Calendar of racism and resistance (12 – 25 January 2018)

January 25, 2018 — 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

rtr-toolkit

11 January: Right to Remain publishes the latest version of its toolkit for understanding the UK asylum and immigration system, view online here

11 January: The Habeas Corpus Project wins a judicial review and obtains compensation on behalf of a Congolese man who was unlawfully detained for eight months. The win comes despite an initial High Court ruling that the claim was ‘totally without merit’. (Bar Council, 11 January 2018)

12 January: The Home Office is accused of cruelty after ordering a 19-year-old child victim of trafficking, who spent years in slavery cultivating cannabis plants in England, back to Vietnam where he has no family. Helen Goodman MP calls the decision ‘grotesque’. (Guardian, 12, 13 January 2018)

12 January: Banks and building societies begin the process of checking the immigration status of bank account holders under new government ‘hostile environment’ measures for those in the UK illegally. (Guardian, 12 January 2018)

12 January: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee announces that it will examine conditions in Morton Hall detention centre following the deaths of four people in 2017, to be included in an ongoing inquiry into Brook House detention centre. (BBC News, 12 January 2018)

14 January: The burned body of a man is found on the roof of a train in Menton, France. Police suspect that the man climbed aboard at Ventimiglia station to make the fifteen minute journey to France and died when he touched an overhead electrical line. It is the fifth such incident on the cross-border train line in the past year. (The Local, 15 January 2018)home-affairs-comm-report

15 January: The Home Affairs Committee finds that the government’s hostile environment measures are distressing to those targeted and undermine the credibility of immigration enforcement. Download the report: Immigration policy: basis for building consensus here. (Guardian, 15 January 2018)

15 January: The government announces that from February, destitute asylum seekers will receive an extra 80p per week, taking their weekly asylum support payment to £37.75. Download the Report on review of cash allowance paid to asylum seekers: 2017 here. (Guardian, 15 January 2018) 

geo-group15 January: It is revealed that the GEO Group, which runs Dungavel detention centre in Scotland, pays sixty-four immigration detainees at the centre just £1 per hour to work in cleaning, gardening and hairdressing jobs. Lawyers are seeking to challenge the ‘exploitative work’. (Daily Record, 15 January 2018)

15 January: New immigration bail provisions come into force, restricting the Tribunal’s powers to grant bail and giving the Home Office the power to ignore, override or modify Tribunal decisions on bail. (Free Movement, 15 January 2018)

16 January: Natacha Bouchart, mayor of Calais, accuses refugee aid organisations of capitalising on the plight of displaced people and ‘using the migrants to exist’. (The Warehouse Calais, 16 January 2018)

17 January: Liberty reports on its intervention into a judicial review brought by five men detained at G4S-run Brook House detention centre, with a focus on the right to dignity. (Liberty, 17 January 2018)

17 January: The Home Office pays £15,500 compensation to an asylum seeker whose sensitive data was given to the government of his home country in the Middle East, which could have endangered his life and his family’s. (Guardian, 17 January 2018)

17 January: The government announces £20 million of funding to be shared between all local councils supporting more than ten asylum-seeking children. (Children & Young People Now, 17 January 2018)

17 January: The Hungarian government proposes to remove tax-exempt status from groups supporting migrants, including human rights groups such as the Hungarian Helskinki Committee, and to charge them ‘migration organiser’ fees. Other plans include orders banning those suspected of organising illegal migration from going within five miles of Hungary’s borders. (EU Observer, 17 January 2018)

17 January: The Court of Appeal rules that when someone has been unlawfully deported before exercising a right of appeal, there is no absolute right of return to the UK for the appeal. (Free Movement, 17 January 2018)

18 January: The Sandhurst Treaty, signed by the British and French governments, includes commitments to dramatically speed up the transfer of unaccompanied child refugees in France seeking to join relatives in the UK. The UK also agrees to contribute a further £44.5 million to Channel border security. (Government website, BBC News, 19 January 2018)

19 January: Residents of the southern Italian town of Ripabottoni protest the prefecture’s decision to close the local migrant reception centre, declaring ‘give us back the immigrants, we want them here’. (Infomigrants, 19 January 2018)

21 January: Around 2,500 people form a human chain in the streets around Brussels North station, Belgium, as rumours circulate that a large-scale police operation at the Maximilian Park migrant camp is imminent. (The Bulletin, 21 January 2018).

