Calendar of racism and resistance (1 August – 3 September 2015)

September 10, 2015 — News

Written by IRR News Team

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

Immigration and asylum

24 July: The government’s system for monitoring companies it pays to run migrant detention centres is called into question after a year-long Freedom of Information battle wins disclosure of confidential ‘self-audits’. The documents reveal how contractors are paid according to their own monthly performance reports. (Corporate Watch, 24 July 2015)

27 July: The Home Office announces it will cease funding Refugee Action’s voluntary returns programme ‘Choices’ at the end of 2015, and will directly deliver a service by itself and curtail its scope so that non-vulnerable irregular migrants will no longer be eligible. (Read a briefing by Refugee Action here)

30 July: Kent County Council calls on the Home Office for help after revealing it faces a £5.5 million funding shortfall as a result of the increasing numbers of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. (Children & Young People Now, 31 July 2015)

Calais_fence30 July: Work begins on high-security fencing supplied by the UK government around train platforms near terminals in Calais to stop asylum seekers attempting to reach the UK. (BBC News, 31 July 2015)

2 August: The Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) is given permission to challenge a procedure rule which allows tribunals to withhold material from appellants. ILPA claims the rule is ultra vires and incompatible with the rule of law. (Law Gazette, 2 August 2015)

2 August: In a local referendum, the residents of Gabčíkovo, south of Bratislava, Slovakia, overwhelmingly reject an Austrian plan to outsource the accommodation of asylum seekers to a former university building in the town while their claims are processed in Austria. The vote is not binding on the government. (Asylum Information Database, 3 August 2015) 

2 August: A rally in Folkestone, to show support for migrants in Calais, is attacked and disrupted by the EDL and Britain First. (Morning Star, 3 August 2015)

4 August: An official consultation paper released by the Home Office proposes that, as of 1 July 2016, refused asylum seekers and their families will be denied financial support. (Guardian, 4 August 2015)

4 August: The new Immigration Bill contains further proposals to punish landlords who fail to check the immigration status of tenants, on top of measures in the 2014 Immigration Act. Landlords face fines, up to five years in prison or further sanctions under the Proceeds of Crime Act. (Guardian, 4 August 2015)

The Verne

The Verne

7 August: An unnamed 30-year-old man from Uganda is found dead at the Verne Immigration removal centre on Portland, Dorset. (Dorset Echo, 7 August 2015)

8 August: Hundreds of campaigners hold a ‘Shut down Yarl’s Wood’ demonstration outside the removal centre in Bedford. (Right to Remain, 11 August 2015)

8 August: Freedom of Information Requests made by The Economist reveal that a recent pilot scheme in the Midlands to make landlords check the immigration status of tenants has only issued seven landlords with notices and that it had probably encouraged discrimination as properties were more likely to be made available to Britons rather than non-Britons. (Economist, 8 August 2015)

11 August: HM Inspector of Prisons publishes a Report on an unannounced inspection of The Verne Immigration Removal Centre, 2 – 13 March 2015. Download it here.

12 August: Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre is branded a ‘national concern’ in an HMIP inspection report which emphasised that women are being detained in contravention of government policy. Download the report here. (Western Daily Express12 August 2015)

16 August: Figures obtained by the Express & Star show Haringey and Croydon councils have been using companies to house asylum seekers in the West Midlands, rather than finding accommodation in the capital. (Express and Star, 16 August 2015)

16 August: The Herald reports that asylum seekers in Scotland will have to wait even longer to have their cases heard as the number of cases being heard at Scotland’s only immigration court has been reduced. (Herald Scotland, 16 August 2015)

18 August: UK Visas and Immigration publishes guidance on: ‘Handling complaints in immigration removal centres’. Download it here.

Eurotunnel24 August: Sudanese man Abdul Rahman Haroun appears in Canterbury Crown Court, charged under the Malicious Damages Act 1861, having been arrested on 4 August after walking the length of Eurotunnel to the UK and being arrested. (Guardian, 24 August 2015)

25 August: It is revealed that the government’s new Immigration Bill will include powers to remove the trading licences of late-night takeaways, pubs and off-licences which employ undocumented workers, as well as making it easier to prosecute owners and managers. (Guardian, 25 August 2015)

25 August: Many people are removed from a charter deportation flight to Afghanistan after days of legal challenges. An earlier ruling found that it was only safe to return to three provinces – Kabul, Bamiyan and Panjshir, and too dangerous to return asylum seekers to all other parts of Afghanistan. (Guardian, 26 August 2015)

