Calendar of racism and resistance (10 – 23 April 2015)

April 23, 2015 — News

Written by IRR News Team

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

Violence and harassment

12 April: Four severed pigs’ heads are found on the doorstep of a community centre in Birmingham which is reportedly being used as a mosque. The incident comes a day after the windows of the building were smashed. (Birmingham Mail, 13 April 2015)

12 April: Two men are arrested in the Isle of Wight on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, after a 19-year-old man is stabbed in an attack described by the police as racially motivated. (Isle of Wight County Press, 13 April 2015)

Racist attack 213 April: The Polish consul in Northern Ireland warns that there has been a ‘massive’ increase in the number of attacks on people from Poland, suggesting there were up to 40 per cent more attacks over the last year. (UTV, 13 April 2015)

14 April: A college student is called a ‘n****r’ by a group of customers in a McDonald’s in Essex and later beaten unconscious in an attack which leaves him with teeth missing and injuries to his face and ear. (Epping Forest Guardian22 April 2015)

14 April: Fire breaks out at the Sultan Ahmet Mosque in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region. CCTV footage shows the arsonist entering the prayer hall, pouring gasoline on the carpet and setting it on fire. (Australian Muslim Times, 16 April 2015)

15 April: Figures obtained by the Press Association reveal that British Transport Police recorded a total of 1,468 allegations of racially or religiously aggravated offences in 2014 – a rise of more than 100 compared to the 1,364 in 2013 and a slightly larger jump from the 1,351 in 2012. (Scotsman15 April 2015)

16 April: Research from Kick It Out reveals that Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been sent more than 4,000 racist messages through social media this season. (Kick it Out, 16 April 2015)

Policing and criminal justice

KingsleyBurrell7 April: An inquest into the death of Kingsley Burrell, who died following contact with the police in Birmingham in 2011, hears how his four-year-old son told his family ‘a naughty black policeman hit daddy in the back of the ambulance’. (Voice, 7 April 2015)

9 April: Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens is being investigated by the IPCC over allegations of a cover-up of police corruption in the Stephen Lawrence murder probe in the 1990s, it is revealed. (Channel 4 News, 9 April 2015)

10 April: Relatives of Birmingham prisoner Adnan Rafiq – who predicted his own death in 2013 in a letter to jail staff – speak of their grief after an official report finds more could have been done to help him before he was fatally assaulted by another inmate. (Birmingham Mail, 10 April 2015)

10 April: In Spain, eleven people are arrested and face charges of being part of an Islamist plot to bomb a Jewish bookshop in Barcelona and other Jewish targets in the Catalonia region. (Reuters, 10 April 2015)

19 April: The criminal justice system makes it too hard for families whose loved ones have died in police custody to get answers, according to a letter written by the home secretary to the families of Sean Rigg and Olaseni Lewis. (Guardian, 19 April 2015)

20 April: A tribute to Sean Rigg, who died in police custody in 2008, is painted on shop shutters in Atlantic Road, Brixton. Street artists have been painting on the shutters of businesses threatened with eviction to highlight their plight. (Brixton Buzz, 20 April 2015)

22 April: The Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association campaign (Jengba) publishes its latest newsletter. Download it here (pdf file, 1.5mb).

Party politics

11 April: Two of Ukip’s election candidates are filmed spouting ‘anti-Islamic hate’ at a rally organised by Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia (MARIAS), a group which is reportedly closely linked to the English Defence League (EDL). (Mirror, 15 April 2015)

14 April: Labour’s manifesto says that it will shut down the ‘discredited’ Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and replace it following a policy review which will have input from Baroness Doreen Lawrence. (Voice15 April 2015)

ukip-welcome-poster17 April: An unnamed protester defaces a Ukip immigration poster in Nigel Farage’s target constituency of South Thanet, by adding three welcome mats. (Independent, 17 April 2015)

19 April : The anti-immigration Finns Party (formerly known as True Finns), win 17.6 per cent of the vote in the Finnish general election and now have  34 seats in parliament. It campaigned for Greece to be kicked out of the eurozone. (Guardian, 20 April 2015)

22 April: Migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe should be returned ‘to where they came from’, Ukip leader Nigel Farage claims. (BBC News, 22 April 2015)

Employment

10 April: A black police officer wins a case of racial discrimination against Wiltshire Police after it emerges he was sidelined for promotion ‘due to the colour of his skin’. (Swindon Advertiser, 10 April 2015)

15 April: A National Labour Force survey reveals that British Muslim women are 71 per cent more likely than white Christian women to be unemployed due to workplace discrimination. (Independent, 15 April 2015)

Channel-416 April: A Channel 4 documentary shows how migrant workers in Spain, employed to pick salad for companies whose produce ends up on the shelves of British supermarkets, are routinely mistreated, cheated out of wages and exposed to pesticides. (Channel 4 News, 16 April 2015)

17 April: A new TUC report shows that the number of black and Asian workers in low-paid jobs increased by 12.7 per cent between 2011 and 2014. (USI, 17 April 2015)