Policing and criminal justice

11 January: The Guardian reports on the case of 47-year-old black man Andrew Okorodudu, who was arrested in London, allegedly with excessive force, by police in February 2016, for stealing a bike despite the thief being described as white. Four police officers involved in the case have been put through misconduct hearings. (Guardian, 11 January 2018)

12 January: The Met police drop charges against 15-year-old Terrell Decosta Jones-Burton who was seriously injured after being knocked off his bike while being arrested by police officers in Bermondsey, November 2017. (Get West London, 12 January 2018)

Sheku Bayoh

Sheku Bayoh

14 January: The family of Sheku Bayoh, who died after being restrained by police officers in Kirkcaldy in May 2015, speak about feeling ‘forgotten’ as the investigations into his death continue. (Edinburgh News, 14 January 2018)

15 January: As criticisms of police and local authority failings in the 2013 case of racist murder victim Bijan Ebrahimi continue, representatives of all political parties on Bristol Council back calls for further investigation into the behaviour of individual council officials and possible disciplinary measures. (Guardian, 15 January 2018)Bijan Ebrahimi

17 January: The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) publishes a new learning lessons bulletin on complaints about discrimination in prison, download it here

17 January: The head of the National Black Police Association claims that some police forces in the UK are still institutionally racist, with forces needing to recruit more black police officers. (BBC News, 17 January 2018)

21 January: The Crown Prosecution Service finds that there is not enough evidence to charge the police officer involved in the arrest and death of Rashan Charles in Dalston, July 2017. A common assault charge had been considered against the unnamed officer. (Guardian, 21 January 2018)

25 January: A parliamentary debate on joint enterprise takes place, led by MPs Lucy Powell and Andrew Mitchell.

25 January: A wide-ranging investigation into racism and unlawful phone monitoring is launched by the new Independent Office for Police Conduct (IPOC) into Cleveland Police. (Northern Echo, 25 January 2018)

Anti fascism and the far right

13 January: A group of British supporters of Trump, calling themselves the White Pendragons, attempt to make a citizens arrest of London mayor Sadiq Khan at a Fabian Society conference. (ITV, 13 January 2018)

13 January: Over 20,000 people rally in Vienna to protest Austria’s new conservative-far right coalition and its hardline anti-immigration and social policy. (The Local, 14 January 2018) 

17 January: Liverpool man, Paul Rimmer, 55, appears at Belfast magistrates court charged with inciting hatred during a speech made at a Britain First rally last summer. (Irish News, 17 January 2018)

20 January: Around 700 far-right demonstrators, led by Geert Wilders, gather at Rotterdam’s central station to protest what they describe as ‘discrimination against ordinary Dutch citizens’ in favour of immigrants and Muslims. (Channel Newsasia, 21 January 2018)

21 January: Greek far-right activists from Golden Dawn, the New Democracy Party and allegedly the clergy, vandalise a Holocaust memorial, attack a squat known as ‘The School’ and burn down a building in the northern city of Thessaloniki. (Al Jazeera, 22 January 2018) 

22 January: Ethan Stables appears at the Old Bailey and denies charges of the preparation of terrorist acts and making a threat to kill; he pleads guilty to a charge of possession of explosives. The court is told that he made threats to kill those attending a gay pride event in Cumbria. (NW Evening Mail, 22 January 2018)

22 January: The trial of Welsh man Darren Osbourne, 48, begins. He denies a charge of murder and attempted murder after driving a hire van at Muslims outside Finsbury Park mosque in June 2017, killing 51-year-old Makram Ali. It is revealed that Osbourne had been in contact with Britain First and with ex-EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon prior to the attack. (Guardian, 22, 23 January 2018)

22 January: At a pre-trial hearing, a judge raises security fears over Britain First supporters or counter-protesters attending Folkestone magistrates court as its leaders, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, go on trial next week accused of religiously aggravated harassment. (Kent Live, 22 January 2018)

Education tackling-islamohobia

15 January: Young Muslim schoolchildren in Wales speak about hate crimes that they have suffered in new videos and resources produced by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Download the booklet here. (BBC News, 15 January 2018)

