August 2019, Al Jazeera, 4 August 2019)

8 August: Liberty denounces as ‘shameful’ a decision by South Wales police to press on with handheld facial recognition systems even as it faces a court challenge over the technology. (Guardian, 8 August 2019)

8 August: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigates whether the police treated the Somali refugee family of Shukri Yahya Abdi, who drowned in the River Irwell in June, ‘less favourably because of their ethnic background’.  Greater Manchester police continue to investigate her death.  (Guardian, 9 August 2019)

9 August: The Ministry of Defence apologises and launches an investigation into how two children attending a Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force summer camp in Northumberland were arrested and detained in a cell, and why their mother was not informed of their arrest. Both boys, aged 13 and 14, say they were subjected to repeated racist behaviour at the camp, and were placed in isolation before being formally arrested and handcuffed. (Guardian, 9 August 2018)

11 August: Prime minister Boris Johnson uses the Mail on Sunday to announce plans to extend jail terms, build 10,000 more prison places and give police more stop and search powers, following the plan for 20,000 extra police announced in July. Critics say random stop and search inflames tensions and none of the proposed measures reduces crime. (BBC News, 11 August 2019)

12 August: Johnson pledges £100 million extra for prison security including x-ray scanners and metal detectors. (Guardian, 12 August 2019)

12 August: Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick apologises for telling the Home Affairs Committee that the force met campaigning group Stopwatch ‘really regularly’ after the group said they had never met her and their last meeting with senior officers was three years ago. (Guardian, 12 August 2019)

15 August: The Information Commissioner launches an investigation into the owners of the Kings Cross estate, which surrounds the railway terminus and includes offices, colleges, shops and restaurants, for possible breaches of data protection laws by scanning the public with facial recognition cameras.  (Independent, 15 August 2019)

16 August: As Big Brother Watch and Liberty condemn the ‘epidemic’ of facial recognition technology, freedom of information responses show that Kent and West Midlands police, named as collaborating with the Home Office in a pilot of facial recognition technology, deny any such collaboration and are resisting the trials. (Observer, 17 August 2019)

16 August: West Midlands police say they will not implement new powers designed to lower the level of authorisation needed to carry out stop and search, currently being piloted nationwide on the orders of the home secretary, on the ground that it is unnecessary and a ‘pre-election gimmick’. (Guardian, 16 August 2019)

Knife crime and related issues

14 August: The Home Office is accused of racism after funding a scheme to send 321,000 chicken boxes with the logo #knifefree to 210 chicken shop outlets to replace the usual boxes, legitimising the ‘age old trope’ that black people love fried chicken.  (Guardian, 14 August 2019)

ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT

 3 August: Twenty-four supporters of the jailed Tommy Robinson, as well as anti-fascist counter-protesters, are arrested after congregating in Oxford Circus and attempting to march on Downing Street, in breach of conditions imposed under the Public Order Act. Police draw batons outside the BBC headquarters as pro-Robinson supporters move against anti-fascist counter demonstrators. (Guardian, 3, 4 August 2019)

3 August: After 26 people are shot dead and a further 26 are wounded at El Paso, Texas, Latino Rebels posts the alleged killer’s manifesto, which acknowledges and builds on the Grand Replacement theory of French New Right author Renaud Camus. (Latino Rebels, 3 August 2019)

5 August: Düsseldorf police intervene at the Rheinbad open-air swimming pool after fifty far-right sympathisers from the Bruderschaft Deutschland (Brotherhood Germany), attempting to stage a protest against migration, are denied admission. The fascists moved to the pool after attempting to disrupt the vigil at Düsseldorf’s main train station for an 8-year-old boy who died after being pushed under a train (see electoral politics below). (The Local, 5 August 2019)

5 August: Following the shooting dead of twenty people by a white supremacist at El Paso, Texas, the far-right web-forum 8chan, where the killer spread his manifesto, is forced offline after losing its cyber-security protection provided by Cloudflare. The security firm BitMitigate, which claims to have ‘a proven commitment to liberty’ and stepped in to help the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer when it lost its Cloudfare protection in 2017, is tipped to take over as the new administrator. (BBC News, 5 August 2019)

7 August: Fabrizio Piscitelli, known as Diabolik, former boss of football club Lazio’s far-right ultras, the Irriducibili, is shot dead in a Rome park. (Guardian, 8 August 2019)

8 August: The BBC broadcasts an in-depth report on serious neo-nazi violence, including arson, in Berlin’s Neukölln district where a series of far-right attacks on politicians, bookshops, arts venues and ordinary citizens has gone unprosecuted by police. (BBC, 8 August 2019).