27 August: Women detained at the Serco-run Yarl’s Wood removal centre in Bedford speak to the Bedford Times and Citizen about the conditions and lack of healthcare at the centre. (Bedford Times and Citizen, 27 August 2015)

27 August: Human rights organisations have criticised new guidance on Eritrea after the number of Eritrean’s granted refugee status falls; the group has serious concerns about the guidance report which is based on one commissioned for the Danish government. (Guardian, 27 August 2015)

28 August: Hornsey and Wood Green MP, Catherine West, has written to the home secretary to complain after she is refused permission by the Ministry of Justice to visit Yarl’s’ wood removal centre. (Ham & High, 28 August 2015)

30 August: Campaigners travelling back from Calais after providing assistance to refugees are stopped in Dover, questioned and allegedly threatened by border officials. (RS21, 30 August 2015)

31 August: 20,000 people protest outside Westbanhof train station in Vienna after 71 refugees were found suffocated to death in an abandoned truck. (The Local, 31 August 2015)

Czech_police_marking_refugees2 September: Czech authorities pull around 200 refugees trying to reach Germany off a train in southern Moravia and mark them with numbers on their forearms before taking them to detention centres where a spokesperson said they will interrogate them and ‘then they will decide what to do with them’. (Britské Listy, 3 September 2015)

2 September: After the bodies of 71 refugees are discovered in the back of a lorry on an Austrian motorway between Neusiedl and Parndorf, a Hungarian government spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, tells state television, ‘the migrants brought the tragedy on themselves’. (Guardian, 2 September 2015)Migrants_dead_Austria

2 September: It is reported that a man who survived a journey stowed away in the undercarriage of a plane, from Johannesburg to Heathrow, has been released from hospital and detained at Harmondsworth. The police have reported that two men were travelling tother when one of them fell to his death as the plane approached Heathrow. (BBC News, 27 August 2015; 2 September 2015)

3 September: The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants finds that a trial in the Midlands to make landlords check the immigration status of prospective tenants has resulted in ‘increased racial profiling’. (BBC News, 3 September 2015)

4 September: Croydon Council threatens the Home Office with legal action after losing £4million from its budget to deal with young asylum seekers. (Croydon Advertiser, 4 September 2015)

8 September: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a Report on an unannounced inspection of the short-term holding facility at Heathrow Airport Terminal 3. Download the report here

8 September: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a Report on an unannounced inspection of the short-term holding facility at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4. Download the report here

8 September: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a Report on an unannounced inspection of the short-term holding facility at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Download the report here

8 September: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a Report on an unannounced inspection of the short-term holding facility at London City Airport. Download the report here.

9 September: The Children’s Commissioner finds that at last 15,000 children have been separated from a parent because of income rules which affect some non-EU migrants. (BBC News, 9 September 2015)

Policing and criminal justice system

GurpalVirdi27 July: A retired Metropolitan police sergeant, who won a series of racial discrimination claims against the force, is cleared of racially and sexually abusing a teenager 29 years ago. The judge at Southwark Crown Court said that the allegations may have been a part of a conspiracy against the retired sergeant. (Channel 4 News, 27 July 2015)

31 July: A court is told that Nicola Short, one of the police officers involved in the death of Sheku Bayoh in May 2015, is ‘not fit for trial [on breaching data protection laws] due to a complicated medical state following on from an incident in Kirkcaldy.’ (Daily Record, 1 August 2015)

4 August: On the fourth anniversary of his death, the mother of Mark Duggan calls for an urgent public inquiry into events that led to the shooting. Sign the petition calling for a public inquiry into Mark Duggan’s death here. (Guardian, 4 August 2015)Mark-Duggan

6 August: The family of Aston McLean Williams mark the year since his death after being knocked over by a police vehicle in Reading. His family are still waiting to bury him a year on as the IPCC continues its investigation. (Reading Chronicle, 6 August 2015)

6 August: Five children of Cherry Groce, whose shooting by a police officer led to the 1985 Brixton uprisings, are to sue the Metropolitan police for the damage caused to them after she was paralysed in the raid almost 30 years ago. (Guardian6 August 2015)

7 August: Analysis of new figures finds that black people are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police in England and Wales; in 36 (out of 39) forces black people are targeted more than white people. (Independent, 7 August 2015)

17 August: A man who has been subjected to a fourteen-month campaign of racial harassment is given a conditional discharge and is ordered to pay £350 costs and a £15 victim surcharge after those involved made counter-allegations. (Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council, 17 August 2015) 

18 August: Northamptonshire police agree to strip officers of stop and search rights if it is suspected they have abused powers. (Guardian, 17 August 2015)

18 August: The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) publishes its Bereaved Families Survey 2013-15. Download it here.