16 January: The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education launch a £144,261 fund to support universities in tackling anti Semitism. (Government press release, 16 January 2018)

19 January: St Stephen’s primary school in Newham backtracks from a ban on girls wearing hijabs and fasting during Ramadan after its chair of governors resigns following complaints from parents. (Guardian, 19 January 2018) 

Employment and labour exploitation

14 January: Farmers in Jersey claim that they are struggling to recruit workers post-Brexit to harvest crops that may rot in the fields. (Jersey Evening Post, 14 January 2018)

15 January: New data from the Arts Council reveals that people from BAME backgrounds and disabled people are underrepresented in arts organisations. (Guardian, 15 January 2018)

21 January: Data from two thirds of police forces, obtained through freedom of information legislation, shows that at least seven police forces in England have not charged a single person under the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, despite increasing numbers of reported cases. (Guardian, 21 January 2018)

23 January: The Guardian reveals that the Home Office has stopped at least twenty overseas doctors from taking-up NHS posts, as the salaries have been deemed too low under immigration rules. (Guardian, 23 January 2018)

Housing

16 January: The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government publishes its latest: Traveller caravan count: July 2017, download the figures here

17 January: Arhag, a BAME housing association, buys a new HQ in Stratford to house itself and ten other partner organisations working to house refugees and migrants. A medical centre will also be provided by Doctors of the World. (24Housing, 17 January 2018)

18 January: Charities warn that Gypsy and Traveller communities are experiencing a housing crisis due to a shortage of authorised sites, which has led to unofficial encampments. (Guardian, 18 January 2018)

Party politics

16 January: Michelle Brown, a Ukip assembly member in Wales, is questioned by the assembly’s standards committee about comments, which she has already admitted were inappropriate, about Labour MP Chuka Umunna. (BBC News, 16 January 2018)

Discrimination

18 January: The Organisation of Young Italian Lawyers strongly criticises a judge who tells a Muslim trainee lawyer that she must either take off her headscarf or leave the Emilia-Romagna regional administrative court. The decision is over-ruled. (Daily Sabah, 18 January 2018)

22 January: The Nordea bank apologise after a bank teller tells Yagmur Özberkan, a radio host who has lived in Finland for twenty-five years, to ‘go back to her home country’. The treatment was ‘bad and absolutely inappropriate’, a bank spokesperson says. (Helsinki Times, 22 January 2018) 

23 January: The Admiral insurance group contacts its customers after the Sun runs an article claiming that the firm (and others) charge customers more to insure cars if their name is Mohammed. (BBC News, 23 January 2018)

24 January: A University of Salford analysis of government figures reveals that since 2009, the number of Gypsy or Roma children in care in England has increased by 933 per cent and those of Travellers of Irish heritage by 400 per cent. Over the same period, the overall number of children in care increased by an average 19 per cent. The report points to a biased care system with an automatic prejudice against the ‘family culture’ of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. (Guardian, 24 January 2018)

Media

22 January: Katie Hopkins is forced to put her Bristol home on the market after losing a libel case. A crowdfunding page is started to buy the home in order to house asylum seekers. (Independent, 22 January 2018)

24 January: A new exhibition, Rhythm & Reaction, is to open at Two Temple Place, London, examining racist undertones of the jazz age in Britain. (Guardian, 24 January 2018)

Sport

kick-it-out112 January: Three former youth players at Chelsea launch civil claims against Chelsea FC accusing Graham Rix, the youth-team coach, and Gwyn Williams of racism and physical attacks. (Guardian, 12 January 2018)

12 January: Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, warns against seeing the new civil case against Chelsea as something from a bygone era. He also calls on the Premiership and Football Association to do more. (Guardian, 12 January 2018)

15 January: Cyrille Regis, 59, the third black footballer to play for England, dies. He made an important impact for other black footballers, alongside his West Bromwich teammates Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson. (Guardian, 15 January 2018)

22 January: Another four ex-Chelsea players launch legal action against the club, over racial abuse they allege they were subjected to by coaches Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams. (Guardian, 22 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

7 January: A mother and her 2-year-old daughter are forced to move after a gang of youths threw bricks through the window of their home in Walsall. (Birmingham Mail, 11 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on religious institutions

18 January: In the Noord district of Amsterdam, a dummy severed head and bloody fake corpse is left outside a mosque. (Dutch News, 18 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: abuse