Education

8 April: International Roma Day is held across the world to to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people. (Travellers Times, 8 April 2015)

10 April: The head teacher of a Nottinghamshire village primary school is banned ‘indefinitely’ from teaching over ‘racist and discriminatory’ behaviour following a professional conduct panel hearing. (BBC News, 10 April 2015)

Media

13 April: A poster campaign which aims to celebrate immigration, called ‘I am an Immigrant’, is launched. (BBC News, 13 April 2015)

16 April: In a new report, black and Asian authors say they are being shoehorned by a publishing industry which is ‘almost blindingly white’ into writing fiction that conforms to a stereotypical view of their communities. (Guardian16 April 2015)

Asylum and immigration

Campsfield8 April: The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at Colnbrook IRC publishes its Annual Report for 2014, highlighting concerns about the night-time transfers of detainees and the impact of indefinite detention. (IMB, 8 April 2015)

9 April: Kidlington parish council’s policy-making Policy and Finance Committee votes that Campsfield House immigration removal centre should close, stating ‘We are concerned about the impact on the detainees of prolonged detention’. (Campaign to Close Campsfield, 10 April 2015)

15 April: A UNHCR spokesman calls on the EU to step up its rescue operations, after a boat capsizes near Libya with 400 migrants feared dead. (BBC News, 15 April 2015)

15 April: Campaigners who have fought for two years to help a bisexual man stay in Leeds call a court’s decision to send him back to Jamaica a ‘death sentence’. (Radio Aire, 15 April 2015)

16 April: Three asylum seekers who fled Syria and arrived in the UK in 2013 are told by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) that they can now appeal against their convictions for arriving without passports, as they had been wrongly advised to plead guilty. (BBC News, 16 April 2015)

20 April: As the UN Human Rights Commissioner calls on the EU to take a ‘more sophisticated, more courageous and less callous’ approach to migration, condemning the ‘continuing failure of governance and monumental failure of compassion’ which caused the latest boat tragedy in which over 800 migrants drown in the Mediterranean, the government ignores calls to back moves to restore search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean. (UN Human Rights, Independent20 April 2015).

21 April: A charter flight which was due to depart with dozens of Afghan asylum-seekers facing removal from Britain is cancelled on the orders of an appeal court judge, following warnings that 80 per cent of the country is not safe to send people back to. (Guardian, 22 April 2015)

Amnesty Brighton21 April: Brighton beach is covered in 200 body bags as Amnesty International volunteers raise awareness of the mounting death toll in the Mediterranean sea and the UK’s ‘shameful’ response. (Independent22 April 2015)

21 April: An emergency motion before the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) condemns the Home Office for reportedly refusing to allow religious and refugee representatives into Dungavel immigration removal centre amid reports of detainees on hunger strike. (Guardian21 April 2015)

22 April: Sun columnist Katie Hopkins unintentionally raises over £30,000 for search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, organised by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), after a JustGiving page is created in outraged response to her article stating that she would ‘use gunships to stop migrants’. (Civil Society, 22 April 2015)

Yarl's wood

22 April: Dozens of detainees go on hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre to call for the release of Bhavisha Ben Patel, whose husband Pinakin Patel died there on Monday. (Independent22 April 2015)

22 April: The Home Office is ordered to arrange for a deported migrant family to be returned to Britain from Nigeria – in a landmark ruling that threatens to undermine the government’s ‘deport first, appeal later’ policy. (Independent, 22 April 2015)

Brussels23 April: Migrants, NGOs and civil society groups including Amnesty International and Flemish Refugee Action hold a funeral march in Brussels, ending outside European Council building, to protest EU policies leading to record number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 1,750 people have died in the Mediterranean in 2015, over thirty times the number in the same period last year. An EU ten-point Action Plan announced to deal with the crisis is widely denounced as focused on stopping smuggling instead of saving lives. (France 24, 21 April 2015; Times of Malta, 23 April 2015)

Extreme-right politics

12 April: The far-right Jobbik party wins a by-election in the rural area of Tapolca, western Hungary. There are now 25 Jobbik MPs in the Hungarian parliament. (Financial Times13 April 2015)

18 April: On Holocaust Memorial Day, Jewish group Jewdas and anti-fascist allies counter a far-right march heading to Stamford Hill in London. The group criticises the police for kettling the counter-demonstrators and for facilitating the far-right activists to instead march to a mosque. (Jewish News, 21 April 2015)

19 April: Around twenty anti-fascists trying to confront EDL members in a pub in Solihull are corralled by the police and told they are being held to prevent a breach of the peace. The incident happens during an EDL demo which the group says it is holding to protest at repeated applications for a Muslim cemetery. (Coventry Telegraph19 April 2015)

20 April: The trial of 69 members of Golden Dawn, accused of forming a covert army that killed and intimidated immigrants and opponents, started in a specially-built court room inside the high-security Korydallos prison near Athens. Proceedings which are expected to last eighteen months were adjourned until 7 May. (Telegraph, 20 April 2015)

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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