20 August: The Lord Chancellor publishes revised guidance on civil legal aid funding in inquest cases. View it here.

Faruk Ali

Faruk Ali

25 August: Two police officers, PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts, are to face a misconduct hearing following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into their conduct following an incident in which an autistic man, Faruk Ali, suffered serious injuries after being stopped by the two officers outside his Luton home in February 2014. (Dunstable Today, 25 August 2015)

25 August: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a Report on an announced thematic inspection of the Close Supervision Centre System. Download it here.

26 August: The family of Leon Briggs, who died in the custody of Luton police in November 2013, is again told that the investigation and report into his death has been delayed. (Luton News, 26 August 2015)

30 August: The Daily Record reports on the numerous injuries sustained by Sheku Bayoh during his arrest by up to nine police officers in Fife in May 2015. It is also revealed that the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner has commissioned reports on a condition known as ‘excited delirium’. (Daily Record, 30 August 2015)

Daily Record

Daily Record

2 September: The Independent Police Complaints Commission publishes IPCC guidelines for handling allegations of discrimination. Download the guidelines here (pdf file, 736kb).

3 September: The Independent Police Complaints Commission expands its investigation into the actions of six police officers after a Romanian man lost the tips of three fingers while in the custody of Colchester police earlier this year. (Daily Gazette, 3 September 2015)

3 September: The Guardian reveals that police in Brent have sent a letter to young people demanding their attendance at a local community meeting and suggesting if they fail to attend that its sends a ‘clear message that you intend to continue with your criminal lifestyle.’ (Guardian, 3 September 2015)

6 September: Hundreds march through Kirkcaldy to demand justice for Sheku Bayoh, who died after being arrested by police in May 2015. (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, 7 September 2015)

sean_rigg8 September: Sergeant Paul White appears at Westminster magistrates court charged with perjury following an investigation into his evidence to the inquest into the death of Sean Rigg who died at Brixton police station in August 2008. (Guardian, 8 September 2015)

9 September: The Home Office has begun a consultation into ‘Police powers’. The consultation closes on 31 October 2015. View details about the consultation here

Violence and harassment

26 July: A white supremacist, Richard John Harris, who nearly severed an Asian man’s ear from his scalp in a racist attack following the murder of Lee Rigby in 2013, has an application to have his five-year prison sentence reduced rejected by judges. (Wales Online, 24 July 2015)

30 July: The Community Security Trust Antisemitic Incidents Report, January–June 2015. Download the report here.

31 July: A trial date is set for December for John Keller, who faces charges of racially aggravated assault causing ABH following an attack on a disabled man waiting for a bus in Bishop Auckland in July. (Northern Echo, 1 August 2015)

1 August: A woman is hit over the head with a rod and racially abused by two white men in a racist attack in Wembley. (Brent & Kilburn Times, 7 August 2015)

6 August: Police issue photos and an appeal for witnesses after an elderly man was pushed over and racially abused while he was travelling on a train from Birmingham to Euston in May. (London24, 6 August 2015)

6 August: Pastor James McConnell appears in court charged with improper use of a public electronic communications network after making an anti-Islamic sermon between May 17 and 22. (Newtownabbey Today, 5 August 2015)

6 August: After being declared unfit to stand trial, pensioner Harvey Cole is placed under supervision after a jury find that he assaulted a taxi driver in a racially aggravated manner by attempting to strangle him as they drove to Cardiff. (He has a previous conviction for a similar offence.) (Wales Online, 6 August 2015)

7 August: Michael O’Leary, 36, loses an appeal against a sentence of eight years after admitting assault and wounding for attacking a shopkeeper saying he ‘wanted to kill a Muslim’. The judge ruled that the sentence was justified because of the serious and racial nature of the offences. (Ham & High, 7 August 2015)

8 August: Police figures show that over 2,500 racist attacks were recorded in 2014, with every part of the Black Country seeing an increase in incidents. (Express & Star8 August 2015)

8 August: A black teenager is left with permanent nerve damage to his face after he is racially abused and set upon in Greenwich by a group of white people armed with knives and bottles, one of whom smashes a bottle in his face. (Voice, 20 August 2015)

10 August: A 14-year-old boy who stabbed supply teacher Vincent Uzomah in Bradford in June, then bragged about the racially motivated attack on Facebook, is given an 11-year sentence, of which six could be served in custody. (BBC News, 10 August 2015)