8 August: London Metropolitan University says it is reviewing policies for private hire after a book event at its Holloway Road campus was cancelled at the last moment, following the discovery that the hosts, Vortex Londinium, are an offshoot of the Italian far-right group Casapound. (Islington Gazette, 8 August 2019)

10 August: Online postings express admiration for the massacre at two New Zealand mosques by a far-right activist, shortly before their 21-year-old author allegedly enters an Oslo mosque with several guns and shoots at worshippers before being disarmed. (Guardian, 12 August 2019)

10 August:  Anti-fascists demonstrate in Lisbon, heavily outnumbering delegates from European  far-right groups attending a conference organised by Portugal’s Nova Ordem Social and addressed by its leader Mario Machado,  who spent a decade behind bars for multiple crimes.  (Reuters, 10 August 2019)

NATIONAL SECURITY

15 August: The trial of Nizar Trabelzi in the United States is suspended after a Brussels appeal court rules that it would breach international human rights law to try Trabelzi for an attempted suicide attack on a US military base in Belgium, for which he was convicted in 2004 and served a sentence in Belgium before his extradition to the US in 2013. (Supermax, 16 August 2019)

ELECTORAL POLITICS UK

10 August: Richard Braine is elected to succeed Gerard Batten as leader of UKIP. During the leadership race he argued that some UK towns and cities were no-go areas for non-Muslims. (Guardian, 14 August 2019)

ELECTORAL POLITICS EUROPE

1 August: On the eve of Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day, Matteo Salvini tweets ‘dirty Gypsy, the bulldozer is coming’ in response to a Roma woman saying he deserved ‘a bullet in the head’ for his anti-Roma policies. (Independent, 3 August 2019)

HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

 5 August: The western Swedish town of Eskilstuna introduces an official  begging permit costing SEK250 (£21), which the Stads mission charity says will increase opportunities for exploitation, particularly of the Roma, with criminal gangs paying for people’s permit applications and then demanding extortionate repayments. (Guardian, 5 August 2019)

10 August: Chagossian families with young children in Crawley are ‘dumped’ in unsafe or inappropriate accommodation for years, with one nearly three-year-old child ‘temporarily’ housed in a hotel with alcoholics and drug addicts since birth, the Observer reports. (Observer, 10 August 2019)

13 August: Residents of Treves House and Lister House celebrate victory against social cleansing as Tower Hamlets council reverses its decision to demolish the Whitechapel tower blocks and build private housing after a two-year campaign. (Guardian, 14 August 2019)

14 August: A fire risk assessment obtained by Inside Housing on a block of flats in Hortensia Road, Kensington and Chelsea, where Grenfell Tower survivors have been rehoused, shows a high risk of fire. (Inside Housing, 15 August 2019)

 EDUCATION

11 August: New National Union of Students president Zamzam Ibrahim calls for the Prevent programme to be scrapped in universities, which should do more to tackle racism on campus. (Guardian, 11 August 2019)

EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION

7 August: The USB agricultural workers’ union in Metaponto, southern Italy, reports that a 28–year-old  female migrant agricultural worker, named only as Petty, died in a fire in a makeshift camp in a former industrial area  of Felandina, where 500 people live without water or electricity in deplorable conditions compounded by institutional indifference. (Are You Syrious, 7 August 2019)

 SPORT

1 August: The FA fines Milwall FC £10,000 and orders it to implement an action plan against racist chanting, after complaints at its FA cup match against Everton last season. (Guardian, 1 August 2019)

1 August: German football club Babelsberg announces that next season the team’s jersey will carry the logo of Seebrücke (Sea-bridge). The club, which is based in Potsdam, near Berlin, says it wants ‘to support Seebrücke’s political engagement for the right to flee and against the criminalisation of civilian sea rescue’. (The Hour, 1 August 2019)

1 August: Khadijah Mellah, an 18-year-old from Peckham, becomes the first jockey to ride in a race in Britain wearing a hijab, also making history by riding the winner at the Magnolia charity cup in Goodwood. (Guardian, 1 August 2019)

5 August: Daniel Frahn, captain of German league team Chemnitzer FC, is sacked following his decision, when injured, not to watch a fixture from the bench but to sit with leading members of a far-right hooligan group. (Politico.eu, 5 August 2019)

5 August:  Kick It Out calls on the Football Association and clubs to take action after  ‘disgraceful’ incidents of racist abuse against  Southend, Stoke City and Barnsley players  which marred the opening weekend of the season. The sister of Fulham player Cyrus Christie was also subjected to violence and racist abuse from fans, it claims. (Guardian, 5 August 2019)

6 August: Nottingham Forest FC denounces racist social media messages sent to Derby County player Duane Holmes by someone claiming to be a Forest fan, and bars the suspect from matches, as police investigate. (Guardian, 6 August 2019)