8 January: John Hillcoat, 31, is sentenced to a twelve month community payback order after being found guilty of acting in a racially aggravated manner, due to racially abusing a female beggar in Paisley. (The Gazette, 18 January 2018)

22 January: The residents of Bagilt village in north Wales call on the police to do more about the anti-social behaviour of young people in the village who have been accused of ‘terrorising’ and racially abusing the staff of takeaways. (LeaderLive, 22 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: online racism

15 January: A crowdfunder is set up to support YouTuber Danny Hyde, who faces court proceedings over a video in which he was critical of landlord Fergus Wilson’s decision to ban ‘coloured’ people from renting his homes due to curry smells. (Kent Online, 15 January 2018 and Bristol Post, 19 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: charges

24 January: Two 19-year-olds, Adam Gorman and Jason Martin, plead not guilty to racially or religiously aggravated assault and causing actual bodily harm, following an alleged assault at a Folkestone park in July 2017. (Kent Live, 24 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

9 January: Serving soldier Graham Bolger, 23, is sentenced to twenty-four weeks in prison after pleading guilty to two charges of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress which was racially or religiously aggravated, by sending racially abusive Whatsapp messages to a woman over a period of five months. (Get West London, 15 January 2018)

Marek Zakrocki

Marek Zakrocki

12 January: Polish man, Marek Zakrocki is sentenced to thirty-two weeks in prison (and released because of time served on remand) after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and assault by beating. In June 2017 in Harrow, armed with a kitchen knife and a baton-torch he drove his van at an Indian restaurant owner and pinned him against a window, threatened to kill Muslims and shouted white power. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder but the CPS dropped the charges. (This is Local London, 15 January 2018)

17 January: Kamal Ahmed, the restaurant owner attacked by Marek Zakrocki criticises the leniency of the sentences and says he now fears for his safety. He says that had Zakrocki been Muslim, the case would also have been treated differently. (Guardian, 17 January 2018)

18 January: Jane Gordon, 50, pleads guilty to causing racially aggravated alarm and distress and a charge relating to the mistreatment of a child, after racially abusing a black woman who intervened to stop her abusing a young boy in Brighton. Sentencing is adjourned. (Daily Echo, 18 January 2018)

19 January: The Leicestershire home of 33-year-old twins David and Daniel Whiteford is boarded up, after Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council obtain a closure order of the premises from magistrates, due to allegations of ‘substantial anti-social behaviour’, with complaints of racial abuse, street fights, damage to neighbours’ property and loud music. (Leicester Mercury, 22 January 2018)

19 January: A judge jails Jeffrey Warren for six months for racially abusing a police officer and assaulting a motorist, despite a week earlier being given a suspended prison sentence, after hearing that Warren abused a probation officer immediately after being sentenced. (Gloucestershire Live, 22 January 2018)

22 January: Edward Clarke, 34, who attacked a Skipton taxi driver while drunk, is given a twelve week suspended prison sentence for using racially aggravated threatening behaviour and criminal damage. Clarke is ordered to carry out eighty hours unpaid work and pay £700 compensation in addition to £85 costs. (Craven Herald, 22 January 2018)

22 January: Andrew Dunsmore, 32, is found guilty of acting in a racially aggravated manner for racially abusing a Fife shopkeeper and making a throat-cutting gesture in front of two police officers. He is sentenced to 250 hours unpaid work, a twelve month supervision order and £250 in compensation. (Dunfermline Press, 22 January 2018)

22 January: A drunk couple, Jamie Phillips, 30, and Vikki Watson, 34, admit numerous charges in connection with a racist rampage in West Park, Plymouth, where they attacked three businesses in search of alcohol and racially abused and attacked staff. Both are given suspended sentences. (Plymouth Herald, 22 January 2018)

23 January: Oliver Johnson, 31-year-old admits racially aggravated assault and racially aggravated criminal damage after attacking an Asian man who refused to give him a lift in Kidderminster. He is given a twelve month community order with twenty rehabilitation days and a three month curfew. (Kidderminster Shuttle, 25 January 2018)

23 January: A serving New York police officer admits racially abusing a Derby taxi driver while on holiday in the UK. He is fined £1,605 and ordered to pay costs and compensation. (Derby Telegraph, 23 January 2018)

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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