12 August: A job centre manager is among six people given prison sentences for attacking members of a march in support of Palestine in Cardiff last year. The attackers shouted for the marchers to go ‘Go back to your own country’. (South Wales Evening Post12 August 2015)

12 August: A woman in a supermarket car park in High Wycombe is racially abused by three people, one of whom chokes her in a headlock and another spits in her face. (Get Bucks12 August 2015)

14 August: A Muslim nurse is viciously beaten in a racist daylight street attack by a group of teenagers who mock his beard. (Mirror, 19 August 2015)

15 August: In Sweden, two refugee centres are targeted for attempted arson on the same night. In Arboga, asylum seekers are evacuated from a centre after police receive a tip-off and flammable liquid is found nearby. Passers-by manage to extinguish a fire at an accommodation for twenty unaccompanied refugee children in Värnamo, the target of the second arson attack. (The Local, 15 August 2015) 

16 August: A man suffering from schizophrenia turns himself in to the police after throwing a flammable liquid at the Muslim centre in the Nordvest district of Copenhagen while forty people, including children, were inside the building. Superficial damage is caused to the building and no one is hurt. (The Local, 17 August 2015)

16 August: An Asian man is racially abused and assaulted in Leicester whilst waiting at a bus stop with his family, in an unprovoked attack leaving him with a fractured rib. (ITV News, 24 August 2015)

17 August: Police in Northern Ireland are investigating the burning of flags and symbols on loyalist and nationalist bonfires. (BBC News, 17 August 2015)

18 August: Koren McCairn, 52, who racially abused, punched and tasered a shopkeeper in Kent in May, is given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years. (Kent Online, 18 August 2015)

Mushin  Ahmed

Mushin Ahmed

20 August: An 81-year-old Muslim man, Mushin Ahmed, who sustained life-threatening injuries following an assault as he was on his way to prayers in Rotherham dies in hospital. (5 Pillars, 21 August 2015)

20 August: Two nurses are suspended for 18 months for offending staff and patients with racist, sexist and offensive behaviour at Prestwich Hospital. (Prestwich Guide20 August 2015)

20 August: Two Muslim men are shot by an air rifle, on two separate days in the same week, whilst attending a local mosque. Both men, one of whom is shot in the back of the head and the other in the neck, require hospital treatment. (Lancashire Telegraph20 August 2015)

27 August: The Police Service of Northern Ireland publishes its latest ‘Hate motivation statistics’. View and download them here.

29 August: Lancashire taxi driver Kamran Hussain needs 15 stitches in his left cheek after being racially abused and then attacked by two men in his taxi in Nelson. (Pendle Today, 3 September 2015)

1 September: A 17-year-old Asian boy suffers facial injuries after being racially abused by three teenagers who then launched an unprovoked attack on him as he walked down a Holyhead street. (Daily Post, 3 September 2015)

2 September: New research by Nottingham Trent University finds that inadequate training for police officers on hate crime leaves officers unprepared to deal with incidents. (Law Gazette, 2 September 2015)

5 September: Moshe Fuerst, 17, is left with serious injuries including a fractured skull after being attacked by a gang of four as he waited at a Manchester Metro station with three Orthodox Jewish friends. (Manchester Evening News, 9 September 2015)

7 September: According to the Met police, racially motivated crime against Muslims in the London area has increased by 70 per cent in the last year. (Guardian, 7 September 2014)

Media

30 July: Katie Hopkins is questioned by police over allegations of inciting racial hatred following comments in an article in the Sun about migrants. (Independent, 4 August 2015)

30 July: The Mail on Sunday apologises, saying it ‘intended no disrespect to the Muslim religion’, after publishing a story accusing Muslim youths of vandalising an immigration enforcement van in Shadwell, east London. (Huffington Post, 31 July 2015)

1 August: Campaigning group Sisters Uncut hold a demonstration outside the London offices of the Daily Mail in protest at its stance over the deaths of migrants in Calais. (Morning Star, 3 August 2015)

6 August: It is announced that the BBC is making a film of the shooting of Mark Duggan, provisionally titled Lawful Killing. (Independent, 6 August 2015)

17 August: Over 740 Czech academics and other staff of scientific and research institutions sign an ‘Academics against Fear and Indifference’ petition to face what is described as the increasingly xenophobic atmosphere in Czech society, including the labeling of immigrants as rapists and Muslim as terrorists. (Prague Monitor, 18 August 2015)

Extreme-Right politics

29 July: English Democrat Steve Uncles, who is standing for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner in Kent, calls for migrants in Calais to be shot with a machine gun. (News Shopper, 4 August 2015)