7 August: Following an outcry from fans and former players, Clemens Tönnies, the billionaire chairman of the German league club Schalke, temporarily steps down after saying that more power stations should be built in Africa, ‘then Africans would stop felling trees and producing children when it gets dark’.  The club says the comments were discriminatory, but not racist. (Guardian, 7 August 2019)

14 August: Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham is subjected to online racist abuse after missing a penalty in a Super Cup match against Liverpool. He vows to ‘silence the haters’. (Sky Sports, 19 August 2019)

15 August: Queens Park Rangers FC reacts angrily to claims by the Spanish club AD Nervión that the racist abuse suffered by one of its players in an under-18 friendly fixture in Seville was caused by the player acting unprofessionally. QPR withdrew its team from the fixture after players complained of being subjected to monkey noises and racist abuse from the Seville-based team. (Guardian, 15 August 2019)

DISCRIMINATION

 1 August: Dutch police and transport companies signal that they are unwilling to enforce the Partial Ban on Face-Covering Clothing Act (otherwise known as the burqa ban). Police are uncomfortable with the idea that veiled women may be deterred by the law from entering police stations, and transport companies say staff will not take on an enforcement role. (Guardian,1 August 2019)

13 August: Twenty-three signatories prominent in academia, law, politics and the arts sign a letter saying Tower Hamlets’ ban on a charity bike ride for Palestinian children, fearing accusations of anti-Semitism under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, bears out fears of bodies such as IRR that freedom of expression on Palestine is being suppressed. (Guardian, 13 August 2019)

14 August: After Citizens Advice BAME Network criticises an internal training document  as perpetuating racist stereotypes, it is taken off the organisation’s website and an investigation launched. The document lists ‘common traits’ allegedly found within BAME communities,  including a distrust of British authorities,  gender bias and discrimination and a cultural focus on honour and shame. (Guardian, 14 August 2019)

15 August: A report by the Runnymede Trust and Leeds University, Class, Race and Inequality in Northern Towns, warns that an obsession with the ‘white working class’ ignores deep racial and ethnic inequalities in the north of England and warps policy. Read the report here. (Guardian, 15 August 2019)

MEDIA AND CULTURE

 11 August: As bullfighting returns to Mallorca after the supreme court overturned a ban, Jorge Campos, leader of the far-right Vox party, arrives draped in a Spanish flag, as the arena’s sound system plays the fascist anthem Cara al Sol. (Guardian, 11 August 2019)

11 August: London mayor Sadiq Khan backs proposals in a Fabian Society report, Capital Gains, for a slavery museum in the city to address Britain’s role in the slave trade. (Guardian, 11 August 2019)

RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

1 August: A new report from the Community Security Trust records 892 anti-Semitic incidents, more of a third of which involved social media, and says it is the third year in a row that reports of anti-Semitic incidents have risen. (Guardian, 1 August 2019)

1 August: A 15-year-old girl wearing traditional Pakistani clothing is shot in the face with an airgun pellet as she plays with her younger siblings in a Ballymena park, and her kitchen window is shot at, in what police are treating as racist attacks. (Belfast Telegraph, 2 August 2019)

8 August: Northumbria police, Sunderland and South Tyneside councils recruit ‘hate crime champions’ to educate local communities to stop hate crimes and to help victims. (Sunderland Echo, 9 August 2019)

8 August: A 49-year-old Spanish woman, originally from the Dominican Republic, is racially abused on a bus in Madrid, spat on, hit and told to ‘go back to your country’. (El Pais, 8 August 2019)

10 August: Philip Manshaus, a 21-year-old Norwegian man with far-right opinions, is overpowered by a worshipper as he opens fire at the al-Noor Islamic centre Bærum, Oslo, injuring one man. He is charged with planning a terrorist attack as well as the murder of his step- sister whose body was discovered at his address. (Guardian, 12 August 2019).

12 August: Windows are smashed at the home of a Syrian family in Armagh which had racist graffiti daubed on it two days before. Local politicians express shock and disgust. (Belfast Telegraph, 13 August 2019)

13 August: Newham Council announces a project whereby victims of racist crimes can report them at twelve local sites including mosques. (Newham Recorder, 13 August 2019)

14 August: A 27-year-old man is sentenced to a hate crime awareness programme, community work and compensation for racially aggravated threatening behaviour in Hull. (Hull Live, 14 August 2019)

14 August: Berlin police investigate after a 55-year-old Jewish man is pushed to the ground in what is being treated as an anti-Semitic attack. (Haaretz, 14 August 2019)

15 August: An expenditure review on direct provision accommodation, carried out by the Irish justice department, concludes that arson attacks on such accommodation may be putting off  owners in the hotel and guest house sector whose properties are urgently needed to house asylum seekers. (Irish Times, 15 August 2019)

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