4 August: Clapton FC fans are attacked with batons, bats and flares by far-right groups as they attend a pre-season friendly at Thamesmead Town. (News Shopper, 4 August 2015)

9 August: The mayor of Liverpool receives a letter from National Action saying that there will be ‘a few n*****s beaten up, a few cars set on fire & a few shops smashed’, leading to the city going ‘up in flames’, if a march the group is organising in the city is banned. (Liverpool Echo, 9 August 2015)

14 August: Members of the group British Voice protest outside a hotel in Wigan because it is accommodating asylum seekers. (Wigan Today14 August 2015)

WHITE-MAN-MARCH-57015 August: National Action is forced to cancel its march through Liverpool city centre after being humiliated by counter-protesters. Hundreds of protesters surround suspected members of the white supremacist group inside Lime Street Station, leading them being locked inside a lost baggage facility. Six people are arrested and one man is treated for facial injuries. (Liverpool Echo15 August 2015)

15 August: The English Defence League marches in Walsall. Two people are arrested after a car owned by an Asian man is damaged. (Birmingham Mail, 15 August 2015)

21-22 August: Following violence by neo-Nazis linked to the National Democratic Party of Germany, police in the town of Heidenau create a closed security zone around a temporary shelter for 600 asylum seekers set up in an empty hardware store. At least thirty-one police officers are injured, as demonstrators hurl abuse at asylum seekers arriving on buses and bombard police with stones, glass, bottles and firecrackers. (BBC News, 24 August 2015)

22 August: Around forty members of the North West Infidels and Combat 18, attending a demonstration in Manchester, are outnumbered by counter-protesters and escorted out of the city after about an hour. (Manchester Evening News22 August 2015)

31 August: Far-right activists from Britain First are criticised for inflaming local tensions over the conversion of a care home into a ‘reception and distribution centre’ for young asylum seekers in Whitstable, Kent. (Canterbury Times, 31 August 2015)

1 September: A petition is launched for Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) ex-leader of the EDL, calling for a review of the judicial treatment of Lennon who was recently recalled to prison. (Luton on Sunday, 1 September 2015) 

5 September: Five people are arrested in Rotherham following a demonstration by Britain First, including two for assault and one for racially aggravated disorder. (Rotherham Advertiser, 7 September 2015) 

National security

4 August: Homegrown, a play by the National Youth Theatre about the reasons why young people might join Islamic State, is cancelled just two weeks before it was due to open after alleged ‘external pressures’. (Guardian, 4 August 2015)

Housing

18 August: The Traveller Movement publishes its latest newsletter. View it here.

31 August: The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes new planning rules: Planning policy for traveller sites. Download them here.

Employment

30 July: An employment tribunal finds Gillingham FC and its chairman Paul Scally guilty of the racial victimisation of a black player, Mark McCammon, in 2011. The club and Scally are fined £75,000 each, but say they will appeal the decision. (BBC News, 30 July 2015)

17 August: A former employee of fast food giant McDonald’s accuses the company of intentionally discriminating against black members of staff, after being told that the shifts available for black employees were limited. (Voice17 August 2015)

28 August: The Northern Echo reveals that Cleveland Police is facing claims of racial discrimination from three BAME officers at employment tribunals where claims have been lodged. (Northern Echo, 27 August 2015)

Health

31 July 2015: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) publishes a provider handbook on How CQC regulates Health and social care in prisons and young offender institutions, and health care in immigration removal centres. Download it here.

13 August: An online petition to ‘Save 30,000 NHS nurses from deportation – to save our health service’, which was set up by an NHS nurse, garners over 54,000 signatures. (Nursing in Practice, 13 August 2015)

SportKick-It-Out-App

13 August: Kick it Out releases an updated version of its phone app, with the ability to attach video, photo and audio evidence to complaints, that allows the reporting of discrimination across all levels of the game. View details of how to download the app here.

Government policy

22 July: CAGE, an advocacy group, lodges a formal complaint with the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and calls for an investigation into its treatment by the British government. (CAGE, 22 July 2015)

12 August: Last year the Charity Commission opened cases and inquiries into 379 religious charities, of which 153 were Christian and 85 were Muslim, according to newly released figures. (Civil Society, 12 August 2015)

New resources

This is Glasgow features a book, short film and exhibition (plus much more) exploring and celebrating the legacy of migration to Glasgow.

26 August: The Leicester Civil Rights Movement (LCRM) publishes issue 79 of its Newsletter. Download the September 2015 issue here.

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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